To think no you don't know how hard it is actually!

(164 Posts)

I am actually sick of mothers I see in real life telling me that they get how hard being a single mum is because their Dp works and he doesn't get home til after the baby is in bed?

Well actually no, you don't get how hard it is! You don't get how some times I might no see another human for days.
You don't.know how much it kills me emotionally. How lonely it is. Yes it's great too. But you don't have 100% responsibility.
You get your weekends together.. I can't even go to the loo without the wine starting!!

I really need to off aload about RL

BlackAffronted Fri 24-May-13 07:39:28

I have been there, single mum to 2 under 3 and it sucked sad

BlackAffronted Fri 24-May-13 07:40:02

Actually, the internet saved me, being able to "chat" to people was a lifeline. It will get better as they get older though.

Altinkum Fri 24-May-13 07:42:10

Its not a competition, do you know how hard it is with a severely disabled child, or a child who has selective mutism.... Even if you did, its not a my life is harder than yours... Etc....

YABU and rude.

bootsycollins Fri 24-May-13 07:42:19

Yeah that is pretty insulting.

VelvetSpoon Fri 24-May-13 07:43:06

YANBU in the slightest.

However be prepared for a load of posts now along the lines of oh it's much better to be on your own than a shitty relationship, blahblahblah.

Thing is, we have all been in shitty relationships, for most of us that's the reason we are now single. And it IS harder being on your own, esp if the Ex is useless and you have no family support/useless friends. I was horribly unhappy in my relationship, I was physically/verbally abused. I don't miss that - obviously - but I do miss having another adult to speak to, someone to discuss things with. Someone to sit with the kids if I needed to nip to the shops.

The Internet is fab, I'm very down right now. Had to submit court papers against the ex yesterday to try and get contact for 'dd.
So people are trying to support me by saying they know how I feel?
Urm no, you have your own house, gorgeous car, family that have your dd two nights a week oh and a lovely Dp.

I live in a box room with my parents with my dd, survive on benefits, volunteer as I love it, trying to study.
Have no one to have dd.

Urm so no we're not really alike and no you can't ever understand.

I did not mention disabled children in my post.

bootsycollins Fri 24-May-13 07:44:10

Not you Alti. Valid point made there.

I also don't feel it's a competition.

Bearandcub Fri 24-May-13 07:45:27

Good grief let the woman moan! Off load OP, by all means.

AngryGnome Fri 24-May-13 07:45:30

I agree with altimkum - it's not a competition. Everyone has for differ t challenges in their lives, there doesn't seem to be much purpose to competitive martyrdom.

MorrisZapp Fri 24-May-13 07:45:44

I don't blame anybody for having a rant or a moan about how hard it is being a lone parent.

But Yabu to take it out on well meaning friends who are trying to give you credit.

bootsycollins Fri 24-May-13 07:46:03

How old is your dc MakeItUp?

Maybe I'll leave now. Crawl back into my competitive hole. Because that's obviously what I think about parenting that its a competition.
Because dd isn't disabled I'm not allowed to find it hard.

Never mind. Maybe should have posted in lone parents where they understand

She's 8 months

mumnotmachine Fri 24-May-13 07:47:47

If you live with your parents how do you go days without seeing another human?

My parents work long hours.

racmun Fri 24-May-13 07:49:33

Op do you not think those mums who annoy are just trying to empathise with you a bit.

I suspect that they are just trying to say that their life isn't perfect either and in a nice way trying to make you feel a bit better

I might be wrong but I would hope so.

WhatDoesTheDogSay Fri 24-May-13 07:49:47

I was literally just thinking the same thing! The other partner not being physically present some of the time, and that includes those who work away, is not the same as being a lone parent. I don't mean this in a misery-contest sort of way, it's just frustrating when anyone downplays the reality of doing it all yourself.

Thank you WhatDoes

WhatDoesTheDogSay Fri 24-May-13 07:50:32

Massive x-post!!

VelvetSpoon Fri 24-May-13 07:50:38

I wish people would leave off with the theres someone worse off than you.

It only ever seems to be single parents on the receiving end of this bulllshit. apparently if you're in a relationship you're allowed to bitch, if you're on your own you just have to suck it up hmm

MorrisZapp Fri 24-May-13 07:51:16

Of course you're allowed to moan! Moan away by all means, that's what MN is for.

I just think you're pissed off at the wrong people. People who are, in their own way, trying to empathise with you and show support.

Of course its hard, in ways many of us couldn't imagine. But that's not the fault of other mothers who may well find life very challenging too.

suchashame Fri 24-May-13 07:51:17

Well at least thet are trying to empathise rather than belitte you or give you a hard time of it.

Chandon Fri 24-May-13 07:52:10

By hating people who try to understand you and be sympathetic ( because that is mst likely why they say they know how you feel) , you are pushing away exactly the people who might help you feel less lonely.

You turn against the wrong people.

Naebother Fri 24-May-13 07:52:42

Yanbu it is different. They probably not mean offence but trying to empathise

Sole responsibility can weigh heavy and with no support it can feel incredibly tough to get through the days.

Can you join a group, gingerbread, speak to hV, GP?
You need to get yourself more support op.

scottishmummy Fri 24-May-13 07:53:15

yes it's you get a schedule of activity together out see other folk
whilst you may not be on same page as other mums they may be pals,company
try be be less angry towards the other mums,less they have it great and you don't

CarpeVinum Fri 24-May-13 07:53:19

Depends on how it's meant I think. MIL was very very ill. For the whole 18 years DH & I were together, until she died the day before NYE.

People say they understand based on some superficially similar detail of their own life. They didn't actually understand cos it was a bit more all encompassing then they could comprehend. But by and large it was an instrument of empathy. And I prefer people to try to express empathy rather than not.

I guess it depends on the tone. Dismissive and "oh get over it, other people ME!" not so good. Empathy focused...good.

I didn't really need people to fully understand. I did kind of need them to express empathy though. It made me feel less .... alone I guess.

WhatDoesTheDogSay Fri 24-May-13 07:54:01

People aren't always empathising. There's sometimes a grass-is-greener element: "at least you have the house to yourself in the evenings" etc.

Bearandcub Fri 24-May-13 07:54:59

Op, try to see the comments as widening your perspective. I know you didn't try to compete, your op makes that clear. BUT, your friends are trying to empathise with in the limited way your lives overlap. That's all they can do.

You are obviously going through a tough time and understandably finding it hard.

Gingerbread have nothing around here. I'm trying to sort support but I don't get out much as so much needs to be done.

I just don't really get how they can say they get it. Accidental baby, proposal, house bought, wedding next week.

Me: accidental baby, Exp shagging someone else all along, refused to cooperate csa, brassic money wise, going to court, living at home.

I'm not jealous at all. But don't say you get it/

CarpeVinum Fri 24-May-13 07:56:37

People aren't always empathising

I know. Which is why I said it depends on the intent.

bootsycollins Fri 24-May-13 07:58:18

Right take a step back and a deep breath. Your baby is only 8 months old, be kinder to yourself. Yeah ok sharing a box room with dd in your parents house isn't ideal but it isn't permanent, your already making steps to improve your and dd's future through study.

Just keep going, it'll come good. Parenting isn't easy for anyone and your not making yourself feel better by comparing your life to others, it isn't productive. Keep your focus on your goal and keep working towards it. What are your parents like? Are they driving you mad?

WhatDoesTheDogSay Fri 24-May-13 07:58:22

Yes, carpe, I'm x-post tastic this morn smile.

Chandon Fri 24-May-13 07:58:59

Fine, I won't then.

I generally avoid angry people anyway.

But angry people can get quite lonely.

