The Dark Cloud of Being a Single Parent

We know some of the major issues facing single parents; finances, custody issues and problems with the ex. But there are also many day-to-day pet peeves that no one but other single parents can really understand.  They are mostly little things in the grand scheme of life but they are common irritants most single parents experience.

Married people saying they “are just like a single parent” because their spouse works a lot, their spouse travels for business, their spouse isn’t very helpful, the list goes on. No, it’s NOT like being a single parent. If you have a spouse you have some level of support single parents don’t have.

There is no one to dash out and get something.

No milk for tomorrow’s breakfast? Load up all the kids and what would be a simple trip for one becomes a complicated, time consuming expedition. Planning is so much more essential when there is no one to go get that forgotten loaf of bread or last minute supplies for a school project.

Speaking of school projects-science fairs, invention conventions, famous person dress up days; these are the things I dreaded as a single parent. As if I didn’t have enough to do.

When you’re sick you have to keep going.

Without a backup parent, there is no sick day and to return to #2, no one to even go pick up some medicine!

Being left out of social activities.

Everyone else is coupled and you’re always the third wheel. Maybe I’m paranoid, but it seems like an extra man is viewed as an asset but an extra woman is seen as a threat to the social equilibrium.

Assumptions that “single parent” is a euphemism for party girl, hot to trot divorce’, wild thing.

Oh, if they only knew the reality!

Assumptions that children of single parents are going to be social misfits and failures because their parents are divorced.

The myth that children of “broken homes” (a term that is another pet peeve) are doomed.


It’s normal for all parents of young children to be exhausted but magnify that ten times when you’re the ONLY parent!

No one to share the worries and stresses.

It’s lonely to lie there worrying about life all by yourself. Is my kid’s behavior normal, how am I going to pay the electric bill, does the car need a new alternator; the list goes on and tends to get longer in the middle of the night.

No one to share your child’s milestones and accomplishments.

The sadness of this one caught me off guard but it was hard not to have anyone else that was as excited about my kids every award and achievement. I missed having someone else thinking my kid was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

These aren’t major issues but the little things that “get under your skin” as a single parent. If you’re a single parent, you probably have your own list of petty issues that bother you. More than anything, I wanted someone to just once acknowledge that my job was tougher because I was doing it alone. In retrospect I realize unless you’ve been there you probably just can’t relate.

Along with the bad, there is usually some good, so next week I will bring the other side of the story. As optimistic people know, if you look hard enough there is a silver lining to almost every dark cloud. Sometimes we just have to wait a little longer for the clouds to pass.

Categories: Single Stepping