I’ve recently discussed being single with a couple of married moms, one thinking about getting divorced, and the other, getting divorced because her husband wants it, but she doesn’t.
It got me to thinking about how I looked at things so differently when we were still living with Toyin. And now, being single, there have been times, I admittedly, have inwardly rolled my eyes when listening to married moms talk about their main complaints. Not having enough “me” time. Trouble keeping the house clean. Not enough money to spend on luxuries like expensive shoes. Wishing they could take fancy trips.
My biggest wish right now is a house with a backyard.
But on those occasions, I lectured myself about how life and hardships are all subjective. It all depends on perspective.
When I had a house with a yard and my biggest worry was which playgroup to attend and when I was going to grocery shop, I still had things to complain about.
Oh, if only I could just be happy with what I have, right at this moment!
I know that on the outside, my life probably looks really great to some people.
There was that one time a hooker in my apartment complex told me she thought my apartment was the model because she could see all my furniture through the window when she trolling walking by.
Yes, I admit, it was a proud moment. I mean hey, ya gotta take your props when they’re given, right?
Honestly, she must have been smoking crack.
Other moms I know have talked up the idea of being single, as if it would make their lives easier. One mom told me that she’s thought about leaving her husband because she was tired of the disagreements over child rearing.
“I could just make all the decisions myself,” she dreamed.
Not really, I thought. While I do make plenty of decisions on my own, I still have to consult Toyin on lots of issues. And on top that, he makes plenty of decisions on his own too. I bet that one would make plenty of married moms dreams of single-hood come screeching to a halt. What? He can’t make decisions about the child without consulting me!
Don’t get your panties in a wad ladies, you know you’re thinking it.
Some sahms bemoan the fact that I get more “time off” than they do (a fact I don’t disagree with).
But when I’m without child, I am usually doing all the things I can’t get done when she’s around, like working. And on top of it, I miss her like crazy. The house just doesn’t feel the same when she’s gone.
One mom said she thought it would be better for her child because her kid would spend more time one-on-one with the dad, who apparently did nothing much with his child except spend a few moments hanging out before bed.
To this notion, I’d say, sure, that’s one aspect of single motherhood that might be beneficial all around. Child gets more quality/quantity time with dad. Dad gets to be more of a parent than he might if he was married.
I can easily say that I trust Toyin implicitly with day-to-day routines like bathing, tooth brushing, bedtime, dinner, and even clothes-buying, than many married moms entrust to their husbands.
But this argument assumes that you have an ex who wishes to be a good dad. I’ve known divorced moms who complained that their exes used the divorce as a reason to be a crappy dad, or blamed the mom for their lack of intimacy with their children.
Best case scenario, having a dad who does it all and steps up to ensure he is spending quality time with his kid, it doesn’t compare to having two parents at home. And it doesn’t wash out the scenario of a young child being frustrated about not wanting to be shuttled back and forth between two homes; two sleeping arrangements; two lifestyles.
We’re in that right now, where Annika doesn’t want to spend the night at Toyin’s. She’s used varying reasons, but I honestly believe that it’s the inconsistency in routines and that she simply wants to be at one home every day.
No matter what a great dad Toyin is, it still doesn’t take away the guilt I feel when I leave her crying and begging me not to leave because she wants to go home with me.
On the flip side, there are plenty of things that totally rock about being single.
I don’t have to justify my expenses to another person.
I don’t have to make time for anyone but myself and Annika.
I can let her stay up late without involving any discussion except for the voices in my head that scream, “Are you fucking nuts?!” To render these voices silent, I just turn up Annika’s cartoon louder and pour a glass of wine.
And that is something I don’t have to justify to anyone else either.