2beornot Fri 24-May-13 07:59:13

I have never admired lp as much as I do now I've got dd. it's not necessarily the doing - I could do that - like you say it's the responsibility. Do I give Calpol or not, or if ur struggling with bf who's there to support you in the nights and that's just two examples!!

Not all married mums thinks its the same as having a DH who is away temporarily!!

ExcuseTypos Fri 24-May-13 07:59:27

I do sympathise. It must be very very hard to be on your own. However not all married fathers have very much input, so I can understand where people are coming from.

I have always been married, so I do have a DH. However I can imagine whats it is like to be a single parent. DH often worked away when dc were younger, and was so knackered when he was at home, that he was next to to useless. When we first had dc he was a farmer, so worked 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year.

So whilst in name I'm not a single mum. As we had no relatives near by at all, I practically brought them up single handed. I'm sure there are many married mums who live like this. Armed forces, Drs, shift workers etc etc.

Tee2072 Fri 24-May-13 07:59:53

Is your daughter not a human being then? I think you mean another adult. To be pedantic.

But I agree. You are being competitive. And you sound very jealous, no matter what you say.

What else needs to be done? 8 month olds are very portable, so port her, take her out, to appointments, for a coffee. etc etc etc

If your life sucks? Change it.

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 24-May-13 08:00:08

Yes it's hard. You are entitled to feel sorry for yourself sometimes. Non of us 'get' how hard other people find their lives. People have different pressures and they come in all shapes and sizes.
Being lonely in sole charge of young DC is one pressure, living with grief, disability, illness, unemployment, mental health issues, difficult job are others to name a few.
So, none of us 'get' what it's like to be you but I bet when your friends say its hard when their DH go away, they are trying to empathise with you.

cory Fri 24-May-13 08:00:16

I think what other posters mean is you don't know what challenges your well meaning friends have in their lives. It could be that while they are saying "I know how hard it must be for you" they are secretly thinking "she has no idea what life is like for me". Some people who look totally enviable from the outside may be having a dreadful time in some way that doesn't show.

It's difficult to know how to express sympathy because different people are irritated by different things: if you read MN it is clear that there is no way you can express your commiseration without offending somebody: if you say "I know how hard it is" that's wrong for one person, if you say "I have no idea how you cope" that's wrong for another (have often seen posters complaining about this one), if you try to suggest there is a silver lining that's wrong for many people, if you say nothing you are unsupportive, if you make suggestions on how to improve the situation- well, very few people like that.

Most people do mean well but there are so many stumbling stones.

What I find easiest in these situations is to give people hints on what I would like them to say. Sometimes I am totally blunt and tell them "what I actually need you to say in this situation is X". With my mother this approach is often needed or I would end up smarting for hours.

In your case,all I can say is I hope your situation improves, that your contact arrangements are sorted out smoothly and in the best way, that your financial situation improves and that you find a way of meeting more people and making new RL friends. Loneliness is a very hard thing indeed. Have some flowers

agree with tee

acceptableinthe80s Fri 24-May-13 08:06:25

Have to say as a single parent I've never really came across comments like this except jokey ones from friends saying how lucky I am not to have a manchild to deal with which I completely agree with.
Saying that I think the secret to being a happy single parent is getting a break and having a bit of time for yourself.
Can your parents not babysit say once a week or so?
8 months is still very young, I remember that stage being particularly draining. It really does get easier when you get past the toddler stage.
Whilst I agree parenting alone is harder than parenting with a supportive partner, I do think it's easier than having a useless partner.

2blessed Fri 24-May-13 08:08:32

Yanbu op! I've got a friend who has consistently said this over the years. I would tell her I found it offensive as child who was raised by a single parent and she doesn't have a clue what its like to be the sole breadwinner, decision maker etc... Dp and I live together and have a ds and although dp annoys me sometimes I would not say I feel like a single parent.

You have my sympathy, it must be hard, but I think you are milking it a bit as you claim not to have another adult to speak to even though you live with your parents, because they work long hours.

You do live with them though, so they are there to watch your dc when they are at home. Many people have partners who work long hours, travel for work, or are in the forces so probably have less adult company than you do. Not a competitive misery thing, just pointing out your situation although not ideal is not as isolated as you might think.

I'm lucky, I have a partner who is there for his child, but like your parents he works long hours, and he travels, so I can go days, sometimes weeks without speaking to another adult, and I have noone to watch dd as my family live overseas. I also never get to go to the loo in private, or eat a meal without either a baby latched on or squealing at me. I am better off than you, yes, but company wise I probably have less than you do. It's how life is these days, the culture of a 9am-5pm job is pretty much gone.

Try looking at the positives. You have a child, you have your parents, you have somewhere to live, and you have the lovely MNers to chat to. Life isn't so bad. Other people's lives may seem better, but you don't know what their life really is like behind closed doors. One of my best friends has the best of everything, money, career, a nanny, gorgeous twin boys, loads of friends, expensive holidays... the works. I know she's rather have her mum, who died last year.

Thank you to the kind posters.

Just feeling really shit right now. Working so hard to change everything.
Dd been up all night, parents whinging.

Im not jealous of her life but even if I was I think I'd be entitled too!!

I mean I think it would be understandable If I was jealous. I couldn't get the right wording out

Wishihadabs Fri 24-May-13 08:11:56

YANBU OP. I sometimes think this for literally 5 seconds when DH is away/working late. Then I snap out of it and realise it is not remotely the same.

Even if DH is not physically present he is still giving me emotional support and contributes financially, he is another pair of ears to bounce ideas off. It is not comparable and anyone who says it is is being insensitive and unimaginative.

I fail to see what this has to do with SN TBH.

Aw makeitup, I'm so sorry you are having a bad day. Big hug. Kids are hard work, and exhausting.

meglet Fri 24-May-13 08:15:39


I had to listen to someone telling me they had to do all the driving to Cornwall as their DP was injured. Um, I have to drive it with 2 small kids in the back to do regular toilet stops for.

I forget how lucky other people are sometimes, I have such a crap time it's beyond me that there are people out there who get to relax and enjoy life a bit.

corlan Fri 24-May-13 08:16:55

YANBU - They don't get it and it is insulting to pretend their situation is the same.

Jeez is the op not allowed to feel a little jealous? Ok not nice if it takes over your life but we all feel a little pang of envy at times. We are human.

I get what you mean op. I did the majority of childcare with ds when he was a baby as ex worked, and now I've done lp with dd since she was born. People want to empathise about the childcare bit but I don't think it's that bit that's hard, but the fact you have no other adult there at night once the los go to bed. No adult conversation etc. I've thrown myself into baby clubs and the local surestart to try and break up the day and actually talk to other people. The nights are still hard but from having an older child I know it will get easier.

Xmasbaby11 Fri 24-May-13 08:17:37

YANBU. Whenever DH is working late and I struggle, I try to imagine how much harder it would be if he wasn't coming home at all and I had to do it alone. I can't imagine it. As a friend I would try to empathise, but I wouldn't say I know how you feel.

Hope life looks up for you soon.

meglet Fri 24-May-13 08:17:49

Oh, and the dc's had their first sleep over with a relative in 4yrs last week so I finally had a decent nights sleep and a few hours to myself. Single parents don't all get every other weekend off!

WhatDoesTheDogSay Fri 24-May-13 08:19:17

Even if DH is not physically present he is still giving me emotional support and contributes financially, he is another pair of ears to bounce ideas off. It is not comparable and anyone who says it is is being insensitive and unimaginative

That's exactly it, wishihadabs, think that's all OP is getting at. It's not that hard to understand.

