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.

BlackeyedSusan Fri 05-Jul-13 20:23:15

comiserate with them that their partner is so incompetant to not do anything and that their relationship is so bad that they never talk to them.

BlackeyedSusan Fri 05-Jul-13 20:28:30

I get fed up with people assuming that I get a break and the children see their dad everyother weekend. I currently supervise access. i do get a cup of coffee in peace though and you are right, it makes a massive difference.

when dd was small, i could not leave herr with him as he went to shake her when she cried too much but at least he brought in money.

AHHH YES.

It fucks me off beyond belief but I usually just say exactly that, in as level a voice as I can manage "yes but they come back at the end of the day and you don't spend every evening by yourself/have no one to talk to about the DC(s) at the end of the day"

CatelynStark Fri 05-Jul-13 20:32:59

None of my friends would dare say that to me! They have enough empathy to know that it's bollocks!

(and to be fair, you don't know how hard it is until you're doing it solo yourself so I try to remember that it's a matter of relativity & that to them it is hard, even if I feel I have it harder. But if they catch me on an off day I can be a bit short about it blush grin )

Glad it's not just me then. Had this said quite a few times.

I realise having a partner/husband doesn't make life necessarily a bed of roses, but 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.

I also seem to have dropped a lot of partnered friends as time goes on as I found it hard because they didn't seem to understand how much of a struggle it can be and that my mum/other family members can't babysit either so I literally am by myself with DS, besides nursery and when he's in bed)

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Fri 05-Jul-13 20:54:47

Oh my mum sometimes does a variation of this and its so annoying. If I mention struggling a bit with being alone, she will tell me about how when we were little she managed with us all day until my dad came home from work. Because that's the same thing as having no one adult to talk to, no one to chill with at the end of a bad day, no one to help with the big decisions and no one to help with finances. She means well bless her but it drives me mad.

"she will tell me about how when we were little she managed with us all day until my dad came home from work"

Had this too. Not from my Mum, but from others.

I think it makes a massive psychological difference knowing there is someone else coming through the door later in the day. Even if it's someone to have a moan to, you know you're not alone. It must make you feel stronger - 'if I can just get through till 6pm then there's 2 of us........'.

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 .

I wouldn't stay with someone just to avoid the hardship/loneliness but I most certainly am very grateful for what I have now & still think about that lonliness/sheer boredom with a massive cringe.

(that wasn't a stealth boast btw! Just trying to make a point about the stark difference in some areas smile )

Meglet Fri 05-Jul-13 21:28:25

No one has ever dared say that to me!

blackeyedsusan I've discovered that people who know we have nothing to do with abusive XP assume my mum has the DC's at weekends sometimes. When in fact she has never done it, they've stayed at my sisters house once in 4yrs. <<very tired, no social life>>

EverSoNear Fri 05-Jul-13 21:52:01

I could just about handle people telling me it wouldn't be different if I had a partner, however, the 'friend' I had who decided I would be the best person to moan at that her dp only let her have hour long baths 3 times a week, only cooked dinner 4 times and took the baby out by himself. But, you see, I just didn't understand how hard she had it... Well, suffice to say we're no longer friends.

That is AWFUL that people say or even think that! I have so, so much admiration for lone parents. I could not do it without DH, I don't know how you guys manage. Well ok, I suppose you manage because you HAVE to and hopefully I would be the same, but I am one example of a non-lone-parent who thinks it must be bloody fucking difficult.

AmyFarrahFowlerCooper Fri 05-Jul-13 22:51:14

Ooh for a second there hearts, I thought you were edging into the dangerous territory of "I don't know how you do it", but you saved yourself with because we "have to" wink grin

NicknameIncomplete Fri 05-Jul-13 22:59:37

I love being a lone parent. I am the only parent. The only time i get a break though is when i am at work.

However some nights i would like someone there. Even if it is just for an hour just for someone to talk to. I cant have anyone round coz dd is a pain in the bum in the evenings when its bedtime.

NicknameIncomplete Fri 05-Jul-13 23:01:41

No one has said anything like that to me. But my parents dont get why i come on here. I want to scream 'its alright for you coz u have someone to talk to'

BlackeyedSusan Fri 05-Jul-13 23:20:05

I suppose meglet that people assume your mum has them because they would not be able to cope without their oh and think no-one else could too.

people do not get that some people have no-one to have them/have an ex who is not capable of having them completely solo.

hearts, sometimes you cope because it is easier without the hassle of an abusive partner/lazy partner/breaking down relationship. some people have got used to doing most of it themselves anyway. some have known no different if the dad has left them when prregnant. you cut your coat according to you cloth. do what you can manage. pay for what you can afford.

doesn't mean that it would not be better to have a supportive/involved partner. but being single is better than being stuck with one that makes life more miserable.

also just because someone is in a relationship, does not mean that life is easy. I have a couple of friends who do have partners but are struggling. it is difficult to judge from the outside whether they have it easier or not. a lot of abuse goes unseen.

I could quite easily have thottled another mother in the playground though. she had been ill and was saying how all she had had to do was pick the children up from school and keep them entertained for an hour til oh came home and took over. I was only vertical due to taking paracetamol, ibuprofen and decongestants, shivering and sweating in quick succession,, knowing I had to keep going til bedtime and there was no relief. tea may have been cooked by mr mcdonald though.

Lioninthesun Fri 05-Jul-13 23:50:08

I have a friend like the one mentioned above. She is quite hard work but my DD loves her DS so I would feel terrible about cutting her out and she doesn't have many friends so would worry about her DS a bit too much who is always moaning about her DH. He takes both boys out at least one day of the weekend alone, cooks all but one of the dinners each week, hoovers every other day, bathes the kids every other day and she gets to lie in until 12pm on weekends (both days). She had them for 2 days alone when he went hiking. I nearly burst out laughing when she called on day 2 and said "Oh I've got the hang of it now, it's pretty easy really isn't it being on your own" knowing full well it was an hour until Mr X came home to pick up all of the mess created as she 'doesn't do' hoovering hmm
But I have been pretty lucky with my friends on the whole. I only know one other single (ish) mum though, which is a bit depressing.

That's a classic lion hmm grin

My mum was a single parent herself and is now a SW who works stupidly hard & is knackered by the weekend...so baby sitting is not really an option plus I don't like to ask as I know how tired she is by the weekend as my little brother lives at home & she's still a single parent, essentially .

I was single from the start so I think I find it easier than I might if I'd had to make the massive change from duo parenting to solo. That being said, I still find it weird to accept help off DP and often don't think of asking for help because I just got so used to doing it all myself.

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.

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.

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.....!

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.

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

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

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!!

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.

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.

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!

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.

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

*choose, not chose

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.

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!

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?

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

That was to bornagain

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 10:12:44

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

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.

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.

"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'.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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