Do you get fed up of people saying this?

(46 Posts)

'Well, if you had a husband/partner he'd be at work all day anyway, so it's not that different being on your own,........'

Or something similar.

I want to say - 'but you know somebody is coming home later in the day. Even if they only make you a cup of tea or a sandwich, someone is going to walk through the door. They're around at the weekend too. You surely get time to have a bath, drink a hot drink, may be peg the washing out without worrying about having to have eyes in the back of your head. You've got someone to talk to in the evening. Someone to perhaps make a feed or two in the evening. Someone to plan trips/nice things to do at the weekend'.

I'm a single Mum to a 13 week old baby - STBXH left a week before I found out I was pregnant.

Lioninthesun Sun 07-Jul-13 14:46:09

I can see what you are saying Donut and I am glad your situation is now better.
Personally I find it hard but rewarding, as I only have one other member of my family left, my dad. Ex's family all live abroad and have never met DD, and ex hasn't seen her since she was 6mo.
Sadly none of my friends offer to baby sit as they all have kids of their own (the friends in my town anyway) plus I would rather be out with them tbh! I certainly would not be better off working due to childcare costs and am surprised to hear that there is a job that covers them that is part time - and a bit excited! Can you share what you do Donut?

DonutForMyself Sun 07-Jul-13 12:37:34

Amy, like a lot of people I got lots more love and support from friends and family once I was on my own. People assume that your H is your emotional support and that at weekends you'll be doing 'family stuff' whereas once I became single people invited me out, offered to babysit so I could go on dates/out with friends.

Its controversial, but I'm also better off financially being single because there is a lot of help available to single mums who work part time, my ex does contribute and I don't have him spending it or dictating how I can spend it all.

I have free time once a week, which I thoroughly deserve because yes, the rest of the week it is hard work doing it all for yourself, but I would still say life is easier now than it was un an unhappy marriage.

Obviously yes, if you have a loving supportive partner, who pulls his weight, listens when you talk and is attentive and affectionate, that is better than being alone, but I think you'll find that behind closed doors there are very few marriages where that is really the case.

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Sun 07-Jul-13 10:28:22

So basically, apart from grunting when he comes in from work, this that I posted:

But you have someone to talk to? To cuddle? To look forward to seeing when he comes home from work? To have little grown up jokes with and share stories with each other? To love? To cheer you up when you feel sad?

And then throw in the part about money too. That's pretty supportive.

I think you've forgotten how isolating it is for some single parents. Some people don't have DHs around at all through PND. You say your friends and family didnt offer help. At least you had someone you could have asked. Some people have no one.

I'm hiding this thread now because its annoying me too much that someone thinks a life where they speak to a loving adult everyday is comparable to one where you speak to an adult who cares once a week. What a joke.

bornagaindomesticgoddess Sun 07-Jul-13 10:27:04

In his defence, he has a 3 hour commute every day and works very long hours. His family are not at all 'touchy feely' so he does not know how to deal with feelings.

"And of course, people think that because you are married, you are OK and don't need their help and support because you have your DH."

Yes, I can appreciate this. The last year of my marriage was very difficult, but I didn't feel I could ask for help because to the outside world things were 'rosey'.

Gosh born, that doesn't sound very helpful of your DH.

Having said that I know plenty of couples where the H is an active help - donig school runs, doing packed lunches, even looking after the kids for a day at the weekend so his wife can get a day off.

I realise there are differences, and it's not possible to say all couples are better off than all single parents. I guess my feeling is if you have a supportive partner it must make life a whole lot easier.

bornagaindomesticgoddess Sun 07-Jul-13 10:18:50

Yes, we talk and yes, he helps financially. And yes, overall, I like being married. However, in lots of ways I was happier single.

I had the most terrible PND after having my last child (whilst married to my current DH). I had never had it before and it was awful.

Having someone around who does not understand what you are going through can be extremely isolating. And of course, people think that because you are married, you are OK and don't need their help and support because you have your DH.