Xmasbaby11 Fri 24-May-13 08:19:21

I think it's normal to feel jealous isn't it - I mean, I'm jealous of parents who can afford to work part time or who have local family support. Not to the point of making me bitter, but it's normal to compare yourself a bit to your friends.

LEMisdisappointed Fri 24-May-13 08:19:25

I get it - i was in your position 20 years ago. No money, living at home with my parents and it was really hard and really lonely.

20 years later i have a small child again, a loving partner - lots of other problems though, and its really hard and its really lonely.

I could say, well you dont have to worry about mortgage arrears, debts and the fact that my mother is a pita and ill and i have to take care of her - i could tell you that you don't get it, but that would be patronising.

What i am trying to say is that everyone has it hard, just in different ways - I sometimes feel how you feel actually, that people don't get how hard it is to be me (i have mh issues) but they have problems too. Sadly, we all do.

We might not "get it" but we can empathise and try to help

WhatDoesTheDogSay Fri 24-May-13 08:20:10

I hear ya, meglet!

I am sat here sobbing at you lot. IRS not i resent dd.
She's not really a friend now a bandwagon jumper on acquaintance. I just want to shout. These are the same couple saying about how good it is legal aid has been cut and society is to be sorted out.
Urm yeah thanks, very sensitive.
I'm just so emotional that I can't say anything so I came on here.

I'm sorry if I have offended people

IKnowWhat Fri 24-May-13 08:28:05

Ok, I don't know how it feels but it does sound a bit crappy sad. It's great that you are volunteering and studying.
Do you meet up with friends much? I used to go to various playgroups and eventually made a supportive group of friends. It wasn't always easy going but it was worth the effort.

BTW Ignore the snarky posters, if they are the type to want someone who is, legitably, having a moan to feel worse then they are NOT worth bothering about.

alienbanana Fri 24-May-13 08:28:05

I completely agree with LEM (but don't understand the posters saying you're being competitive - to me it just looks like you're having a moan smile
Obviously they don't get it.. but at the same time, you may have no idea what's going on with them. It's always hard, just in different ways.

MisForMumNotMaid Fri 24-May-13 08:32:26

I empathise. I was on my own with a 1 and 3 year old. Elder DS is autistic and very challenging, one of the many things XH couldn't cope with.

I had to do everything. At a particularly low point i remember stroking DS2's back as he threw up in the toilet, having spent the night up with DS1 doing the same and saying 'hurry up mummy needs a turn'.

8 months is quite a challenging age. You don't get very much emotion back in return for all your efforts.

Everything is worse when you're exhausted too. Sounds like you are.

I had a lovely supportive friend who felt we were in the same position because her husband, on £70k, worked away most weeks whilst her parents took her DC whilst she worked.

When DS1 started school I missed so much work because nursery and school couldn't cope with his behaviour/ he couldn't cope with school I ended up giving up my business.

Life has turned a corner. The divorce came through, we got beyond court. I managed to sell the house. It took me a couple of years but I found myself and worked out what I wanted. The DC got older, easier and more responsive. I learned to accept support when it was offered.

Then I started dating again had a wirlwind romance with now DH and remarried. Not that I'm saying a relationship is in anyway a key.

On bad days it feels like life is over but really its just a new chapter and life is beginning. You sound like you're putting everything in place with studying and volunteering to work out what you want and be fully in control of your life.

Hopefully if your DD's been up all night you'll get the chance for some rest today.

cory Fri 24-May-13 08:35:02

MakeItUpAsYouGoAlong Fri 24-May-13 08:10:18
"Thank you to the kind posters.

Just feeling really shit right now. Working so hard to change everything"

This is the bit you have to hold on to! You are working hard, you will change things, life will get easier. And afterwards you will look back and say to yourself "well, I don't know how I did that, but I did do it and dd and I got through".

GoblinGranny Fri 24-May-13 08:35:55

'I live in a box room with my parents with my dd, survive on benefits, volunteer as I love it, trying to study.
Have no one to have dd.'

You're right, being a single parent is not the same as being married to a man who works away a lot, my dad was a soldier and my mother was alone with three children for months at a time, or in one instance 19 months.
But she never thought of herself as a single parent. He was supporting her in different ways and wrote a lot of letters.
TBH, you sound depressed, have you been to your GP for support?
The trapped, helpless and feeling that things are going nowhere are major issues.

What did you do before you had DD? What are you studying towards, and are you doing it in isolation from other students?
You take your DD with you when you volunteer?
Have you tried joining some of the free stuff that might be around in your area? We've got several groups that walk with their babies in buggies, and chat and support each other, there are meet ups for young mums dotted around the town that are drop in, there are fun music and play sessions in the local community to people on benefits, they are subsidised.
Do you not have a friend you could trade time with, one of you has the children for a while, and the other one has free time?
You will get a lot more support in Lone Parents, and some positive advice.

But no, many of us can't understand, which is why they will either try and make clumsy comments to show that they think they do in order to support you (Parents of children with disabilities get that a lot) or they will back away from the perceived grumbling and negativity, or they will shrug their shoulders and see it as a problem that you created for yourselves and be completely unsympathetic.
Which would you prefer?

You need to develop a thick skin for AIBU grin

Come join us in the September postnatal club op for a good moan about lack of sleep, sicknesses, feeding and baby-proofing (would be good to have another single parent also as I'm the only one)

GoblinGranny Fri 24-May-13 08:41:56

That's a lovely post, MisForMumNotMaid . With a happy ending too! smile

FourLittleDudes Fri 24-May-13 08:42:08

I'm a single parent to 4, my youngest is 3 months and I have a toddler. I do spent days only talking to my children and I do miss having friends a social life, and having someone to watch the babies whilst I have a bath or a sleep or nip to the shop. But I find it alot easier than when I was with my ex, as the atmosphere in the house is much nicer, I can do as I please and sit around the house doing sod all if I feel like it.

It must be difficult living with your parents, not feeling quite at home, concious of noise and mess, feeling judged on how you are bringing up your baby (I'm assuming all that, but its how I would feel) Not having your own space, etc. Are you on the council waiting list? In our area they do a scheme where the council will pay your deposit on a rented house, which helped me privately rent somewhere. I don't know how old you are and if you are on maternity leave or not working but have you thought about maybe doing an access course for adults at college? I did access to health a few years ago and they paid my nursery fees, it was great to feel like my brain was working again and I got to meet other adults. Its a good time to start applying now to start in September. I'm going to look at doing access to teaching.

You sound unsurprisingly a bit depressed sad

Have you been to any mother and baby groups? I go to one on a Wednesday and I thought I would hate it but the babies love it and people chat to me, I get to drink a cup of tea too! Sometimes I take the dc out to lunch on my own, felt strange the first time but feels normal now. Where about are you?

VelvetSpoon Fri 24-May-13 08:45:54

Thing is though, there aren't always happy endings. You can work as hard as you like to change stuff and you just end up with different issues, life doesn't necessarily get easier just when DC are older...

Daisytunes Fri 24-May-13 08:48:14

OP I think the difficulty is that parents that are in a relationship just don't understand. Before I was a lone parent I was still the sole career to my DC because of my DH's long hours and business travel etc.
At that point I would have thought I new what it was like. What I just didn't and couldn't get was the feeling of huge responsibility and the weight on your shoulders of being the sole decision maker.

They just don't and can't get it. I don't believe they mean any harm.

HighBrows Fri 24-May-13 08:51:22

MakeItUpAsYouGoAlong things will improve for you but it will take time. Try and focus on your studies and make positive changes for you and your daughter.

My advice to you is to keep well away from people who are vexing. Try and find just one or two good friends who can give you a kick when you need it, a hug at other times and someone just to just be your personal cheerleader.

Things will get better and you are one the right road once you have at least one good friend.

