‘Married single moms’?

First Lady Michelle Obama’s referred to herself as a “busy single mother” during an interview last week. She quickly corrected herself, saying she only feels like a single mom sometimes, but her slip of the tongue sparked a bit of an outcry from actual single moms who don’t have a husband — let alone an entire staff of White House helpers — to ease their burden.

I agree that married women can’t truly identify with the struggles of a single mother who has to be mother and sole breadwinner for her kids, but I think there is a growing group of so-called “single married moms” out there who are raising their children alone. Whether their husbands are in the military, travel often or are just working long hours, these women are basically doing everything in the home.

I married a man who is home every night. He doesn’t work late hours at the office and doesn’t travel for his job. I am insanely lucky and need to remind myself of that more often. I am also a pretty needy mom. I need breaks. I need to tag out to my husband at the end of the day. I need to not be the only one on deck all the time.

So I am in awe of my friends whose husbands are absent most of the time. These friends are thrilled when their husbands come home before midnight or if dad gets to see his children before bedtime.

I honestly don’t know how these women do it, just as I can’t comprehend being a single mom with no one to rely on but myself. My biggest question is how do these “single married moms” maintain a relationship with their spouse and ensure dad has a good relationship with his children? How do they go all day, every day without a break?

Are any of you in this situation? How do you keep the family running strong when your husband is gone?

11 comments

  1. Katerina Marcelin

    I am a single married mother. i work full time and so does my husband. he works well into the night. i see him sometimes when he gets home at 2:30 in the morning but most of the time it is when i wake up at 7 in the morning to get ready for work. we have 3 children. they spend the morning with him and the evening with me. on the weekends me and my husband get just sunday together and we end up doing something with our children together and then after they go to bed it is time for me and him to do something together.that is on the weekends that he does not also work for the military. we have a few bumps in the road but we have a good relationship with our children and with each other. i love my husband and my children. they are a blessing to me in my life.

  2. Jeff

    Erin,

    You really should say “single parents” not just single Moms. I am a single father of 6 and have raised them by myself for the past 7 years after a divorce, and pretty much while married as well. Single Fathers and single Mothers have a tough job, but one I wouldn’t trade for any amount of money.

  3. Carla Anne

    As a married mom whose husband worked away from home long hours and days and weeks away… I often felt like a single mom. But I wasn’t single… so I started calling myself a married solo mom. This to me is a better term for women in my position: married but doing the lion’s share of everything alone, especially parenting. There are unique struggles to each person’s situation. Married people have unique struggles that singles don’t have. Singles have struggles that married don’t. And married solo parents have a completely separate set. We don’t fit well into any category. I’d love for the author of this very good article to read my recent book “Married Mom, Solo Parent” and let me know her thoughts.

    Thanks for a good post!

    • Renee' Dresser

      I am reading your book Carla Anne! I love it! Another mom and I have started a life group through our church for married solo moms and we are going through your book together! Our group is open to any married solo mom in our area though, not just those who attend our church. Thank you for writing the book and for your encouraging words and great advice! I recommend your book to every married solo mom I meet and I have shared about it multiple times with my friends on Facebook. God bless you!

  4. Danny Chipman

    With my husband working full time, working on a graduate degree during the evening hours, being a Scout leader on the side, and having a remarkable knack for pretending he doesn’t hear the baby crying or the kids demanding this or that when he is home, I, too, sometimes feel like a “single married mom”. Then I remember that at least he brings home a paycheck. I could have it a lot worse.

    I just tell myself it’s good practice in case I ever -am- a single mom.

  5. Lindsay

    My husband is home on weekends. I seriously don’t get my friends who fall apart when their husbands are gone for a couple of days or a weekend. Our neighborhood got evacuated during a scout camping weekend, and it was amazing how many women could not function because their husbands weren’t there. I count myself fortunate that I can handle things on my own. My husband has had several employees who had to quit because their wives couldn’t handle the travel. Good thing these women didn’t marry soldiers. My SIL is with her husband every six months if she’s lucky.

  6. Debbie

    Do you guys really think this is a new thing!? Every generation has this–it is called being a mom. I think the thing that makes young mom’s see this as something new to deal with is that for the last couple generations fathers have been way more involved in day to day life. Don’t get me wrong, i think this is great and so glad for my husband and sons to have that kind of opportunities with their kids.. But really, for my parents generation and earlier, this was normal life and they just dealt with it and didn’t over analyze everything.

  7. Honoree Corder

    With all due respect, if you are married, you are far from a single mom. You may have some of the same feelings, but you do still have a partner. Single moms are women who do it all on their own.

  8. My 2 cents

    While I see both sides, I have to slightly disagree… I am married, but have been living alone with our daughter for over a year now while my husband is away at school in another country (he will join us in a few months).
    He barely makes a paycheck for himself, so we (my daughter and I) are depending on welfare. I barely get any support (emotional, financial, parenting, etc.) from my husband. Even though we almost talk daily, it is nothing like having him here at home helping out.
    I pretty much make all decisions by myself, take care of our daughter by myself, paint the house, fix the car, etc. by myself, along with looking for work to be able to stand on our own feet.
    So, in my situation I have to say that I am a married single mom because I AM doing it all on my own.

  9. SLC gal

    How do you keep up relationships, and your family strong? You have to do it on purpose. When my husband comes home, I get excited, and make it a big deal, even if I don’t feel it, because then our 3 year old gets excited that daddy is home for the 10-15 minutes he has before he has to be at the church for his various bishopric duties.
    I stay up later so we have time to talk before we go to bed.
    Our son’s bedtime routine includes daddy whenever possible.
    We (try to) make the nights he’s home, and the Saturdays he has off count.
    The biggest priority for me as a “solo mom” is to make sure our son gets as much “daddy time” as possible.

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