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Aibu When people say "I feel like a single parent"?

(148 Posts)
MyIronLung Sat 09-Jan-16 17:44:27

Bit of a ranty thread.

When people say this it properly pisses me off!
I know a few people who "feel like single parents". They're not. They have husbands/partners who work to provide and are present in their families/children's lives.

I, on the other hand, am a single parent. I have no other half. I have no time off/to myself (except when ds is in bed I'm knackered ). I have no one to share the burdens of life with. I don't go out because that would require leaving ds home alone, and at 4yo I think it would be frowned upon.
I'm the one that has to figure out how to make £60 stretch to provide all meals for the month. I'm the one that has to sell stuff to make ends meet because there's no other money coming into the house (no maintenance or contact. His choice).
I'm the one who does everything and buys everything because there's no other option or fall back.

One friends dh is in the forces. She often "feels like a LP, just with a healthier bank account <tinkly laugh>" angry .
Another friends dh works f/t and gets home around 7pm during the week. This means she knows exactly what it's like to struggle with dc alone.

Aibu to feel mightily pissed off with these people and ever so slightly offended that they think for a moment they're even in the same vicinity as my boat?

ManneryTowers Sat 09-Jan-16 17:53:36

YANBU. DH is out of the house for 14 hours Monday to Friday and I sometimes say this when DS is being particularly difficult and DH comes in just as I'm closing the door to DS's bedroom having gotten him to sleep/cleaned/done dinners/been wonder woman. I don't mean it, it's a silly thing to say, but it makes me momentarily feel better by venting.
I don't think the people you know who say it really mean to be offensive, it's just a thoughtless, facile comment.

Supermanspants Sat 09-Jan-16 17:56:46

I think it is one of those flippant, throw away comments people can make without really thinking. I think that those who have a forces spouse deployed are effectively a single parent for that time.
Speaking from experience it can be annoying especially if you are feeling knackered and skint as I think you are flowers

GreenRug Sat 09-Jan-16 17:59:58

You're right of course given the example you've used however there are families where the dad does ' come home' but the mum IS a single parent for all intents and purposes (no money from dh, no quality of marriage to speak of, no emotional support, solely responsible for the kids etc). So yes, insensitive of certain people to say that (especially to you!) but it can sometimes be the case.

ChicagoMD Sat 09-Jan-16 18:00:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Potatoface2 Sat 09-Jan-16 18:02:01

ive been a skint single parent, and a married parent....i get what you are saying, but sometimes having a partner is limiting as well....when i was on my own i did what i liked, when i liked and had no one to answer i have a husband saying 'what you doing, where you going etc....sometimes i wish i was still that skint single mother...its how you cope thats the main thing.....some people have a useless partner and they know exactly what its like to feel like a single parent ( not all people married/partners are well off)

WorraLiberty Sat 09-Jan-16 18:02:37

It's not a competition though is it?

If that's how she feels, she's entitled to say so.

Aeroflotgirl Sat 09-Jan-16 18:12:23

flowerswine for you. I think its a throwaway comment that you try not to take seriously. Yes people are entitled to their feelings, but I would never say such a comment to a single parent though, never claim to feel how they are feeling.

MyIronLung Sat 09-Jan-16 18:14:45

Thanks for the replies and flowers grin. It's quite cathartic to be able to vent without upsetting anyone.

I know it's a flippant, off the cuff type of comment and I'm certain that no one means to offend (that's a strong word but I can't think of a better one right now grin). This is why I don't respond with anything other than a knowing nod or smile.

The forces spouses I know do deal with the day to day running of their homes and kids but not one of them struggles financially (which imo is one of the harder things about being a LP) and any big (or small) decisions are dealt with as a couple, even if it's over Skype, as opposed to an actual LP who has no one to turn to or expect any help from.

I do appreciate that everyone, regardless of situation, has issues and burdens, but assuming they know what my life is like 24/7 is annoying.

YouBastardSockBalls Sat 09-Jan-16 18:17:28


But my DH works away a lot, so I do it all alone really. I've been guilty of saying stuff like that in the past when I'm having a bad day, but I don't since reading posts like this.

It wasn't calculated to offend smile

WorraLiberty Sat 09-Jan-16 18:18:38

They didn't assume they know what your life is like though, because no all single parents have the same life.

Also, not all single parents are struggling financially.

Of course some do struggle, but not everyone.

MyIronLung Sat 09-Jan-16 18:18:40

worra no of course it's not a competition but it is insensitive. They can feel fed up, stressed out, at the end of their tether but likening their stressful day/week/month to my entire, never ending life is annoying.

tabulahrasa Sat 09-Jan-16 18:19:30

In fairness though, the income thing is seperate from whether you are a LP or not, some LP's will have a high income, some couples have a low income.