((un-mumsnetty hugs))

Hullygully Fri 24-May-13 08:51:53


It is hard. Really hard. I am not a single parent, but I have good friends who are, and one of the saddest things I heard one of them say was that it wasn't just the loneliness, the constant responsibility for everything, there being no one there for support, it was that there wasn't another person to share the total fascination each parent has for their own child. It really made me understand loneliness.

I think you are raging at the moment, but you need to breathe, and give yourself a break, and then accept it for what it is and start to build a life for the two of you. baby groups are free, trips to the park are free, get out there and make it happen. It's unfair because there is only one of you and yet you will have to try twice as hard, but it will be worth it. Good luck.

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 24-May-13 09:00:43

I have no idea why you've had anything other than sympathy on this thread OP!

Of course people in relationships saying "Ooh I know what it's like, my DP gets home ever so late most nights" is fucking annoying and dense of them!


I'm not a single parent but I just wanted to defend your position. It really isn't difficult to empathise with. The friends saying they can relate are being the OPPOSITE of empathic!

I think a lot of the people telling you that YABU have said similar things to their (probably equally annoyed) lone parent friends and are affronted that you should dare to voice the fact that it's crass of them.

It sounds really tough, you are allowed to moan, and have some flowers

Just a moan. I'm so busy yet so lonely, I live for my playgroup mornings. I've not met any outside friends though.
As I had to move home- 2.5 hours I don't have many friends here.
Days when your exhausted after a tough week and your dd just whines being out the worst in me so I apologise.
I volunteer for sure start, am studying in sept to go to uni to study social work.
I want to help people like me, I have to help myself if I want to help others.

Thank you for all your support this morning and positive stories

Tailtwister Fri 24-May-13 09:03:54

YANBU. There's no comparison between being a lone parent and having a partner who doesn't get home until late. There's the emotional and financial support for a start. The fact there's someone else there and the buck doesn't just stop with you.

I'm not a lone parent btw and I do find it hard and exhausting having 2 young children and a DH who works long hours. However, I wouldn't compare that to being a lone parent.

MorrisZapp Fri 24-May-13 09:06:26

Lemon, what should ops friends say to her, to be supportive?

SirChenjin Fri 24-May-13 09:07:22

If you live with your parents then presumably you do see other adults? confused

I'm sure it's hard being a single parent, but unless you live like this "you have your own house, gorgeous car, family that have your dd two nights a week oh and a lovely Dp" then you can be assured that even others who do have a DH/DP have it hard too. No point in getting into competitive parenting, really there isn't.

HighBrows Fri 24-May-13 09:08:43

I want to help people like me, I have to help myself if I want to help others

That shows the essence of you, you will get to help people in the future but for now accept all the help you can get. Then in the future you will be able to pay that forward.

Take one day at a time, baby steps and you'll get there.

Also everyone gets exhausted and worn out looking after a small child, but I promise you this some day you will long to go back to that 8 month old baby and just to spend the day hugging her more.

My youngest is 11 and my eldest is 17 and I truly long to go back to when they were all much younger and fighting with each other for a cuddly from me.

HighBrows Fri 24-May-13 09:09:34

^SirChenjin Fri 24-May-13 09:07:22
If you live with your parents then presumably you do see other adults?^

Op has already explained both her parents work long hours.

I apologise if I've offended anyone it really wasn't my intention

PeterParkerSays Fri 24-May-13 09:11:54

Could you call their bluff? "It's great that you understand, what would you do next in my situation?"

Then stand there and wait expectantly for an answer.

sensibly though, are there any toddler groups nearby that you can take DD to, if only so you see another human being? The people who claim to understand might at least know of such contacts.

SirChenjin Fri 24-May-13 09:12:33

She said in her OP she doesn't see another human for days - what sort of hours do her parents work? Surely that must be against the European Working Directive to be working for days/nights on end? confused

znaika Fri 24-May-13 09:12:59

I'm an lp OP, I know how you feel. Your situation sounds crap, but you really sound as if you're in the worst part of it. Working hard for no financial reward and your DC so small. My advice would be to hang on in there and you will reap the rewards. It will creep up on you that you suddenly have things more sorted and your Dc will grow and become less physically demanding. It's pointless people with DPs out at work all day saying they feel like lps because lps don't have someone else going out earning all the money!

MorrisZapp Fri 24-May-13 09:13:31

I don't think anybody who has said YABU is offended op, it's just healthy debate!

GoblinGranny Fri 24-May-13 09:14:19

You volunteer for Sure Start?
You sound in need of a programme of positive parenting yourself, how on earth do you manage to be enthusiastic, supportive and encouraging to other parents who are struggling, when you feel so down?
What will happen to your DD when you start studying in September, do they run a creche? I think uni will be a great idea, but SW is incredibly emotionally draining for the most dedicated, so I'd be concerned for your mental health.
Have you considered other child-related fields?

nailak Fri 24-May-13 09:14:33


I understand that a specific person in a specific situation said something to upset you and you have every right to be upset, maybe the person was trying to empathise with you or something?

you live with your parents yet you have no family support and don't see another adult for days?

If you are living with your parents you obviously have their support.

If you don't have their support despite living with them, then how hard is it to see that despite living with a partner a woman might not have his support? and still might not have any family support?

If you don't see your parents despite living with them, then how hard is it to see that women living with partners might also not see their partners for days despite living with them?

Parenting with a young baby is lonely, not just for single parents, but for others too, having young children was the loneliest time of my life, and yes sometimes I didn't speak to another adult for days, and I relied highly on internet, and yes toddler group and the childrens centre was a life saver, something that I could never have lived without, and made my life bearable.

I don't know why you think you can invalidate other womens experiences and feelings by saying that you have it worse therefore they can never understand.

HighBrows Fri 24-May-13 09:14:35

MakeItUP I fail to see how anyone could possibly be offended by your post. You are having a hard time of it and your 'friends' are making it worse by saying shit like 'yeah I know, sure I'm on my own all day as he works late'.... frankly that is an offensive thing to say to a struggling single parent. I'm offended on your behalf you have such vexing friends around you.

You are having a hard time of it, you are allowed to rant.

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Fri 24-May-13 09:15:05

Id had this too, and the people that have said it to me have not been empathetic. Strangely the people who do actually understand are people that say 'it must be hard' and leave it at that. The few people who glibly talked about being a 'work widow' or other ridiculous phrases, they were by definition not being empathetic or trying to be kind. They were dumbing down what it's like and being a bit 'poor me' about something that it's quite crass to be begging for sympathy over.

Not sure why you've had a hard time on this thread OP, maybe cos it's AIBU, maybe cos there are alot of nasty threads out there at the moment. Humm.

HighBrows Fri 24-May-13 09:16:01

Does it actually matter SirChenjin even if she 'sees' her parents everyday she still 'feels' alone.

MorrisZapp Fri 24-May-13 09:16:07

PeterParker, most people don't find it supportive to be given suggestions how to improve their situation. If op finds herself disagreeing with her friends, she can just tell them politely. My friend is a single parent, and I asked her what it was like. She told me, in a polite and conversational way. Nobody has to challenge or confront, they can just chat like normal friends.

I can put on a front, I honestly just want to help others.
I am not going into my parents hours. Yes the occasionally have dd, there jobs involve some trips away.
They should not have to be helping me or having dd

Yes in lonely. Sir why does it matter to you? Why are you nit picking,

It's lovely at 23 isn't it when you consider a conversation with your tired overworked parent as a highlight of your day.

GoblinGranny Fri 24-May-13 09:19:03

You can put on a front. sad
OP, that's unlikely be enough to keep you safe and sane.
I don't see judgy on this thread, I see people who are concerned for you and your wellbeing, now and in the future.

