Are You a Sometimes Single Mom?

Love & Sex 26

Mominatrix and Mommy MeleeI realize that there will always be someone who will take issue with my use of "single parent" in reference to a married person.

Technically speaking, it is a misnomer. And I get it. I'm not single because I'm married.

In fact, I know several spouses of self-identified sometimes single moms who don't like it when they refer to themselves as such.

But it's also a figure of speech -- an expression, if you will -- to represent a unique, but surprisingly common, lifestyle.

I would never ever liken myself to an actual single parent, though I've heard from several single parents that their particular situations are actually easier than mine. But overall, their challenges seem quite vast and completely different to what many of us face as a sometimes single parent.

So let's get right down to it. What exactly is a "sometimes single mom"?

Well, in basic terms, a sometimes single mom is a partnered or married person who is the sole parent to her children for some, part, or almost all the time.

Most people think of military spouses, and it's true -- they are the quintessential sometimes single parents.

But there are a plethora of other moms, like those whose spouses take frequent non-military-related business trips, or who work extremely long hours, or who are "present" only in body and salary and not as an active participant in the parenting relationship, who also parent alone for much of their existence -- sometimes for a few days out of a month, sometimes for almost the entire month.

Either way, it's challenging, and it presents situations, both parental and relational, that many other parents have not experienced and can't necessarily relate to.

The Redneck Mommy
Photo by Tanis Miller
Take Tanis Miller (left), author of The Redneck Mommy, and a self-identified sometimes single mom, says:

When I'm not writing my blog, The Redneck Mommy, I'm wrangling two teens and an extremely disabled child whose wheelchair routinely gets flat tires. Since my husband works out of town 26 days of the month, 10 months a year, as an oil field consultant up in Alberta's Oilsands, you'll often find me parenting our feral children solo style while cussing at a lawn tractor that refuses to start.

Maria M (pictured above to right of author) of Mommy Melee has a different situation:

My husband works in the tourism industry. For the past three years, he's traveled on 4 to 10 day trips about once a month. I grew up with my dad leaving for 3- to 4-month stretches each year, so my husband's trips don't seem so bad in comparison. But after a few days, the morning and evening routines really wear on me. I'm accustomed to parenting as a couple.

Clumber Kim
Photo By Cooper Monroe
And here's yet another story, from mom of two and author of ClumberKim, Kim D. (pictured right):

I have a spouse who's employed as a Sr. Software engineer for Apple. He travels anywhere from 7 to 10 times a year, sometimes more, for 7 to 10 days (or longer) at a time. And as a full-time working parent myself with two kids in two different schools, the challenges are enormous.

And as for me, I'm the wife of a commercial pilot and National Guardsman who travels about half the month if not more, but is currently working at an Air Force Base during the week, returning home one to two times a week for a quick overnight stay.

As you can see, we all have very different situations, but with one common thread -- we're parents who are sometimes single. And while it can definitely be pretty awesome, it can also be pretty darn hard. And we can use all the help and support we can get.

So, if you're a sometimes single mom, tell us about your situation!



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catfur66 catfur66

I am married to a tax accountant, so I am a "single" mom from mid January to April 15.  This has unusual challenges since I get used to counting on him the other 9 months of the year and then suddenly he is not there!  Lucky for me, my oldest will be old enough to drive this next tax season so that will help a lot.  I rely a lot on my friends.  We try to send as many kids per car as we can to events and take turns so we don't overwhelm someone with too many kids to keep track of.  I also live in a small rural community, so walking is an option to practices, school, library and church activities.

Mama2... Mama2Claire09

My hubby works 12 hour shifts, and is usually gone in the morning before our daughter wakes up, and gets home after she goes to bed. When he isn't working, he spends his time running errands or doing chores around the house/yard....99% of the time I am taking care of our daughter by myself. The other 1% of the time when he actually spends time with her, its usually because I tell him he HAS to so I can shower/do things around the house. Most of the time he acts like he happens to have a roommate who has a baby, rather than a wife and a daughter...I definitely think of myself as a (not technically) single mom.

nonmember avatar Carla

Yes... I completely understand this situation.  For many years my husband was/is a traveling executive.  Sometimes home - but when he is he's working long hours.  Often gone.  This is a real burden for me... to reach out to other Married Single Moms... I'd love it if you could check out my blog called 'Married Single Moms'.  Being one myself I find it a safe place to share, chat and just know that I'm not alone in this.

