Cara is hilarious. Period. She is a former MBA wife I met on Twitter. She recently started her own blog and I can't get enough of her fresh and unfiltered writing so I invited her to guest post.
This post was inspired and partly titled by my dear friend, and sometimes sanity coach, Mia Austin. She is the originator of the Recovering Single Mom Brand, and I am ever indebted to her for making me aware of this very serious problem, and for inspiring me to believe help is available.
I have four-year olds. Up until they were 3 years and 8 months old, I was a single mom. My husband and I accidentally conceived our fraternal twins, and for the most part, both didn’t want to rush into a relationship based ONLY upon the fact that we had children. We had both seen our fair share of relationships in our families and friend circles die for that very reason, and because we both loved our children too much to disappoint them, we both decided it was best to parent together but hold off on marriage until we both were certain we were ready. Even if that meant we didn’t end up married to one another. Luckily, we got it together, did marry one another, and I am currently 5 months recovering from being a Single Mom.
Admittedly, I have relapses probably once a month. I override their father with at least one form of discipline every 30 days or so. I excuse them from something he had them do, and blatantly undermine his authority, because I didn’t feel what he did was best, and probably didn’t understand why it was even a good idea to do it in the first place. Every time I send him to the store I have a “GEEZ I should have just gone MYSELF!” moment. And what I most suffer from is the tendency to FLIP OUT monumentally when anyone praises his effort as a father. But right now, I am telling you I will overcome…
Recently I was upset because my husband reprimanded our son for spilling a drink and not telling us. Wait…why? Well, because my son spilled a drink my husband left out on the brand new dining room table all night. Doesn’t he notice me diligently cleaning up every single solitary dish we own nightly? Doesn’t he see me make the effort to rid our space of cups of anything because no matter how cute that little pie faced girl from Signs was, leaving cups of liquid around preschoolers is begging for disaster? NO ONE WANTS TO SWING AWAY, M. NIGHT SHAMALYAN; WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH PAPER TOWELS FOR THAT. Instead of being happy that my husband was correcting a poor behavior we were having trouble with, I was mad that the guy couldn’t put a cup away. Don’t question my priorities though, you would be mad too. Maybe.
I like doing things MY WAY. Usher Raymond my way. What I say goes…and I’m in control. *busts into a body flex* I wouldn’t say I was controlling, but I know my husband would. In fact, when I was having trouble writing this, he laughed at me about how the only time I am not controlling is when it’s in direct comparison to other people…like Kim Jong IL, and Fidel Castro.
But, let’s be honest, being a mom is about having some sort of control. The likelihood that you can control your children and their needs is slim, so you should have a handle on at least, oh; I don’t know…EVERYTHING ELSE. And I did. I fed, bathed, clothed, and cared for my household my way. I had to. No one else was there to do so, because of circumstances that I could have sat around crying about, but I didn’t. I got a grip and starting to maintain a safe and happy home for my twins. We created a life that worked for us, and I was in charge of it. Fast forward to the present though, and relinquishing that control gets a bit tough.
The funny thing is, most of the stories I could complain about here, as a recovering single mom, could very well be called “Things Wives Complain About”. The only difference is the back story. I was often told as a single mother, during tough times, that having a husband wasn’t some magic band-aid that fixed all my single mom problems. In a lot of situations a man might just have added to the chaos, or frustration because of the added opinion, stress, or just the addition of another human to the mix. But you don’t really listen to that when you’re alone and feeling struggly (yes, struggly. Don’t judge my grammar).
When you’re a single mom, you think of a husband as a magical, mythical being riding in on a noble steed in the sunset. Like Fabio, or Harry Potter. You think to yourself “…Goodness, self. If I only had a husband I wouldn’t have (insert problem here).” That just isn’t true. One of my favorite posts on this very blog is about NOT praising husbands for rudimentary things that they should do just because they are husbands and fathers. The big difference is women who are married have always had the extra set of hands, opinions and chaos. I learned how to move without all that weight, and now that I’ve gained it, and am having trouble adjusting my wardrobe.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, my husband is a great dad. He always has done absolutely the BEST he knew to do in every situation concerning our children. We lived 6 hours away from one another for the bulk of the time I was raising them, so obviously our relationship could have been poor and totally strained. We had our ups and downs, but really, on the whole worked well together as parents. That doesn’t mean everything was perfect, but “deadbeat dad” was NEVER a thought with the guy.
The problem is we live in a society that praises men but expects from women. When I was raising my children ALONE no one was giving me the raised glass, and congratulating me for being their mom. Now that we live together though, he gets props for being a dad ALL THE TIME. Even though it gets irritating, I have to constantly remind myself hey, it could be worse. He could be getting no props and you could still be parenting alone.
And that my friends, is why I am still a RECOVERING Single Mom. The spirit of the head honcho is still burning deep within me. When I am totally cured, I am definitely going to go ahead and write a 12 step program. And NO ONE better EVER try to improvise or add steps….just kidding.
Cara is a 28 year old Recovering Single Mom living in Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and ridiculously adorable 4 year old twins. New to the blogging world Cara is a SAHM that can usually be found reading books, blowing bubbles, or singing along to the Fresh Beat Band in her kitchen.