GoblinGranny Fri 24-May-13 09:20:21

You are only a year older than my DD. sad

SirChenjin Fri 24-May-13 09:24:44

I get that Highbrows, and I'm not nitpicking - but her OP was about how often she sees another human for days which is what I couldn't understand.

The point I was making was that there are many, many women who have a really rough time of it when they are raising their children, and I believe we should recognise that rather than getting into a debate as to who has it hardest.

Thank you granny hmm I'm normally doing better than this but this week has been hell.
Mum and dad have to go away today too hmm
The court papers went in yesterday so waiting for another attack from the ex and his mum but that's another thread.
Dd is really teething and sad hmm.
It also isn't my parents place to look after and care for dd. When I volunteer she's in crèche, and when I go to college I've scraped together enough for a day at nursery because I need us to have a future.
In my volunteering I haven't hit a rough patch yet. I do more organising the activities for the children, toy library and pointing people in the right directions of organisations of help.

DumSpiroSpero Fri 24-May-13 09:29:00

We all have different circumstances, partners (or not), kids, strengths and weaknesses - it really doesn't need to be a bun fight or a competition.

I work school hours, term time only and so does DH, and I realise that makes me very fortunate. Doesn't stop me occasionally envying my friends whose husbands do business trips their space and 121 time with their DC's. I used to have that when DH worked shifts and I really miss it, but I know people in different circs probably think I'm mad!

A single mum with a reasonable ex and extended family support may find life easier than a married, SAHM with a tired, grumpy DH working all hours and no family or friends nearby.

There's nothing 'black and white' about parenthood.

Sir- I am not being competitive. I'm having a rough time that is all hmm

nailak Fri 24-May-13 09:30:39

highbrows and double I find it amazing you can talk about being offended and "poor me" and at the same time refuse to acknowledge that other peoples feelings and emotions are valid!

I mean you say does it matter if she feels alone, well doesnt the same thing apply to women in relationships? Obviously not according to you!

Of course women in relationships can never be lonely or struggle or have a hard time of it hmm

you all sound self obsessed! if your friends have issues you really sit there thinking "i have it worse so it is offensive to tell me"?

GoodtoBetter Fri 24-May-13 09:31:59

Pay people no heed OP. You are having a hard time and I don't blame you for feeling sad, or jealous or bitter. You are as entitled to moan as anyone else, and don't listen to the "my leg is more broken than yours" bollocks. Your life is hard atm. But it will get better, honestly. Chin up, pet. xx

SirChenjin Fri 24-May-13 09:34:54

Good - because starting a debate about how women with husbands/partners cannot possibly understand how hard it is for single parents doesn't help anyone.

It can be really, really rough as a young parent - there are some lucky people (single or married/partnered) who sail through it with a fantastic support network, plenty of money etc and there are others who are not as fortunate (I speak from personal experience). The only thing I would say is it does get better - it can take years, and it can be a long uphill struggle, but it sounds like you are well on your way by doing your voluntary work and going to college. That in itself is a lot to take on, so you should give yourself a huge pat of the back for even attempting to do all that and raise a child smile

GoodtoBetter Fri 24-May-13 09:38:05

It's not a debate, she's down and lonely and wanted someone to talk to. what's wrong with that?

cocoplops Fri 24-May-13 09:38:52

Op - my DM was a lone parent to myself and my bro pretty much from when I was a few months old. She studied to get better qualifications just like you. Just wanted to say that my mum is my inspiration and I have so much admiration for how she coped and made something of herself out of a pretty crappy, lonely and depressing time.

Bet one day your dc instead of the whining will be equally proud of you - volunteering for sure start to help others cos you know what it's like, studying to put you and your child in a better position for the future. Vent away and be kind to yourself.

Btw I think saying 'I know how you feel' is a an insensitive thing to say, but likely meant in a kind but clumsy trying to empathise type of way.

diplodocus Fri 24-May-13 09:39:10

I think, like with everything else the experience of single parents differs wildly on their circumstances. I have two friends who are lone parents who have huge amounts of support from family (mother looks after children after school each day and babysitting on tap) and financial and practical support from exP. Another of my friends hasn't seen her DD's dad since she was pregnant, and is also trying to support an elderly, sick mother with no other family nearby. There circumstances couldn't be more different. While I'm not saying being a lone parent is easy, I also know married couples struggling with depression, financial concerns, illness etc. so I don't think it's OK to say one is definitely harder than the other - everyone's circumstances are different, and no, it isn't a competition.

SirChenjin Fri 24-May-13 09:40:00

Nothing wrong wanting to talk - no-one is saying there is.

Oldraver Fri 24-May-13 09:43:34

Altinkum sorrry its YOU being rude. You've done your fair share of moaning on MN and had support, have you been told basically shut the fuck up others have harder lives ? No.

OP is having a moan as she's feeling the strain at the mo, have a heart

Thank you for the support you have made me feel better right now

Oldraver Fri 24-May-13 09:52:45

OP, if you can spare time and energy to help others I think you are doing better than you think

janey223 Fri 24-May-13 09:55:39

(Haven't read full thread sorry!)

Makeotup - I totally get you. Yes, people have other things that make it hard but being on your own is shit. On the plus side it gets better (not easier tho) when they get slightly older (my DS is 17m) and their little personalities really come out, it's a bit less lonely!


IneedAsockamnesty Fri 24-May-13 10:04:06

Op. if your finding things tough at the moment why are you making things harder for yourself both stress wise and financially.

From your posts it sounds like your trying to force your ex to have contact with your dd is that correct?

If you are why bother you have no chance of success none at all unless he has a personality transplant

A contact order can only be used to force you to make your child available to her other parent it cannot force the other parent to be make himself available. There is no way a court can make a nrp have contact if he does not wish to.

Sock it's me- its make. I think you have been on my other posts?

BeaWheesht Fri 24-May-13 10:17:58

People are onl trying to be nice IMO - what else can they say? If they said 'oh I know it's so shit for you but not me' that'd be worse surely?

Also don't assume everyone in a relationship is having a wonderful time - I'm not just talking about abuse I mean the ones who just snipe at each other, the ones who don't do anything together, the ones where there partner never helps, the ones where their partner works but they're still struggling to survive and aren't entitled to any benefits. The grass truly isn't always greener.

I am a Sahm but have never had night away from the kids and my parents are pretty far away and very ill so to me some aspects of your situation like being near your parents are enviable. I know it must be tough for you (or do I? ;) ) but can you see what I mean?

GirlWiththeLionHeart Fri 24-May-13 10:21:20

Op I know your original name on here from what you've described on here and know youve gone through a tough time. I don't think your friends mean any malice in what they've said to you.

Do you want to find a new partner? Do you think you'll start dating sometime when dd is older?

CorrStagnitto Fri 24-May-13 10:22:56

ive been a single parent for 20 yrs <hardcore>

its very hard, but also very rewarding, nothing wrong with having a rant about it either, take it easy and be kind to yourself [manly pat on the back]

Astley Fri 24-May-13 10:27:12

Ok, but DH is on the army, last year was away for 7 months. I have friends whom are single parents, their exs have their DC every other weekend, at least half of school hols and some have the children one night mid week too.

So actually, yes, I think 7months totally on your own with no break whatsoever is actually comparable to that.

Why does it have to be a competition?

lydiajones Fri 24-May-13 10:30:26

YANBU. However, if you have no family support around and are new to an area being a mum with a partner can be very hard too if they work long hours.