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Sun 07-Jul-13 10:12:44

So you never ever have a conversation with him? He doesn't help financially?

bornagaindomesticgoddess Sun 07-Jul-13 10:11:20

Nope. Most of the DH's I know (mine included) are so knackered when they get home from work that they just sit on the sofa and grunt every so often.

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Sun 07-Jul-13 10:10:26

That was to bornagain

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Sun 07-Jul-13 10:09:51

But you have someone to talk to? To cuddle? To look forward to seeing when he comes home from work? To have little grown up jokes with and share stories with each other? To love? To cheer you up when you feel sad?

Reiltin Sun 07-Jul-13 10:05:53

Mine is 5wo and I have no end of respect for single parents. I know exactly how lucky I am only needing to get through til wife walks through the door at 5:30pm. I think you're amazing!

bornagaindomesticgoddess Sun 07-Jul-13 10:04:18

But you are assuming that the DH will take some of the strain. That is not necessarily the case. For me, although I love my DH, he is an extra burden. It is like having another child.

And before you ask, I was a single parent struggling on benefits with 3 kids, one of whom had serious special needs long before I got married.

The grass is always greener.

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Sun 07-Jul-13 09:59:14

*choose, not chose

ItsOkayItsJustMyBreath Sun 07-Jul-13 09:58:40

I am also in the 'love being a lp' camp, most of the time.

I love not having to worry about upsetting XP with something trivial and the atmosphere and the arguments. No more cleaning up after him as he just refused to and would lie in bed all day on days off.

I love the freedom I have being able to chose what to make for DS and I to eat, where we go and when.

I do not like the way XP is still trying to control my life from afar (but I'm getting better at ignoring it). I do not like the way that DS gets sad and wants to see his dad when he's with me and the way he gets upset when his dad drops him off after a fun filled Saturday together spoiling him

I don't tend to get many comments as I keep myself to myself but it does make me angry on the odd occasion someone complains about how hard it is being alone with their children for 8 hours a day. It is all relative though and I probably moaned too when XP and I were together.

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Sat 06-Jul-13 21:31:38

I find it genuinely interesting that there's such a scale of single parenting because before it happened to me, I naively thought all single mums had the same set up. Like, for example, mama2 has a good social life, but in comparison at the other end of the scale I haven't been apart from dd since August (bar a 20 minute doctors appointment) because I have no one to babysit and she doesn't see her dad. I thought all single mums had breaks at weekends until it happened to me!

DespicableYou Sat 06-Jul-13 21:26:42

I'm sorry you get told things like that sad

I think you must do an incredibly hard job.

I am married with 2dc and once posted on here about how much I respected what you must have to deal with as a single parent and cogito someone started a counter thread ripping me to shreds over it.

(I had a different name then and threads were in chat antway, so long gone)

Fwiw I would never comment in the way you describe in the op, but I would no longer say anything that recognises the extra challenges you may face. At least not on here.

iwantanafternoonnap Sat 06-Jul-13 21:18:49

I am trying to remember if anyone has said that to me and don't think they have but I have an awful memory now. Most of my friends are really supportive and are always telling me what a great job I am doing and how hard it must be for me.

I have a lodger which takes away some of the loneliness in the evenings and she makes me a great cup of tea grin

It gets better tricky as their sleep improves, when they start walking, talking and being able to play by themselves so you can get on. Mind you then there into everything as well and the non-stop chatter can drive you insane wink

Have you found any other single mums in your area? I have met a quite a few and it helps to have a good old moan to others that actually understand it.

mama2moo Sat 06-Jul-13 20:27:38

My response to comments like that - 'yes, but I only have 2 children to pick up after'. That soon shuts them up when they remember they do everything for their husband/partner as well as their kids!

I am a year into being a lone parent (2 dd's aged 5 and 3yo) and I bloody love it! We have great fun together, I have a social life when they are with their dad and I dont have a man to pick up after!!