My blogsite:  You're all welcome anytime!

nonmember avatar Kara DeFrias

My husband will be a Tax Widow when we have kids...I work for one of the major tax software company, and January - April is nuts for us.

nonmember avatar Alli Campbell

I too am a sometimes parent. It started when we moved back to NC, and my husband travelled 2 weeks out of the month. When he couldn't get a job that didn't travel as much, we decided he should go back to school and get his graduate degree in Accounting. He goes to school and works part time as a grad assistant. He can't study at home, so he spends an incredible amount of time at the library at school. When he's here, he is sleeping so that he can read through the boring accounting information.

I sometimes get frustrated about being the only one "responsible" around here. Glad to know there are others who understand.

Thanks! :-)

nonmember avatar Brooke

I'm definitely a "Sometimes Single Parent".  My husband works in Texas, while our daughter and I live in Michigan.  He comes  home once a month for a long weekend.  We have another baby due in August.  We often get asked, "what are your plans for when the baby comes and he's still out of state?".  I rather chuckle at this question, as we will continue to plug along as we have grown used to doing - with him working where he has work and with me in the role of sometimes single parent.  It's not easy, but it's what we are doing to get by.

nonmember avatar SKL

Yes, I recall getting irritated when my SIL who is a SAHM started whining that she's basically a single parent.  Hello?  You have a husband who works and pays all the bills so you don't have to.  And he has "the talks" with the kids when they need a jolt or just a "not mom" perspective.  He lends you an ear and a shoulder when life gets frustrating.  And he gets handed your "honey-do" list when he is home (dare he hand you a similar list?) and he even does a few things not on the list.

Believe me, that is NOT what it's like to be a single parent - not even sometimes.

But yeah, I can relate to some of those times.  When it's 10pm and pouring and your babies' milk is running out.  When you're overworked and tired and can't take one more minute of aggravation, and then your kid decides to puke all night long.  Sometimes it really sucks, but there is a lot of freedom too, which is really kinda nice.

nonmember avatar Therese

My husband is a commercial airline pilot and is gone an average of 15 days a month (in various spurts of 2 - 5 days).  When we first started dating, he had a great schedule where he worked Monday - Thursday and was home on weekends and holidays.  I find the unpredictability of his schedule the hardest now.  I can't get into any sort of regular routine or schedule...  Oh, we also happen to live (by his choosing) in a town near my family but NO where near any city that his airline services.  This means that I get all of the burdens of him being gone and don't get to take advantage of the awesome airline benefits... Oh well, the other night when my baby was screaming with an ear infection and I was hanging over the toilet with a stomach virus it was nice to call my brother in the middle of the night to come help.  I guess my husband knew what he was doing in that situation as I wasn't left stranded and alone while he was flying!

nonmember avatar sharon

My husband works in sales/marketing and has traveled regularly for nearly 10 years.  While we were dating and before we had our son I loved his travel and looked forward to it, he is usually gone, M-Th, one to three times a month.  Now, I dread when the email appointment comes thorugh saying he'll be gone.  I love my child but I also love my sanity and adult conversations and an extra pair of hands so I can, oh I don't know shower or pee without a toddler under foot, sit down for a meal that lasts more than 10 minutes and clean up in peace.   We live in WA state while both or families are in CA so I usually don't have help though my mom bless her heart will come for any trip longer than four nights.

I think the term single parenting can be used very loosely.  Whenever the hubs is gone I consider myself a single parent, after all there is only one of us around to handle all the parenting and household duties.  I salute all moms and/or dads who do it on their own.  it's really rough and in some respect i think it's even harder for those of us who are sometimes single parents because we aren't as accustomed to it.

nonmember avatar carrien

By this definition I would be a sometimes single parent too. My husband is home every night, after the kids are in bed. He leaves every morning, before they wake up. They see him almost exclusively on weekends, but he sometimes works those too. I do everything, most of the time. I cook, clean, wipe noses fix owies, discipline, pay bills, deal with doctors, home school my kids, and listen to the constant refrain of, "When will daddy be home."

And that's when he's not travelling out of the country.

I'm not single in that I do have a spouse to talk to and be with for 2-3 hours every night before we both fall into bed exhausted, but when it comes to the kids and the house, I do almost all of it. All the time. Even on the rare occasion when he is home, I still do what I always do. In a way it's easier to deal with, not expecting to have any help, than to be disappointed when that help isn't there and I was counting on it.

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