CorrStagnitto Fri 24-May-13 10:33:10

op never implied it was a competition, and i dont think 7 months on your own while your dh is away is the same, you dont have the same financial worries, you know he will be back at some point in time, i assume you have contact with him so have some sort of emotional support through that etc etc, seems to me like youre the one making it into a competition not the op

she just wanted a rant <natch>

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 24-May-13 10:37:00

Yep just figured out its you. Scrap the previous post then I now know what your talking about

acceptableinthe80s Fri 24-May-13 10:37:51

Yes well Astley presumably your dh is being paid and financially supporting his family whilst in the army so actually no it's not comparable.
Oh and lots of single parents are doing it completely alone with no paternal contact.

jollyhappy Fri 24-May-13 10:37:52

Moan moan away Op.

My nana was a single mum and was the most awesome mum ever and the best ever nana.Whenever i think i can't cope I think of her for inspiration.

I am not a single parent. Funny enough I had a new single mum over to mine last week and she went on and on about how I had a DH. I didn't say anything to contradict her and just listened as I figured it would just add to her conflict.

But when I think about my situation I try not to think about all the people with more help than I have as otherwise I can feel a bit sorry for myself and get down. My DH has been working horrendous hours so I have hardly seen him for a year. I've been really ill. We have no family near and the family far away are not interested. The support network i have had - hasn't been able to help. But I take strength from the fact that if I can get through this with young kids then I can figure I can do anything...

Good luck!

Astley Fri 24-May-13 10:39:55

Actually, I don't think anyone who has a husband going on tour has the luxury of 'knowing they will be back at some point'.

jollyhappy Fri 24-May-13 10:42:26

Astley - hats off to you.

As DumSpiroSpero says we all have different circumstances!

CorrStagnitto Fri 24-May-13 10:45:57

youre in a different situation astley and you well know it, your life may well be hard but its different and you were the one turning into a competition not the op (even more so playing the 'he might not return from tour' card)

maybe you can start your own thread if you need to offload smile

DIYapprentice Fri 24-May-13 10:46:15

What on earth is wrong with just saying 'Oh my goodness, I can't even begin to imagine how hard that must be.'

Astley - Because you know your DH in the army, even though away, is there for you emotionally, and is supportive of you. He sends emails/letters, gifts, makes phone calls, etc. He is financially supporting you. And you have his visits home to look forward to.

I also had a DH who worked incredibly long hours and travelled a lot. So I was responsible for everything, the DC barely saw him for a few years. Yes, I sole parented, but I wasn't a single parent. There is a big difference between the two.

(And not all single mothers have exes who will take the dc away for a few days, and some of them that do are terrified of it and sit there feeling awful the whole time the exes have the dc... )

DoctorRobert Fri 24-May-13 10:47:45

I think people are only trying to empathise.

As a SAHM whose friends all work, and whose DH also works long hours and isn't here all weekend either, it's the sort of thing I might say to a single mum too, as a statement of solidarity. It wouldn't be said to irritate - I genuinely do think I have an inkling of what it's like, the vast majority of my time is spent alone with my toddler.

Lweji Fri 24-May-13 10:48:03

I think it's ok to rant about your circumstances, but not about other people not understanding or claiming to be worse than those other people.

And yes, I am a single parent. Have been for over two years now.
Personally, I found life harder with exH.

Personally, I am one to see the positive in things and do something about it.
If I need to see people, I go out or reach out.

Also, regarding contact, I agree that I'd let it go. You can't force it, and TBH why wish a twat on your LO?

DIYapprentice Fri 24-May-13 10:48:07

Oh and Astley - I can't even begin to imagine how hard it is, sending off a DH to a war zone. I won't pretend to.

Astley Fri 24-May-13 10:53:29

Corr every point the OP mentioned in her first post is something that other people do have to go through.

The loneliness, the complete responsibility, the never getting a minute to yourself.

And you bought up knowing that they come back, when you know perfectly well that a good number of them haven't, and you spend the entire time they are away worrying they won't.

As for 'playing the tour card' when you have heard the door bell go at 7am and your first thought has been the worst, and you see it's actually just an insanely early Royal Mail man and the relief has caused you to actually sob when he hands you the parcel... You might understand that 'knowing they will be back' is really a pretty crass and insensitive thing to say.

Sokmonsta Fri 24-May-13 11:00:08

I can offer you bucket loads of sympathy for your position but cannot say I can empathise having not been there.

That said, I am surprised somewhat that you are volunteering for an organisation which could actually help you. Being able to put on a front when you are potentially helping people in a similar position is bound to lead to resentment. I would speak to your coordinator, explain your situation and ask whether there is someone they could offer you. Someone to take dd to the park and give you a break, to play with dd so you can have a bath in peace, to give her dinner while you do some tidying. Things you will be doing for another person.

I have a hs volunteer help me with my twins and she is a bloody godsend. Her dc are much older though. Your is only 8 months old. I get that you are likely volunteering to give yourself a break from the monotony of being at home with a small, demanding person. But please give yourself a break and ask for more help.

Sokmonsta Fri 24-May-13 11:00:46

And I fully intend to repay HS help and support over the last year or so by volunteering myself when the twins go to preschool.

CorrStagnitto Fri 24-May-13 11:01:50

it isnt crass and insensitive hmm how do i know he is on tour everytime he is away from you, there must be times when he is away but not on tour (maybe training or whatever) and you know he will be back, my dp is an armed policeman, he might come face to face with terrorists any day, does anyone quite know if their loved ones will be back when they walk out the door everyday

so you know of 'The loneliness, the complete responsibility, the never getting a minute to yourself' so try having a bit of empathy with the op instead of turning it around to be about you

TheFlipsideOfTheCoin Fri 24-May-13 11:02:50

I think that they're saying that they can IMAGINE what it's like from the times that they are with their DC alone for hours on end. They're not directly comparing themselves to you, although it sounds that way probably.

VelvetSpoon Fri 24-May-13 11:03:42

The point is people shouldn't try and empathise. They'd be better off just saying no, its shit. Can I help? Rather than getting into this oh yes lifes ever so hard for me as well.

But people don't want to put themselves out. They're not interested in offering assistance, just a bit of faux sympathy which makes them feel better. I have asked for help, needed help, many times and got nothing - despite fact I constantly help others.

MrsDeVere Fri 24-May-13 11:15:26

I have no family support
I have a disabled child
I cared for my sick and then dying child.

All of these were hard. They would all have been harder had I been on my own.
Not just the physical side, the emotional stuff. Having to make all the decisions about everything. No one to lean on or take over. Its exhausting.

I was a LP for a few years when my eldest were little and it was very, very hard. I felt utterly alone and it was scary.

People need to understand it is not just the bodily absence of a partner that drains you.

It is not the same as having a partner who works long shifts (done that too).

OP your baby is so young it is hard t see a light at the end of the exhausting tunnel. Things will get better in time.

And its fine to moan. Lots of people moan on MN about stuff that would make you go hmm

But even they have a right to a whinge. Why shouldn't you?

Astley Fri 24-May-13 11:37:43

corr you kow exactly what you said. I only mentioned his tour, not the rest of the time when he weekly commutes. You said that at least when he's on tour he'll be getting paid and I'll know he'll be coming back.

That is crass and insensitive. You can try and pretend now you were talking about when he's on a little day trip, but your whole paragraph was about a tour.