It's hard work. My exH left when DS was about 22 months old, and DD was about 4 months old. Very little in the way of regular contact after leaving, and now he hasn't seen them in over 4 years (we don't even know where he lives!). At 14 weeks pregnant (with a very much tried for and planned baby) my "D"H revealed himself as a twunt of the highest order, and left shortly after. I'm 3 weeks off my due date now and slightly completely panicked at the prospect of doing everything by myself. Never thought I'd be a single parent again - it's our first wedding anniversary in 10 days and I am hideously emotional about everything.

I know I'll get on and do it - I've done it before, and basically, you get on because the DCs need you to. But it is a lonely road, and bloody hard work! Even more so when friends compare their OHs being away on holiday/business to actual lone parenthood sad

sarahseashell Sat 06-Jul-13 18:50:28

I've had shock my husband's had to go away for a week with virtually no notice!

I look at them like this hmm

I think they've just sort of 'forgotten' I'm a lp IYSWIM

Completely agree equinox. My STBXH has also had a child with his mistress (long story). I'm currently doing shuttle mediation with him. Last time I went he turned up in a new car - a people carrier. I'm still struggling getting my baby in and out of a KA.

I guess it some ways it's easier doing it right from the very start on your own, but it other ways it's harder - because the baby stage seems extremely full on to me at the moment. I've got lots of support, but I would sometimes like someone in this house regularly who I could bounce ideas off,........

I understand not all men are going to be good at providing hands on support, but my Ex is supporting his mistress and their child and that feels like a bitter pill to swallow.

Lone parents are a group of people I'd never given much thought to before, but now I have the utmost respect for them.

equinox Sat 06-Jul-13 11:33:27

More importantly and invariably bar very few exceptions a couple live way better materially than a single parent.....!

DonutForMyself Sat 06-Jul-13 10:38:47

Tricky "it is at least another pair of hands. Someone to may be do the shopping, change a nappy once in a while, cook the dinner, wash up, take the baby/child from you in the evening etc."

That argument holds if they do actually do any of those things. My XH worked shifts so was rarely around at weekends, often working until late in the evenings and his random hours meant that I never got into a routine. He wouldn't get up in the night because his 'oh so important' job meant that he needed to be well rested, so I had to silence the babies as soon as they stirred to prevent waking him.

He rarely cooked a meal in 15 years, made cups of tea yes, but he didn't clean, tidy or do any housework, go to the supermarket or pick up food on his way home. He would sometimes take the washing out of the machine and leave it in the basket drying so I had to hang it out straight away, whereas I would have left it until convenient, so even his 'helping' didn't make my life any easier.

I used to dread him coming though the door in the evening, wondering what I had been doing all day because the house was in 'such a state' after the DCs and I had spent a frantic half hour tidying up to try to prevent any stress for him. I would have prepared dinner to be ready, not for the minute he came in because that would stress him out, but for approximately 15 minutes later to give him time to get changed and wind down. It was a big juggling act of trying to make sure everything was ok for him.

I always thought that I was basically a single parent, but with the added stress of someone else to take care of, with impossibly high standards and emotional abuse thrown in for good measure.

Now that I am on my own with 3 DCs I can confirm that life is actually easier without that tosspot around! However, I never had to experience it with a newborn baby, so I'm sure you are finding it much tougher than many.

I would try and console yourself that the people who say that to you probably have a useless H like mine and to them, the presence of their OH doesn't make their life any easier or more pleasant, in fact they would probably be happier without them. However, it is insensitive of them to try and make you feel like it doesn't make a difference to YOU.

As Orchard says too "I now have a dp who doesn't even live here but the difference in how I feel just because I have someone to talk to at the end of a bad day and someone that can give you a 'man-hug' and that makes you feel like you're part of a team is crazy ."

When you don't have that, it does seem that being on your own isn't that different.

Meglet Sat 06-Jul-13 10:07:25

That's interesting orchardkeeper. That you've had to adjust to having a partner there. I hear of all these men who happily do housework / errands / parenting and it's like a different world to me.

blackeyed yes, full medicine cabinet here, always taking something for aches, pains and shivers. And lots of GP trips. Sad really as I'm a lentil weaver at heart and don't like necking pills but while the kids are small and so draining then I think it's a necessary evil.

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