Things a married person should never say to a single working parent I’m busy, I never get a rest, I have so much to do. Even if you don’t see it on their face, the single working parent is eye rolling and internally saying, “you do not have a clue.”
As a divorce coach I practically only speak to single working parents. Their lives are busy 24/7 365 days a year. There literally is no down time for most of us. Imagine being solely responsible 24/7 infinity days for grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning up, house cleaning, dusting, bathroom cleaning, vacuuming, home repairs, laundry, bills, banking, taxes, health, doctors appointments, dentist, eye doctor, insurance, phone service, tv service, education, homework, shopping, gift giving, party throwing, cats, dog care, car maintenance and gas, project maker, seamstress, therapist, nurse, taxi service, etc. Imagine, this endless cycle of chores, work, and responsibility has no end and no break. There is literally always something to clean, cook, launder or attend to for each kid, times how many kids you have. Then throw in a 40 hour, maybe 60 hour work week, when people say they haven’t had time since their divorce for anything, that isn’t an exaggeration, it’s the truth. Many single parents work multiple jobs trying to provide for their children, they also often are self-employed as it is, in some cases, their only option for employment with multiple small children.
A single working parent is insanely busy. Children, household and paid work up to 20 hours a day, 7 days a week. Sound extreme? It’s actually the normal for many of us. I get up for my children up for school at 6am. I am always still working at 11pm, sometimes later. I do this on weekends also, and have done so for the last 7 years. It doesn’t make me or working single parents saints, but it does make us the busiest demographic out there. The stress alone of being a single working parent, can be overwhelming, to have other people with no children and just a job, bemoan their busy life, is frustrating at best. Busy is a luxury for most married people, as in they do it because they want to, for a single working parent it is a hand life dealt them, and they are trying to survive the 18 plus years of.
Divorce is the number one cause of murder and suicide in the US. This is, in part, due to the sheer amount of stress involved even attempting to go from a two parent family (pretty easy when all work is split by two) to a one parent one (all work doubles). As a single working parent you are physically exhausted, you never stop. You are mentally exhausted from the weight of all the responsibility, bills, etc. and emotionally exhausted from your divorce and trying to figure out how you are going to provide for your children. If you are struggling with being a single parent, there is help. There are a lot of awesome resources online. Try connecting with other single working parents and switch off for some alone or self-care time. Try to take a day or two off laundry and cooking, let the kids eat leftovers, and the laundry will still be there in a few days. Maybe carve out one evening a week for a quiet movie of escapism with your kids.
The positive thing about being a single parent is that, you alone get to reap the rewards of producing some amazing children. You get to experience every single thing with them, good bad and otherwise. They may not comprehend or appreciate it so much as young children, but one day they will remember the sacrifices you made, the hours you worked, the homes we created for them, and maybe then, we will finally get to be as busy as a non-single working parent falsely believes they are.
Tiffany Ann Beverlin