Not a Single Parent

I am not a single parent.

My mum was a single parent…I am not.

I am saying this because more and more I am hearing people say and/or intimate that they are now single parents since their divorce/separation/conscious uncoupling and I find it annoying because usually they are completely wrong.

My relationship with my children’s mum ended more than four years ago. We share joint custody. I have the kids one week, she has them another, and this arrangement has worked very well to do the best we can to not make a bad situation worse for the kids. It also works because we are in a small community.

So every other week I do not have kids and the following week I am the sole parent in the house…this does not make me a single parent. I am in regular communication with my children’s mum on weeks when I have them. We text and talk about gymnastics arrangements, school work, discipline, and the general well-being of the offspring. I am VERY thankful for this and for her role as my children’s mother.

I am not a single parent. There is someone else out there sharing the load.

Let me introduce you to a single parent.

My mum was divorced from my father when I was five. Prior to that he was rarely around, and generally he was a cheating, drunken, non-working, drug using and violently abusive person.

After the divorce he was just gone.

Oh we knew where he was…he never left the community, he just never came around anymore. He also never paid child support or alimony. He was invisible. He was not a father. He was not a parent.

My mum raised myself and three sisters essentially alone. On welfare. In provincial housing. With no parenting assistance and with all kinds of issues and struggles she was never helped with. She never drowned her sorrows in alcohol or drugs despite being surrounded by such abuse. She often went without so that we would not have to. She is my biggest hero.

That is a single parent.

I am not a single parent. I happen to be a parent who is single (like some people have friends who are girls/boys but are not girl/boyfriends…the distinction is small but important). Anyone in my circumstance is not a single parent.

The equation is quite simple: if there is another parent interacting with and helping to raise your kids…no matter where they are…you are not a single parent. Stop calling yourself one…it belittles the experiences of others who have been or are truly alone in the daunting task of rearing up human beings.

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