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Our Story Begins: Single Parent Or Not A Single Parent?

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Our Story Begins:
Single Parent Or Not A Single Parent?

A debate is apparently raging in the parent-o-sphere that is the morass of social media this week.

It’s the old comparison-shopping version of “who has things worse than I do?” I have never really understood that because I don’t particularly think that parenting should be a competitive sport. It’s certainly one of the most worthwhile things I’ll ever do in my life. It’s not something I sit down and look at my friends and think to say “You think you have it bad?!”

But then I got an article on my feed entitled 9 Reasons Divorced Parents ‘Count’ as Single Parents Too!” Saw it in the Huffington Post.

The gist of it all is that apparently a debate rages. Parents who are single and have their kids, at-home, full-time, are saying that parents who are divorced and get support from a spouse and/or have their kids with the ex each weekend or every other weekend are not really single parents. Those same parents make the statement that if they’re doing 80% of the parenting (or more, or less) then they are single parents.

Let me just intervene here and tell you my opinion on the whole matter.

Related: Our Story Begins: 5 Things You Wish You DIDN’T Know as a Single Parent

This debate is stupid.

Sorry, sorry, I know, that’s harsh, blunt, really mean-spirited. Let me put it another way.

This debate is just spectacularly stupid!

“Yeah, she has it tough, but try doing it completely alone,” says one commenter. Okay…so you’ll begrudge a kid who has two parents? Even if that one parent isn’t there all the time? What the heck is your issue there, folks?

“If you can’t call for backup, you’re a single parent,” is another.

There’s a lot of debate about emotional support, love, loss, work, not work, laundry, cooking . . . sound familiar to any of you?

Let me just put the matter to rest for all of you.

Parenting . . . is . . . work. It’s drudgery followed by moments of disgust, adding a dose of sheer panic with a mixture of pride and humility thrown in. All of those things equal a job that no person in their right mind, with the actual job description written out with the costs involved factored in as well would take without downing about half a gallon of whiskey first. It’s hard, it’s rough, it’s weird, and we all do it because . . .

None of us should look at it as work.

It’s just something we do. Parenting isn’t our kids’ fault, is it? You can’t blame that poor woman or man for being there by themselves with a little kid, whether they’re married, divorced, or what have you.

I haven’t got that emotional support, either. I don’t have a spouse to fall back on when I need a break. I don’t have someone I can call and say I want to scream when the kids have broken my favorite coffee cup or decapitated my expensive Gibson Hollowbody guitar. I do, on the other hand, take the moments that being a parent gives me with great pride and enjoyment. If parents didn’t do that we’d have died off as a species eons ago.

So stop the debate. It’s really not worth it. Are you single? Sure. Are you divorced? Maybe. Widow or widower?

Really . . . who cares? If you have two of you in the house, sometimes even that’s not enough. So let’s not start comparing war wounds. That just makes it work.

What about you? Do you think you have to have 100% custody to be a single parent?

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