It’s been a hell of a few months for me. Since March of this year, I have experienced the most stress of my entire life. I gave birth to our second baby, moved to Colorado, rehomed my dogs, then moved to Japan, lived in a hotel for a few weeks, moved into a new apartment, said goodbye to my husband/baby daddy, and began to prepare for another move in a few months.
I have laughed a LOT, yelled more than I intend, cried uncontrollably once, and have had one major panic attack. But mostly, I laugh.
I have a good life. It’s usually pretty easy. I have very little to complain about.
And that’s why, when my husband is deployed for who-knows-how-many-months, I don’t call myself a “single mom”.
Before I had to do things without my partner, I used the term “single mom” to describe this scenario. Then I had a baby. And another baby. And then I had to actually do this circus by myself.
But not really.
I still have my husband, despite the fact that he’s a million miles away. His income remains steady. We have a beautiful home (that we don’t currently have to pay for). I don’t worry about paying our bills or finding childcare for the girls or if I’m going to have the time (or money) to buy groceries this week. I can email or call or Facetime my partner frequently and tell him what’s driving me crazy or what antics our toddler has come up with this week. I have undeniable support, even if he can’t be physically present.
What I do is a far cry from single parenting.
I don’t have to make “less bad” decisions. I get to be with my girls whenever I want (and I can pass them off pretty much whenever I want a break). I don’t have to choose between working overtime or going to an event with my children.
I honestly don’t think I appreciated how difficult single parenting must truly be until I had kids and then had to care for them without the physical presence of my partner. No, what I do is not single parenting. I won’t diminish what that is by saying that’s what I do.
I’m a solo parent. For a season.
To all those other solo parents out there: you are stronger than you feel, smarter than you think, and happier than you seem.
To all you single parents: we see you. We see your struggles and your frustrations and your triumphs. You inspire the solo parents of the world. We watch you and we see heroes.