Though I’m blessed with a stable marriage, my husband travels quite a bit leaving me as an occasional single parent. This can be hard work since all duties fall on my shoulders and there is no relief. There is no one to share the cute or amusing parenting moments with either. That in itself can be a bit depressing and I really feel for those real single parents who battle those issues on a long-term basis.
However, as a short-term situation, I think it can be beneficial in some ways. It forces me to step outside my gender roles and feel self-reliant. Since having kids and being married, my husband and I, like many couples, share and divide household tasks. We naturally take on certain jobs and it generally helps life move smoothly. However, you get out of practice doing the things handled by your spouse and sometimes feel too dependent. Who wants to step outside the box, though, and take on more work for the mere purpose of proving to yourself that you can. I certainly have enough on my plate so why not let my spouse handle the things that come more easily to him?
Well, being forced to be a single mom for a week or so necessitates that I do those things. It’s annoying at first, taking out the trash, doing the finances, sorting out computer problems for myself and the kids, etc. They may not be daunting individual tasks but when you’re tired from your already full day, doing things that you’re no longer used to can take a little extra effort. However, when it’s all done and I get a chance to reflect, I feel good about myself. I feel independent and accomplished knowing that I can handle my life and my kids. Of course I still miss my husband and want the kids to have their dad around but I want it because of the companionship, love and how we help each other grow. I don’t feel a sense of co-dependency and that gives me a sense of pride. I call it a superwoman moment!
I know that single parenting on a full-time basis is a lot more challenging. At least I know eventually there will be help and someone to share my joy. But this short-term experience does help me embrace a new challenge and grow a tiny bit each time. Isn’t that what life is all about?