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You're not really a single parent

(181 Posts)
Noodledoodlesandspud Fri 22-Mar-19 22:23:00

I posted a status on Facebook earlier saying in a jokey way how hard it was to have a shower as a single parent. My aunt who lives abroad commented 'well you're not really a single parent are you'.
I asked her to clarify thinking that she might have not realised me and STBXH had separated. She replied well STBXH helps out a lot and what ever happens you still have the boys keeping you together'. I replied saying that actually STBXH only has the boys one day a week and rarely pays maintenance etc and I do everything for my boys. She then said there no need to be like that.
AIBU to be really pissed off that she said that.
Tbh she lives abroad and hasn't seen STBXH since we split and his lovely persona has slipped (he's a manipulative bastard and noone else saw it until after we split and his mask started to slip).

NinnieNouse Sun 24-Mar-19 15:57:10

@Soup Yes!

thighofrelief101 Sun 24-Mar-19 13:56:23

Gravy what a fabulous post, i agree with you wholeheartedly.

YouSayPotatoesISayVodka Sun 24-Mar-19 13:21:18

it's particularly upsetting to be told that single mums brought it on themselves by breeding with losers when you've just buried your DH.

Strangely enough' it's particularly upsetting even when you haven't. 🙄

^ Yep.

Sunonthepatio Sun 24-Mar-19 13:06:40

Your aunt was rude, very. She has no real idea about your life and support mechanisms and shouldn't really be making such personal comments publicly. Also, people who tell you " no need to be like that" when you correct their factual inaccuracies are passive aggressive and victim space claiming.

DrCoconut Sun 24-Mar-19 13:01:26

Just to clarify I did say no one should be judged. I'm a lone parent in a situation I could not have dreamed of let alone chosen (ex is not dead). I can't go into detail but let's just say I understand being judged. Which is why I understood widows wanting a classification that lifts them out of the firing line for other people's opinion. It's not so much saying that others should be judged as self preservation, which is instinctive when your world is collapsing round you. The better option is obviously "society" minding its own business.

SoupDragon Sun 24-Mar-19 12:38:35

it's particularly upsetting to be told that single mums brought it on themselves by breeding with losers when you've just buried your DH.

Strangely enough' it's particularly upsetting even when you haven't. 🙄

ConstantGravy Sun 24-Mar-19 12:29:43

I can understand widows wanting a distinct status. My dad died and my mum was subjected to judgement (single mum = benefit scrounging slapper basically). Not saying that anyone should be judged at all but it's particularly upsetting to be told that single mums brought it on themselves by breeding with losers when you've just buried your DH.

I can see your point, @DiCoconut, that kind of judgement on top of grief must be awful and I'm sorry your Mum experienced it. But at the same time - and I'm agreeing with you here - why is it only widows that should be looked at differently? Why is it not ok to judge them as single mums but it's ok to judge single mums who have split from their partners? It shows again that for some people it's more "worthy" to have lost a partner to death than it is to have one who couldn't keep it in his trousers or who has abused her ("she can't keep a man").

I left my ex because he was abusive and his behaviour was escalating. He started threatening to paralyse or kill me. After I left I faced judgement when DS started school - I hardly wanted to go around telling people all of what my ex had done, so I didn't. When my ex did turn up to things, suited and booted and utterly charming I'm sure people thought our split must have been my fault, especially when the other Mums said stuff like, "Oh he's so lovely! Have you thought about getting back together?" and even suggestions we should have more kids together as DS was "just so sweet!" They wouldn't have believed what he put me through.

To this day I still find myself wondering if I should have stayed with him for appearances sake. That there is more honour in being abused and keeping a family together as long as you look like the perfect family, than there is in being the woman who took your child and got the fuck out of Dodge to keep yourselves safe. That there is more honour in being an abused woman who is killed than there is in being one who got away, because yes, I got told I should have kept my legs closed and shouldn't have relied on other people's taxes to fund my lifestyle when I was with my ex for 7 years, had no need of benefits until he bled me dry and I've worked since DS was 20 months old to keep us housed, clothed and fed. And finally, yes, I've had fantasies about my ex dying, because there's more honour in having a dead partner than leaving them to save your own life.

