It is indeed possible to feel like a married single mom. Only someone with the experience of it would understand. Parenting alone when married will make you feel like a married but single mom.
There are moms who have to parent alone by necessity because their husbands have to work away from home for extended periods of time, for example. Then there are moms who parent alone because even though the fathers of their children are physically present at home, it is simply not possible to rely on them for various reasons.
Whichever category you fall into, know that there are things you can try to make your difficult journey that little bit easier.
First, you might be unsure that you have a right to think of yourself as a single married mom. Let us look at a few of the signs that you are parenting alone in a marriage.
How you know you are a married single mom
- Majority or all of the housework falls to you. Whether it is allocated chores or an unspoken routine around the house, you know you are doing most or all of it.
- You no longer even hold hope of your husband helping you in any way. You do not even think of your husband when you need help.
- You hardly ever see him. He is never around. When he is home, he is not in the same room as you or trying to spend quality time with the family.
- He does help but only occasionally or inconsistently. You know he might help but you cannot be sure on which occasions he will help. Just when you start to rely on him with certain tasks, he fails you.
- It feels like your husband is one of your children. You pick up after him as much as you do your child(ren).
- In addition to being in charge of all housework, you are also the main breadwinner. You are doing everything around the house but you also find that you are doing everything outside the house. You bring in most, if not all, of the household income.
- You do not bother to ask him to help you anymore. You have given up on him. You might consider asking him for help sometimes. Yet, you are forced to remind yourself that he is unreliable and/or unwilling.
- You are not comfortable leaving him with the children. After all, you see him as one of the kids. How could you possibly be comfortable leaving him in charge of the other kids?
If you are experiencing any combination of the above, it is likely that you feel like a single married mom.
It is by no means an easy situation. You might not think that there is much you can do to make your lifestyle easier to handle when you feel so alone.
Your plan may be to abandon your marriage or relationship altogether. You may also intend to try to work things out with counselling, for example. In the interim, and while you wait to either leave or work things out, try the following. These suggestions will help you to take better control of the situation.
How to be a successful married single mom
- Do not compare yourself to others. This will depress you every time. There will always be another parent who seems to have it easier than you. Who has all the help that you do not. Who appears to have the loving and considerate husband that you do not. You do not know what other people are struggling with. While they seem to have things you want, they may not have many of the things that you do have.
- Do not compare your children to other children. Again, there always be another family with children who seem to be doing better at one thing or the other than your kids are doing. Appearances can be deceiving. Also, all children are different and develop at varying paces. Do not put pressure on yourself or your children by comparing them to their peers. You are doing the best you can as a mom and your kids are doing the best they can as individuals.
- Let go of your idealism. Yes, it would be ideal if your husband would pitch in more. It would be ideal if he would preempt your needs and step in before you need to ask him. It is just not happening though. Stressing about it will not help your mental well-being. Until you can do something to change your situation, let go of your ideas about how perfect things could be and focus on how to make the best of your situation.
- Shut out the outside voices. When you are trying to cope with an already difficult situation, it can be even more difficult to have a lot of opinions and criticism coming in from well-meaning friends and family. That is because you need to filter through it all to pick out those pieces of advice that are most useful for you. When you are doing everything for yourself, you will not have time to do that filtering. It is best to have one or two people in your life whom you go to to vent and for advice.
- Put quality time with your kids before everything. As a married but single mom, take the opportunity to focus on your children. Enjoy your time with them. Yes, it will be exhausting being their sole carer all day everyday. You can still look for moments to be grateful and memories to make with them each day.
- Be careful to not turn your children against your husband. While you take advantage of all the time with your kids to really get to know them and have fun with them, be cautious of turning them against your husband. Your issues with him are exactly that: your issues with him.
- Create your own village. As much as you might be used to doing everything yourself as a single married mom, you should never be afraid to ask for help from others. Identify a number of people whom, in a desperate situation, you could go to for help with your children or with something in your home. Whether it is babysitting, being able to have adult conversation or fixing a little plumbing issue at home, having a number of people that you can rely on for different things makes you feel less alone.