Raising a child is hard enough when you have a two parent household. Add to the mix a traveling husband or a partner that works insane hours, and you are pretty much a single married mother.
Perhaps you have a husband that is just lazy who adds no parental assistance, and who might as well be out of town. You are all part of this club because you are all doing it alone! I am often asked by friends and strangers how I do it alone and remain sane? To give you a quick background, we moved to Florida from New York 7 years ago for a job opportunity that required my husband to travel during the week, often Monday through Friday. It was definitely tough at first but now I almost feel like I couldn’t live any other way. I know it sounds weird to say that but if you share a similar family situation, you know what I am talking about. For those who have their men around at night for dinner or at least bedtime, keep reading and you may actually be asking your husband to hit the road too. Welcome to this honest look at my motherhood:
There are both positive and negative aspects to being a single married mother and I have learned to love the positives. Feeling frustrated is a part of motherhood, regardless of your marital status. It’s okay to be aggravated and it’s okay to have a bad day or even a bad week. Having a spouse that travels all the time or works late every night definitely adds to this stress since there is no break for you. The kids are with you all day, barely leaving you enough time to take care of your simple needs, like going to the bathroom. The sky gets dark and then comes dinner, followed by cleaning up dinner, which in my house usually involves 1000 grains of rice stuck to the floor, then bath time, bed time, then chores around the house. Finally, around 10PM, you get to relax, maybe take a bath and read a book. That is a long day! Our job is 24/7/365. You have the flu; you have to tough it out. You fell down the steps because your housekeeper waxed the floors too well (I am convinced to this day it was done on purpose by the way) and can’t walk; you have to tough it out. Your cramps are so evil one month and you are so bloated only to discover that your husband used the last Advil for his hangover and put the bottle back empty; you have to tough it out. It’s one thing to get irritated and have your husband there to talk to or take it out on, but when you are alone, it’s just you, and that can lead you to too many chocolate donuts and too many Xanax pills.
So after a while, you become an expert at raising your kids and running your household while hubby is out of town all week. He finally enters the house and you are really excited to see him. Suddenly though you notice the suitcase in the middle of the hallway that will probably sit there until his next trip, the mountain of receipts poured on the kitchen table, along with his blackberry, cell phone, chargers and wallet. Your clean, organized, quiet house is no longer. All that aside, it’s nice to have your husband back, not only keep you company at night but to help you with the kids. As the night progresses however, you notice that dinnertime and bedtime take longer than normal, the kids are running around yelling, the kitchen is a mess and Daddy just promised to play Wii after bath time, even though you have banned Wii for the day due to bad behavior. All of the sudden, you don’t feel as relieved as you thought you would. Your world, your zone if you will, has just been taken away. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband and am super excited to see him for numerous reasons, but the reality is that there is an adjustment period that needs to occur. The key is respect and it’s easy to forget that in a marriage, which we all know. Both parties need to respect the other’s situation during the week. Your husband or partner needs to realize that you have been alone, handling all aspects of parenthood and household duties from the time you have woken up (or more likely been woken up), to the time you hit the pillow, barely having enough time to brush your hair or eat a decent meal. He also needs to respect that you have a whole system running in the house and it works. You need to respect that he has been alone all week in a hotel, far away from his family, expecting to relax and enjoy the weekend. You’re both exhausted and soon realize that it almost becomes a competition. Let me just say that there is nothing worse than telling your husband you are so tired from the day you had only to hear, “yah, me too…I had a ton of appointments today and then had to take 5 guys out to this steakhouse and they kept ordering bottle after bottle…I could collapse right now”. At that point, I usually just hang up the phone.
When I tell people my husband travels, they usually tend to feel bad for me. Not only do I tell them I am used to it by now but I discuss how I actually prefer it. I usually get, “REALLY?” Well, for starters, I am very independent and like my space. I have plenty of play dates and socialization throughout the week so I am not dying for adult conversation at the end of the day. Of course my husband is my best friend and I miss him but we almost have different lives during the week and it works for us. To some, it’s weird but to us, it’s our normal. There is something so relaxing to me about being in the house by myself, while the kiddies are fast asleep, safe in their beds. My husband isn’t pacing around the house on his cell phone, the downstairs television isn’t blaring, and everything is just the way I like it…perfect for a control freak like me. It’s just Mama in the house and I can do whatever I want, watch as many episodes of The Real Housewives as I want, go to bed whenever I want, make whatever I want for dinner…you get the point.
Being a single married mother isn’t as awful as it sounds so please don’t feel bad for me, because I certainly don’t.
I have an amazing husband who is supportive of everything I do, who works hard to support our family and whose business allows me the opportunity to stay home with my kids, while building mine. When he is home, he is very helpful, hands on and loving. I feel very blessed, very lucky, and wouldn’t change anything about my life! For all you moms out there who are reading this, kudos to you! No matter what your family dynamic is, motherhood isn’t supposed to be easy and you are kicking butt and taking names.