'op never implied it was a competition, and i dont think 7 months on your own while your dh is away is the same, you dont have the same financial worries, you know he will be back at some point in time, i assume you have contact with him so have some sort of emotional support through that etc etc, seems to me like youre the one making it into a competition not the op'

CorrStagnitto Fri 24-May-13 11:47:31

i think you need to calm down and re-read my post, i never mentioned the word tour hmm

i fact here are my exact words:

op never implied it was a competition, and i dont think 7 months on your own while your dh is away is the same, you dont have the same financial worries, you know he will be back at some point in time, i assume you have contact with him so have some sort of emotional support through that etc etc, seems to me like youre the one making it into a competition not the op

now unless i am mystic meg, i have no idea if he is on tour or not when he is away from you

but no need to apologise for your mistake smile

CorrStagnitto Fri 24-May-13 12:02:21

You have picked up on me saying 'you know he will be back at some point in time, ' and twisted that around to make me look like some insensitive bitch, when you know full well it wasnt meant in the context you are implying, you quite obviously have issues with him being away for his career and you are projecting them on here

now i am sure it is very hard for you when he does go on tour, but when you mentioned he was away for 7 months you never mentioned this was a tour, and nor did i, for all i know he could have been away training, as i have no idea what it is your dh does in the army (there are many many different skills that soliders do) how am i supposed to know why/what/were/whatever he is doing

GoblinGranny Fri 24-May-13 12:13:47

Would you rather people said 'No, I don't get how hard it is being a single parent at 23 living on benefits. I chose not to be that person' ?
or who didn't bother talking to you at all, because they had nothing in common with you at all.
Yes, everyone is entitled to a whinge, and to find their lives difficult and their circumstances unfair and their lives unhappy. What isn't right is turning it into misery Top Trumps, do the rage and stamping without comparisons to others.

And Astley? We waved our dad off to a warzone situation twice, and once to Northern Ireland. It was horrific for me as the oldest, I knew what might happen and it took me a long time to stop hating the Irish as an entire people. Certainly I was in my teens before I could be reasonable about it.
How my mum coped with all our fears and hers, I have no idea. But she did.
So good luck and safe homecomings for you and yours. smile

I'm really overwhelmed by all this support.
Unfortunately I do need to go to court to enable me to move on as ex pops up with his evil mum every few months.
It happens just as I'm okay and knocks me down. It happened last weekend again.

Just got out to playgroup this morning, which was nice.
In regards to dating some asked about- I am dating someone but its once a week. I put dd to bed then go.

Before I get flamed. Yes my mum has dd but I must stress she's in bed! And dd is okay until 12am.

skyeskyeskye Fri 24-May-13 12:28:42

I get this all the time Make. People whose husbands work long hours, or work shifts away from home say _ oh I know what its like being a single parent, I am one half the time. This is my reply to them.

Actually no, you are not. You have somebody else helping to earn money. You have somebody else there some of the time, if not all of the time. You have a partner at the end of the phone when they are not home. You have somebody else to run decisions by, to discuss things with, to worry with you when DC are ill. You still have a husband to go on holiday with, to share DC events together with, to share bank holidays with. to share Christmas with. You have another family (inlaws) to help you. You are not a single parent.

Another thing they say - Oh I would love some time to myself, I wish that I didnt have my DC every weekend.

In actual fact, the reality of that is very different, it is sad, it is lonely, it is not how you expected your family life to be. What these people want is the stable family home life, hubby bringing home the bacon, but a few hours to themselves to go shopping and have lunch....

I think that people are probably trying to empathise possibly, oh I know how you feel etc, but it doesnt always come across like that.

Regarding contact - I know why you are doing it , and you know that you cant force him to see DD. But you want stability and to know where you and DD stand, that is why you are doing it.

Loulybelle Fri 24-May-13 12:46:20

Make has had a lot of issues with her ex, in demanding contact with 24 hours notice once in a blue moon, and i understand her desire to have contact agree on, in which her ex cant just demand and then say shes unreasonable when she happens to not be available.

toddthebarber Fri 24-May-13 12:49:34

Thought i might be able to add a different perspective. I am an ex forces wife and have been a lone parent for 5 years, so have experienced parenting with a husband that works away or might not come back and what its like to be totally on my own.

Its different for different reasons. In the forces there are other stresses, such as ' are they alive' but its only for 6 or so months and there is contact, you are not financially on your own, the families officer is about if you need help, other wives will help too. Its hard...

BUT - being a lone parent, you are on your own, not for 6 months, just forever, for everything all of the time. If i have the odd moan, which is not very often, since it tends to get the same response as the OP has had, i get told ' at least you have the house to yourself in an evening' i reply - yes, every damn night for 5 years. Then they shake their heads and tell me to get out more. which again, is kind of impossible.
Unless you have lived it, you dont know its hard, its relentless and it never ends, you know the buck stops with you on all counts.

Op your little one is tiny, now is the hardest bit, physically harder anyway. The tireness will let up, else you just get used to it!! But you will be ok, you are doing the best you can with the cards you have been dealt. When your child is older they will know what you did for them.

PostBellumBugsy Fri 24-May-13 12:55:36

MakeItUp, I've felt like you so many times. It pisses me off royally too, when married or partnered friends tell me they know what it is like to be a single parent when as their OH travels alot.

It will get easier. Mine are early teens now & they are the best helpers I could ever have. Hang on in there - it will get better. smile

rainbowfeet Fri 24-May-13 12:56:33

It's a very lonely life!! & what I find ironic is some friends say "oh, you must find a nice guy, even if its for the odd date" (I don't want to 1st & full most) but none of them ever want to go out other than a daytime coffee. So how I'm quite supposed to meet a guy I don't know & I had recently been thinking of moving to another county about an hour. & a half away & they were all saying "no, don't move so far away & where you don't know anyone" but I think bloody hell from school run fri pm until school run mon am I might not speak to another adult so how different would life be if I did other than a nicer area to bring kids up in!!!
I know it's not their fault my life is generally a bit crap but I don't think they embrace just how crap it is!!! hmm

toddthebarber Fri 24-May-13 13:01:54

ah rainbow, yes, i get that all the time. i dont quite know where they think im going to meet anyone... and before anyone shouts internet date, its dire and i have done for a long time with no luck.

Also to the people that say ' keep trying, make your life better' sometimes its not lack of trying that means its still shit. Ive been trying a long time, its still pretty much the same situation as it was when i first became a lone parent as i expect it is for most people.

Astley Fri 24-May-13 13:03:11

Corr you know what, I wasn't born yesterday.

I said he was in the army, said he went away for 7 months last year, I think we both know you knew what I was talking about.

You decided to make a little dig about knowing he'd be back. That tells me all I will ever need to know biscuit

Astley Fri 24-May-13 13:06:16

And GoblinGranny thank you for your lovely words.

toddthebarber Fri 24-May-13 13:09:44

astley - it is different though, i can promise you. and if we are doing competative ' i have it worse' one year ex dh was away all but 6 weeks. and those 6 weeks were split up into odd days here and there.
But i still never felt as lonely as i do now being a lone parent. Coupled with which, i had a ring on my finger and so was not judged as being a benefit scrounging single mother with loose morals.

PostBellumBugsy Fri 24-May-13 13:20:42

I think it is partly grates so much, because it is often a bit of a throw away remark.

Usually from the same people, who arrange to go out with you and then cancel because their OH is away and you are left thinking, but what about a babysitter - that's what I have to do, because I don't have an OH!!!!!!

I have really, really great friends and they all think I'm amazing (or at least they pretend they do to my face) and they tell me they don't know how I do it all (work full time, look after the DCs one of who is ASD, care for an elderly parent with dementia and give a passing semblance of sanity).

Single parents do the job of 2 people every day of their children's lives and whilst it isn't a competition and wherever you look there will be someone both better & worse off than you, an acknowledgement of the tough deal it can be, rather than a glib "I'm in the same boat too" kind of comment, is really appreciated.