I had a friend at uni who was a widow. Her husband died of a drug overdose and was also abusive. She openly used to say she was glad he was dead, because she hated him but then used to add that she didn't kill him. Peoples attitudes towards her visibly changed when they realised she wasn't just a 25 year old single mum but was actually a widow. Another friend has an abusive husband who has early onset dementia that made him worse towards her and the kids. She's desperate for him to either get bad enough to put into a home and walk away from him or for him to just die, as in their situation SS and the police won't remove him from his home. She also says there's more honour for her in him being in a home or dead than if she kicked out her "poor disabled husband" who steals all the family money for fags and booze and then attacks her when there's nothing left.

Why are we judging anyone? Why is one thing more honorable than another? If we stopped judging single Mums as architects of their own fates then we would by default stop making wrong judgements about widows. Wanting a different term or status for a widowed parent (which there already is anyway - a widowed parent) just proves that there is a hierarchy and single/solo/lone parents are seen as lesser.

I know other single parents who get generous maintenance, who coparent well, who have split amicably, to those who have gone down the sperm donation route so have no coparent, to those who have Disney Dad exes, to those who have been abused in various ways, split acrimoniously, get no maintenance etc. All are worthy of my support and non judgement. It doesn't matter that some get maintenance or EOW free when I don't, or that some are still fighting their exes when I've not had to speak to mine for 3.5 years - we all have our own struggles and I don't want to be jealous of their maintenance money (which often seems to come with all sorts of strings) any more than I want them to pity me for not getting maintenance.

sagradafamiliar Sun 24-Mar-19 10:34:08

Knock it on the head, PFB. No, it's not a competition as you keep saying. It's like you're trying to align yourself with a group you just don't and can't relate to. As parents in general we should all support one another and not 'compete' but when we're talking specifically about single parents, or lone parents, you can't understand, for positive or negative, unless you have been one.

Zsaz I agree! I had no idea. This thread has been eye-opening in a surprising and crappy way.

PFB2 Sun 24-Mar-19 10:15:36

How can my central theme be offensive? My central theme is that we all lead different lives and no 2 can truly be compared. It's not a competition of who is worse off. If you're offended by that I can only assume you're struggling to understand that concept for some reason.

And yes, I have read and understood the thread.

ColeHawlins Sun 24-Mar-19 10:06:43

@PFB2 give up. You're central theme is offensive and you're not even managing to read the thread correctly.

DrCoconut Sun 24-Mar-19 10:04:54

I'm a single parent in that I don't have a partner. I'm a lone parent in that I have the kids 100% of the time, make all decisions, go to all appointments etc. So you can be single and lone or single but not lone? I can understand widows wanting a distinct status. My dad died and my mum was subjected to judgement (single mum = benefit scrounging slapper basically). Not saying that anyone should be judged at all but it's particularly upsetting to be told that single mums brought it on themselves by breeding with losers when you've just buried your DH.

Graphista Sun 24-Mar-19 09:06:05

The poster I quoted was saying exactly that! Which is why I responded and responded the way I did.

It's not the same, I'm not saying there aren't aspects that are difficult but it's not the same.

PFB2 Sun 24-Mar-19 06:33:03

Graphista

"At one point, my DC spent 12 months out of a 14 month period without their dad. That was extremely tough for them emotionally" my dd hasn't seen her dad in nearly 7 years, before that she was lucky if he cleared one week a year to see her so actually YES many of us single parents DO know what it's like to deal with

"The tears, the broken hearts that you have to try to mend as best you can when there is a big hole in their life that you just can't fill."

Cos we do it constantly.

It sounds as though your DD has been very unfortunate in the sense that her father has massively let her down, but all your post does is prove my point. Having a let down for a father is not exclusive to the children of single/lone parents. Having financial strains also isn't exclusive to single/lone parents. Having to do 100% of the childcare sn't exclusive to single/lone parents. There are some absolutely horrendous parents out there. There are many mothers across the planet facing such difficult struggles with partners who contribute nothing or even with abusive/controlling partners who make their families life an absolute misery.

Just because for you, in your set up with your husband, being an army wife was easier, that doesn't instantly mean that it's the case for everyone. Some spouses deploy to places where they can maybe only communicate with their families once a month. Some soldiers deploy much more frequently than some others. Some welfare teams are a great support, some aren't. Some husbands I've known have spent the families money getting pissed and the mum has had to get into debt to feed her family. I've known a few wives who have separated from their spouse and gone down the lone or single parent routes who's lives have dramatically improved and become easier as a result. I'm sure there are others like you where that hasn't been the case. My point is, it's not a linear scale. Some married people can face similar struggles to single/lone parents and some single or lone parents can be living fantastic lives with loads of support (including that of a supportive father), no financial constraints and happy children.

