If married life were oh so peachy, you wouldn't be getting a divorce or wouldn't have gotten a divorce, but still . . . there are things you miss about married life after it is all over between you and your ex.
The Family Invite
As a single mom, I don't get asked to go to as many things as I used to when I was with my ex-husband. Perhaps it's because the husbands of my mom friends want another man around on a group excursion. Perhaps it's because my friends or acquaintances may feel that I — as a single woman and mom — might feel left out. Either way, there are certain invites that don't happen as frequently now that I am a party of two (me and my kiddo) and not a party of three.
I miss the holiday traditions that we did as a family, whether it was an excursion to some fireworks nearby or a trip to the pumpkin patch. It's not that I can't do these things alone with my daughter, but that these trips have notoriously been family events, and so every time my daughter and I do something for the holidays that was previously a family affair, it is still somewhat hard for me even though it's been over a year since my ex and I separated.
It's a mere question of functionality: two hands means work gets done more quickly and efficiently. When you're a single parent, it's just you on board to do everything, whether it's care for your child or care for your home. Although I have gotten used to being a one-woman show, sometimes I wish I had an extra pair of hands to help me, especially if I'm having a bad day. There were many days back in M.L., otherwise known as married life, when it was just my daughter and I until my ex got home, but once he got home, I could ask for a helping hand or to take an adult "time-out." Even though I can still walk away for a few minutes, at the end of the day, the work falls on me.
I loved waking up each day knowing I was with the person I loved. I loved never having to negotiate the murky world of dating and the creepy underbelly of the online dating world. I loved knowing that there was someone there to watch a movie with after the two of us would be pooped from a day or evening with our kid.
It was awesome knowing I had my plus one and partner in crime for whatever the world invited me to. It is not so awesome wondering if everyone will see me as the "divorced lady" at whatever event I am attending. I'm not wearing a scarlet letter, but in my age group I sometimes feel as if I stand out like a big sore thumb amongst all the marrieds.
I loved that my life was basically set. That my daughter's world was set. That I didn't have to worry about bringing my girl around someone new of that level or importance — ever! This is quite possibly the biggest conundrum of all when you're a single mom. Dating means you might fall in love. Falling in love means intertwining your romantic world with your children, and for me, this is still completely new and unexplored territory. I have no idea what that will be like to fall in love again or introduce my daughter to someone new, but it scares me.
It was so nice to know that my emergency contact actually gave a hoot about me in an emergency and not now in that "oh my ex-wife is sick boo-hoo" kind of forced, obligatory way.
It was nice to know that if something happened, I could count on someone to be here for me and that I had someone to be there for as well.
Now, when something goes wrong, I think, "Who am I even supposed to call?" "Who will watch my kid?"
Typically my ex will watch our daughter, but just the phone call alone is nerve-racking for me. He's her father so it shouldn't be, but now that it is just me when an emergency happens and she is with me, it's a juggling act to make sure my daughter is cared for, as well as the emergency!
Getting used to life as a single mom as opposed to a married mom has had its pros and cons. The most important thing to remember is it takes time to adjust, so be easy on yourself and realize that you are a brave person for getting through this life change in one piece. It gets better, and even if it means taking it one hour at a time, eventually it becomes life as you know it and not so intimidating!