I'm not saying you're BU to think, no being by yourself is not the same as your OH being at work for the day...but struggling financially is a different issue entirely.

MississippiMud314 Sat 09-Jan-16 18:19:37

I know, it's ridiculous.

However, the most miserable I was ever was when I was still with my x, in the run up to leaving him. And I remember I might have felt it then. So sometimes I wonder if it's a sentiment expressed by women who are trying it on for size, or women who are so unhappy in their marriage that they feel very lonely. Being a single parent isn't as bad as that.

What hurt me recently was when a friend (a really nice open warm friendly kind woman) apologised to a widow ''oh my goodness, I'm sorry, I thought you were a single parent". My friend was embarrassed to have made such a faux pas. confused hmm That hurt me a bit.

MyIronLung Sat 09-Jan-16 18:20:09

I'm talking about the ones who say it to me. These are people who know me and my situation well. Not people who don't know me from Adam.

zippyswife Sat 09-Jan-16 18:20:25


Dh works long hours and works away but I would never say I feel like a single parent. I don't have a clue and its insensitive.

A 'friend' of mine regularly puts this on fb. Her dh earns over 200k works from home/short days and she spends her days shopping/spa/afternoon tea/gym etc. It makes me want to smack her in the mouth. She has lots of single parent friends and they must loathe her blatant insensitivity.

Owllady Sat 09-Jan-16 18:21:46

I used to say this. I said it once to my friend who was a single mum and she said to me, it really isn't like the reality (my h had been away for 9 months, I was working etc, two v tiny children)
I haven't said it since. It's lucky I have good enough friends to tell eh? smile so just tell her if you want to

OllyBJolly Sat 09-Jan-16 18:23:18

If that's how she feels, she's entitled to say so.

But I think the issue is that people don't know how it feels. Friends said that to me because their DH worked shifts, or travelled with work etc.

Really, it's not the same. Only having one income and hating your job or having redundancy looming, is a horrible lonely place to be. When you have an important exam for a qualification you have been studying four years for and your DC has tonsillitis, there's no time to sort anything else out. The unfairness of having to "make the children available for access" but no rule that their father has to turn up to collect them. When all three of you have some V&D virus and you're trying to look after kids, clean up, and can't stray too far from the loo yourself. Your teenage daughter runs away and that whole responsibility and judgement of others falls on your shoulders...

I've said on these boards that there were fun aspects to being a single parent and I stand by that. Most of the time it was bloody hard and damn lonely.

NaughtToThreeSadOnions Sat 09-Jan-16 18:24:06

But she has no idea how it actually feels to be an actual single parent
worra even taking the money aspect out being a single parent even one with a new partner is hard. If your husband/partner works long hours or even abroad for months (as is fairly common in Ireland) you still have some one to share the burden with, some one to pay attention to you, Somme one to do the weekends when your frankly knackered, some one to back you up when disaplining the children, some one to support the children in ways you can't.
I'm not a single parent but my mother was, even when she remarried and had my half siblings, she was the one who was solely responsible for my brother and I, our health and schooling she was the one making decisions for us. And no we weren't well off because she had to pay for childcare for us.
It's one of the phases that absolutely pisses me off and I have friends who's husbands do work away for months and long hours when they're working closer to home. None of them say it, except the one that actually is a single parent.

MyIronLung Sat 09-Jan-16 18:24:13

Like I said, this is just a bit of a rant. I would never say this to my friends because they're nice people who'd be upset if they thought they'd upset me.

I'm perfectly willing to accept that iabu grin.

It's been a hard day life. grin

MyIronLung Sat 09-Jan-16 18:28:28

Naught you've said it much better than I have. This is how I feel.

MyIronLung Sat 09-Jan-16 18:30:02

Sorry for the excessive use of bolding. Whoops!

kilmuir Sat 09-Jan-16 18:31:12

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

MyIronLung Sat 09-Jan-16 18:39:29

Really Kilmiur?
Not that it's any of yours or anyone else's business, but I was careful. Ds was planned. It wasn't a new relationship. We both wanted ds.

Then newborn ds got ill . Very ill. Exp then decided that actually this is a bit harder than I though it was going to be. I've tried to facilitate contact. I've tried to get him to support his ds but he's not interested.
He's now very successfully managed to disappear.

But thanks for the kind words and judgement (another wonderful thing about being a LP).

ElsaAintAsColdAsMe Sat 09-Jan-16 18:41:24

There is no comparison, because there is no one size fits all.

I find life as a single parent a lot easier than being in the shitty marriage I was in, the burdens weren't shared, I wasn't paid attention to, I had all the stress of the kids with no breaks as well as having my ex and his wants and needs to contend with.

If someone in my life is stressed or upset then I will do what I can to sympathise with them, not chastise them because they are having a hard time of it.

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