So no, being an army wife/mother is NOT the same as being a single/lone parent at all!

I don't think anyone on this thread has said that being an army wife/mother is the same as being a single/lone parent. No 2 people's circumstances are ever identical in any case.

People need to stop thinking this is some sort of competition on how hard done by they are and start supporting others, regardless of what their relationship/parenting status is and show some empathy.

BitchQueen90 Sun 24-Mar-19 06:24:40

Russian123 none of what you have just said is true.

NinnieNouse Sun 24-Mar-19 06:15:59

@Russia I don’t think that’s true at all. Look at the vitriol on this thread for single mums. I feel single dads are seen as unlucky and victims. Single mums are seen as architects of their own fate. Sluts, picked the wrong man, couldn’t keep a relationship going, want a house off social.

RiddleyW Sun 24-Mar-19 06:03:16

if I a woman goes to the housing office with a child, she is higher than a single dad who goes to housing with a child, why is that the case?

This can’t be right, where have you seen this?

Graphista Sun 24-Mar-19 06:01:00

Russian123 what makes you think that?

I've several men in my circle that were/are single dads and they had just as much access to benefits, housing etc if they needed them, there are charities for single PARENTS which can and does include single dads.

And to be quite honest in my experience single dads tend to get lauded as some kind of superheroes when they're doing no more and no less than single mums.

Russian123 Sun 24-Mar-19 03:07:47

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

zsazsajuju Sun 24-Mar-19 02:48:20

It’s hard being a single parent. But I genuinely hadn’t realised some people still saw it as something shameful till I came on mumsnet.

It’s not. We are heroes (I would say heroines but it would give some pp the wrong idea). Some of us are more heroic than others apparently, but we’re all fab and should be very proud of ourselves.

Big up single moms!

Graphista Sun 24-Mar-19 02:28:51

Jessica - profuse apologies I appear to have confused you with

Mnhq if you want to edit that part of my last post that is fine by me.

"No one is saying that's easy. I'm sure it's tough. But it's absolutely not the same as having no partner at all." Totally agree!

I've done all 3 - army wife & mum, single parent when ex was still occasionally seeing dd and lone parent since he's basically fucked off and blocked both dd and I on everything!

In my experience:

As an army wife/mum (I found this easiest of the 3) you still have secure housing, his salary coming in, support from army welfare provision, contact on an amicable basis with the father, I could offload worries onto him, he'd talk to dd and send pictures for her etc and of course when he was home he'd be living with her, cuddling her, playing with her etc. Plus you know it's not forever, one of the hardest things as a single or lone parent is there's no end in sight.

As a single parent (I'd say this was the hardest of the 3) I was left penniless, almost homeless, no support from him (or the army after a point though they talk a good game initially), no maintenance for first few years (you'd think it would be easy as I knew and was able to tell cms exactly where he was living, employer and employee ref numbers etc - nope! Apparently army are quite obstructive on maintenance matters), then inconsistent/infrequent payments, anything I told him about dd he was either disinterested if it was a good thing or it was my fault if it were a bad thing (illness, troubles at school or with friends) so I stopped telling him stuff, he NEVER attended a parents evening, nativity play, awards presentation, dance recital, musical performance, birthday party... Even though he was invited and even though I would even have made OW/former friend and their children welcome. I found out at one point that he'd told his parents (who I also invited), 2nd wife etc that I'd specifically said they WEREN'T welcome. I was able to show them the communications where I had specifically invited them and provided the date/time/place, his parents in particular were absolutely livid with him!

From that point I invited them myself and while we still lived in an area not too far from them and they were still young and fit enough to attend, they came along to everything except parents evenings. Dd is still in touch with them at least.