JenaiMorris Fri 24-May-13 13:28:05

I wasn't lonely when I was a single parent, but I had friends and family around me. I lived in town so it was easy for me to pop ds in the pram and go for a wander - even if I was broke (I mean literally no cash, not just a bit short) - and be guaranteed to bump into someone. There were toddler groups - I know people hate them but for me they were a lifeline. At one point I was going to four a week grin

I remember walking several miles on more than one occasion to pick up some random screws or whatnot from Homebase as an excuse to leave the house hmm

The isolation thing will get easier as the weather improves and as your baby gets older, OP. There's a limit to how long you can spend in the park with an immobile baby but in a matter of months you'll have a toddler who'll like to feed the ducks, go on the swings and all that stuff.

Things'll pick up on that front, seriously. smile

Jenai- I do pointless trips like that!!!!

NeedToMoan Fri 24-May-13 13:45:46

yanbu and I am a parent of a child with a disability. My hub works long hours and has been known to take half day off to play golf and sometimes I want to moan and say it's like being a single mum. But I know it isn't. I shoulder a fair amount of the crap but he earns the dosh. If I'm out of Calpol or bread he picks it up from the shop on the way home. He cooks on a Saturday night. And mows the grass! There are things about my life that are frustrating and hard, it's difficult with a child with ASD and another without. It has it's own set of difficulties. But I know it's not like being a single mum. You moan away girl.

Bobyan Fri 24-May-13 13:46:37

Rant away OP, my other half is home well after I have put the kids to bed during the week and by Friday I've really had enough.

My life isn't hard but I know we all need to offload sometimes without the professionally offended jumping in and giving you a kicking...

SoftKittyWarmKitty Fri 24-May-13 14:02:52

Make I understand completely and YANBU. I've been a single parent since DS was born 7 years ago and it's hard, very hard. Like you I put on a front which makes people believe that I cope really well and I actually do cope really well most of the time but I never admit just how completely lonely and utterly overwhelming it can be doing everything on your own.

People saying things like 'Oh DH is working away all week, I feel just like a single parent!' with a little laugh and conspiratorial nudge of my elbow just makes my piss boil. They have no idea what it's really like to be a single parent, none whatsoever. They don't know what it's like to do all the child rearing, washing, ironing, cooking, cleaning, household admin, driving around, doctors appointments, dealing with illness, night wakings, kids parties, school plays/parents eves etc, while at the same time single-handedly bringing in all the income by WOH, juggling finances to make ends meet and making every single decision that ever needs making. My ex has never bothered to see DS so I never get a weekend off, ever. It's relentless and it's fucking hard. I'm glad you're dating because at least that'll keep people off your back about that - I constantly get 'Oh, you'll meet someone soon', usually said with the obligatory patronising head tilt.

Moan away if it helps. And look forward to a better future because it will come.

corlan Fri 24-May-13 14:04:55

This thread is starting to remind me of the Monty Python sketch of the four Yorkshiremen competing to see who had the most miserable life here

Kewcumber Fri 24-May-13 14:09:06

I have had a partner in the army and once (post army with UN) was front line and it was stressful.

Being the sole parent to DS has been both the most rewarding and the toughest thing I have ever done. I'm not sure the two are directly comparable and OP wasn't saying that no-one else is allowed to find their life hard just that it is bloody irritating when people try to minimise your difficulties by saying that their DH being away on business for a week and how its like being a single parent. I doubt OP is surrounded by army wives with their DH's all on tour.

You can tell when people are trying to empathise - they normally start with "that must very difficult" and go on to clumsily try to show they know how you feel. Others really aren;t trying to empathise, just trying to make sure you understand how they have it just as tough as you.

Try practicing a sweet smile and saying "yes, I'm sure that must be very hard for you" and rise above it.

It does get easier OP - around when they start nursery you feel you might actually survive!

Kewcumber Fri 24-May-13 14:12:38

I even had a friends DH moaning (to her in front of me) about how hard it was for him having a 3 year old (she does most of the work) - I said - hard is never getting a lie in, EVER; being 100% responsible emotionally and financially for your child; once your child is in bed - that's it, no milk runs, chocolate runs quick trip to the gym; making every major decision on your own - vaccinations, schools, holidays, housing.

I still rather be on my own than with him.

PostBellumBugsy Fri 24-May-13 14:23:23

If only real life were a comedy sketch Corlan!

GoblinGranny Fri 24-May-13 14:26:47

Just remember this thread when you come across someone with a child on the spectrum and avoid all the 'Oh yes, my DC did that' and 'why don't you just...' and 'Don't all children find XYZ difficult' grin

JenaiMorris Fri 24-May-13 14:41:09

Not on threads, but IRL those situations are awkward though because sometimes you don't know that a child is on the spectrum and it feels right to empathise - most children can be trying to distraction.

I hate to think I've offended with some throwaway sympathetic phrase about parenting being a "nightmare" or whatever. Although having said they wouldn't know that my child wasn't on the spectrum, would they?

<shuffles off doubting self>

MrsDeVere Fri 24-May-13 16:13:56

corlan I think that is a bit mean. As far I can see people are doing the opposite e.g. yep I have a disabled child but I also know I have a partner who is coming home at the end of the day.

I think I have only seen the one post that leaps out as 'my life is harder than yours'

specialmagiclady Fri 24-May-13 17:03:26

I spent 3 years as a Monday to Friday single mum. Partner was away and although at the beginning of the period we spoke on the phone most evenings, by the end we barely spoke Monday to Friday.

It was incredibly hard - and he only worked about 3 weekends away in that period.

I did end up taking responsibility for almost everything.

I do believe that it gave me some insight to the life of the lone parent. It was waaaay easier, of course, because I got to go to work on Saturdays for a break and I had DH to consult on big decisions. And, crucially to earn the money.

But when you've made the call not to take your ill baby to A and E in the night because you would have to wake and take a 3 year old too, you have some idea what's involved in lone parenting.

Enough to know I wouldn't do it on a whim, enough to make me really work at my marriage when DH finally got a job near home.

I absolutely take my hat off to those of you who do it full-time. I will be very careful how I frame any attempts to empathise in future. X

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 24-May-13 18:09:13

I am sure we all moan at some point about being a parent but its a choice we all made. No one set has it easier or harder, a single parent can have far more support than a couple in terms of family and friends etc.

People can try and compare situations to make others feel better, yes it may not be the same but moaning because they dared try is a little mean.

skyeskyeskye Fri 24-May-13 18:25:15

specialmagiclady - good post there and a good explanation.

happymummy - yes we all chose to become parents, but I told XH that I would not have chosen to become a mum at 36 and give up a well paid full time job if I had known that less than 4 years later he would clear off. I then went part time, then left to go self employed to work around her school hours, if I had known that he would clear off and leave me to bring up DD on my own, I wouldnt have left the security of that job. If I had known that he was going to leave me with a £700 mortgage, I would never have sold my little cottage where the mortgage was £235 a month... All my choices were made as part of a couple, as part of a family.

The one thing that I did not choose was to become a single parent. My XH walked out on me with no warning, totally selfish.

not having a go at you , just saying that some choices you make because you think you have the backup and support of a partner/husband and then it all backfires on you.

I do think that generally people mean well, but it doesn't always come across like that. It's not a competition and Im not saying that my life is harder than anybody else's, but it most definitely is not the same as being part of a couple. sad

rainbowfeet Fri 24-May-13 19:47:10

Just to add a lighter note about friends telling me to meet a man.... My good friends DH said to me the other day that I should go on that sugar daddy dating site.. So I said blimey they would be after a trophy girlfriend not someone old & fat like me (I'm 39 & a size 14/16) friends DH replied "yeah, suppose so but you ain't that bad"!!! shock grin Tickled me!! Just wondered if using charm like that won my friend over!!! grin Xx

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