I am Not a Single Parent

I am not a single parent | A Simple Haven

Obviously, right? I talk about the Hubs and you can see him with the rest of our little fam here.

And yet, during the time he’s been in grad school while working full-time, I’ve repeatedly commented to friends that at times I feel like a single parent.

Not without cause: for most of the year, he’s much less available to the fam than he or I would like. Classes, exams, and group projects demand his time and energy and are scheduled at times that aren’t always ideal for the rest of us.

Our normal as of late has been seeing Daddy briefly at dinner and on most nights, for the last part of the kids’ bedtime routine. He and I try to hang out before our own bedtime, but we’re often so spent that it amounts to watching old episodes of The Office together.

It’s not always been like that, but this semester is particularly full.

Thankfully, he manages his time well and tries to schedule group project stuff for after the kids are in bed. And he’s smarter than the average bear, which means he has to study less than the average bear.

But still.

The reality is that grad school, combined with longer-than-usual work hours, a cross-country move, a new baby, and a third pregnancy have made the last two and a half years an adventure in flexibility and adjusting expectations–neither of which I’m inherently good at.

And the lack of Daddy’s presence has often led me to label my situation as single-parenting. Not in a condemning-of-Daddy way, just matter-of-factly.

Until recently.

When I realized that actually? My situation is far from single parenting.

While my husband is less available than usual, I HAVE a husband. (And a good one, for that matter). A partner to do this raising kids thing with. Someone who loves them like I do and who supports me as a stay-at-home mom–both emotionally and practically. Someone who cares about my goals and dreams and gifts and encourages me in them.

And actually? He’s not gone nearly as much as many other husbands.

But even if he were physically absent for long stretches of time (so thankful I’m not a military wife–I would be the worst one ever), I would still have the knowledge that I’m not alone for the long haul.

Yes, the last two and a half years have been challenging. Yes, we are in the midst of a hard semester.

But, as a friend recently pointed out, my husband’s heart isn’t to be away from his family. He doesn’t like the extra demands on his time any more than I do. He’d rather be more present. And come December when he graduates–hallelujah!–he’ll be much more so.

The guy who painted my bathroom today and raised two daughters by himself until they were seven and nine? Single parent.

My neighbor who works to support her boys, drives them to baseball and football, and navigates the world of parenting pre-teens by herself? Single parent.

My friend who went through her first pregnancy, labor, and baby’s first year without a father for daughter? Single parent.

Single parent I am not.

Somehow saying this makes me focus on what I do have rather than what I don’t.

I love when this little online home becomes a spot for good conversation, but I’m not sure what question to ask here. This post was honestly more of a confession of sorts.

Can you relate in any way? Whether it’s marriage-related or another situation?



About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, dinner guests, elevenses, and proper apostrophe use.

  • Angela

    I was a military wife for 12 years, only 4 of which included children, and we have been civilians now for 2 years. In those 2 years, we added baby #3, btw. I miss it. I am not a fan of being civilians. I had an incredible support system in the other Navy wives. Now, while I do live closer to “home” than I have since I actually lived with my parents, I’m still 2 hours away. It might as well be 2 states away. My husband works 11-12 hour days and goes to bed after putting the baby to bed. I have been complaining (to myself) for the last week that, although some women joke about having an extra kid to take care of (the husband), I really feel like that. I shop for him, cook for him, pick up after him, and do his laundry, with no conversation or assistance from him. At least when he went out on detachments, we would talk on the phone a few minutes each night or, at the very least, he replied to my emails.

    So, I get what you’re saying, and I hope graduation arrives quickly! But I would prefer a deployed husband over a Debbie-downer in my living room.

    • Love that you had the support system that you did! I’ve heard that from other military families as well. In a similar way, I don’t know what I’d do without some dear friends where I live.

  • Definitely can relate. I also have a great husband who isn’t always able to help out when I wish he could (and we define “spending time together” as “watching reruns together” on a regular basis , except we watch “Castle”). It can be tough, especially when it’s unexpected. On the evenings or weekends I’m left to hold down the fort on my own, I’ve got to remind myself that it doesn’t really amount to single-parenting. And then remind myself that doing it alone once in while instead of day-in-day-out sometimes makes it feel harder. I’m not used to it. I’m blessed not to be used to it, but that doesn’t make it any easier. The fact that my hard is someone else’s normal doesn’t spontaneously create go-it-alone bed-time stamina. So while perspective can help (and throwing a pity-party makes it worse), grace for myself helps more.

    • Rachel, I think there’s so much truth in what you said! If you’re holding down the fort this weekend, I hope there are bright spots and lovely quiet moments mixed in :).

  • Good, good words, friend. I felt like a single parent a lot this last year but realized quickly that I wasn’t. There were times J was gone or busy but it wasn’t month long deployments or never coming home.
    Praying for you this final semester. XO

    • Love that throughout this season I’ve had a friend like you who can relate! Thx for prayers, we need them 🙂

  • Pingback: What’s Making My Busy Season Easier | A Simple Haven()