As a lone parent (2nd easiest of 3) I couldn't rely on maintenance so I budgeted not including it in my calculations and if he paid it was a rare bonus that I'd set aside for Christmas etc. I had no financial or emotional support from him, but I also was no longer having to accommodate his erratic disorganised behaviour re seeing dd, dealing with dd being reluctant to see him because of how he treated her when she was there (not blatantly abusive but indifferent and infantilising, but also very high expectations on her behaviour and not accounting for her disability which I think he didn't "believe in" from how he behaved), from her seeing how much better off materially her siblings were (they'd get games consoles etc for Christmas/birthday , she'd be lucky to get a few stocking fillers type thing), him cancelling last minute for ridiculous reasons or sending her home if she had so much as a sniffle (cos he didn't want his "real" kids getting infected). It was me and her against the world and we built a really strong bond. I was able to plan and do stuff without him interfering or criticising. Basically things "levelled out". But at Christmas or her birthday dd still hits a low when he inevitably doesn't even call let alone send a card or God forbid a gift! At times I've gone through his parents to chase him to at least call but they're quite old and frail now so it's not fair on them, plus dd has said that she doesn't want me reminding him or chasing him, if he calls she wants to know its off his own backside! And I can't trust him to be discreet so if I did chase him he'd say so. Thats shit!

So no, being an army wife/mother is NOT the same as being a single/lone parent at all!

"I really dislike weekends when I don’t have my child being referred to as “time off”. It really isn’t" agree with this too. I was on edge every time dd was with her dad because every bloody time he'd do something to fuck up! She'd come back with nappy rash, hungry, injured (accidents but easily preventable ones), wearing clothes completely unsuitable for the weather or shoes too small hurting her feet, he'd have lost temper with her, or fallen out (again) with OW/wife 2 and they'd been arguing in front of kids... I'd have a nervous, sad, hurt dd to comfort and calm pretty much every time. Plus when it's just you & kid/s there often isn't time to get "big" household chores done when you have the kids so myself and many other single parents I know/knew would use that time to catch up on those. Some are working the days their kids are at their dads too. I worked part time when at uni and dd was little but I couldn't rely on her dad always covering so had to have other options in place just in case.

"At one point, my DC spent 12 months out of a 14 month period without their dad. That was extremely tough for them emotionally" my dd hasn't seen her dad in nearly 7 years, before that she was lucky if he cleared one week a year to see her so actually YES many of us single parents DO know what it's like to deal with

"The tears, the broken hearts that you have to try to mend as best you can when there is a big hole in their life that you just can't fill."

Cos we do it constantly.

jessicawessica Sat 23-Mar-19 23:39:30

Graphista...when or where did I blame the mother?
And I certainly don't recall making any remarks that could offend victims of domestic abuse!

Bobbycat121 Sat 23-Mar-19 21:46:52

No one is a single parent if they have a living dad of their child.

What a ridiculous comment. My ex hasnt seen our children in 2 years. Im a lone parent.

thighofrelief101 Sat 23-Mar-19 21:34:58

It's often harder to be a parent when there's a father around, for all kinds of reasons

I agree with the above 100%, I far prefer being a single parent.

OhamIreally Sat 23-Mar-19 17:13:41

When I became a single parent (exh fucked off after 16 years of marriage- no prior signs of feckless loserdom having been displayed before conception of DD) my sister said various times if I complained that I was finding it hard that she also felt like a single parent. She has a high earning husband and has done most of the parenting and drudge work over the years.

One day I simply stated: you're not like a single parent- I am doing everything AND earning all the money. She has never said it again.

I didn't think there was a scale as such - in my mind a single parent is just that - not in a relationship with the child's other parent. I do look a bit askance at men who have their DC EOW and claim to be single parents, I suppose I do consider it the resident parent.

Another phrase I've seen on here which has been helpful to illustrate how tough it is is: I do 100% of the work with 50% of the workforce. If you have a partner who works away they're still contributing, and you can share joys and worries in a way that you can't with an ex.

I'm fortunate that ex's parents are decent people who help me occasionally but they're still not parents to my DD.

Practicallyperfectwithprosecco Sat 23-Mar-19 13:34:49

I was a lone parent - my dds dad fucked off 2 weeks before she was born as he wasn't ready to be a parent. Sporadic contact over 15 years - never had her at his house and I can count on both hands the amount of times he had seen her.

I did it on my own 24/7 whilst working running a house, everything. My family are 300 miles away so no support there.

But her dad is alive so I'm not really a single parent!! Bollocks!!!

Single parent - in my view have contact with other parent so some support but financially it will be tougher - only 1 income! I have friends and family in the forces so long periods of time where they are parenting on their own but difference is they do generally come back and they are not a single income family. Yes I know some are SAHM but that is a choice and you can afford to do it.

I do get annoyed about the I feel like a single parent posts I see - no go and swap places with one and see what it's really like.

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