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Married Moms: Do You Feel Single?

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"I feel like I'm a single mom, although I'm married," a mother recently e-mailed us.

Single Mom Seeking: She is not the first married mom to come to us to confess that she, too, feels like a single mom (FLASM). Can you relate to this dilemma?

husband and wife in disagreement feeling distant

"My husband and I both work full-time jobs and then he decided after our first child was born that he wanted to start a business," she explains about her husband of 12 years. "Now I am raising two kids pretty much by myself. I still work full-time, and he is working full-time -- and part-time -- in his workshop. I feel like I have no control over my life or kids."

Although her husband is at home every night, she says that he's not really there mentally or emotionally. "He never plays with the kids -- he only jumps in to discipline. I feel like my kids think, 'Daddy is always upset with me' because when he is in the house, they fight for his attention and he fights them for mine."

"I'd like to think we can work this out, but I don't know if I have the energy anymore. I just want to only have to worry about myself and the kids. I have already detached myself from him emotionally ... do you have any suggestions?"

Yes, we do! Here's what Dr. Leah Klungness, a.k.a. The Sanity Fairy, says:

It's tempting to look at this married mom's situation and conclude that her circumstances may be relatively enviable. At least she gets financial support. Their marriage is simply vacant -- rather than abusive or filled with anger and fighting. And she's got somebody to back her up when the kids get rowdy, right?

But I don't agree.

This married mom feels no control over her life -- and that's scary. Feeling detached emotionally is a painful feeling, especially when you're ostensibly sharing your life "till death do us part."

And how about love? It appears to be missing from her relationship, which is rather tragic and telling, don't you think?

We're curious: How do you feel about this married mom's situation?

We also can't help but wonder: Who might shoulder the greater burden here? Would it be a single mom -- or the married mom who copes without the emotional support of her spouse?



next: Just a Guy, Oscar, Living with Felix
19 comments so far | Post a comment now
bizemom September 26, 2009, 9:03 AM

I can completely relate. My husband goes to work at 4 or 5 in the morning before the kids wake up and comes home sometimes not until 8pm after they have gone to bed. He’s a business owner and is always stressed. Its sad that its gotten to the point that when he actually is around my 4 year old asks “arent you going to work?”

MrsDesperate September 26, 2009, 12:03 PM

That’s sad. I’d be interested in what advice you can give this Mum for fixing her situation. And though life as a single Mum is tough, I think it’s harder for a ‘married’ single, as she has to also put so much energy into maintaining a relationship as well as doing the bulk of the childcare. At least single Mums aren’t in a bad relationship (they are out of it) and they get ‘me’ time when their children is with their Ex. This poor Mum never gets a break. I feel for her.

teri stoddard September 26, 2009, 12:47 PM

It’s all about selfishness with so many women. Even the “professional” feels sorry for this woman, even though she woman has created her own situation. She admits, “I have already detached myself from him emotionally.” Nowhere does it say the husband/father has done the same thing. She never mentions trying marriage counseling. She doesn’t even say that she’s tried talking to her husband about it. Most divorces are due to this exact thing - the woman emotionally splits from the man. Look it up. Studies show that couples who decided to forgo divorce were happier five years later compared to the couples who did divorce. Children of divorce do worse in life than children in marriages. Women, stop being selfish.

Lila September 26, 2009, 2:04 PM

Teri- When you say “look it up”, could you be more specific? I think you’re talking nonsense. Studies say that pink unicorns eat less carrots then purple ones. Look it up, its true. See, anyone can do that.

HeeHee September 26, 2009, 2:58 PM

Glad he’s not my husband.

Kris September 27, 2009, 9:11 AM

As a military wife I completely relate. Im married to an absent husband(months and years at a time). I know some people will say well you knew about the military before you married him but it still doesn’t make it easy to move far away from family and raise kids alone. I think its harder to be married to someone who’s unavailable than it is to be divorced with at least a chance at happiness.

ashley September 28, 2009, 5:21 AM

THat’s funny cause just the other day I told my husband that sometimes I feel like a single mother while he was sitting on the couch and I was bathing and feeding and putting the kids to bed. Oh, and when I had to take my son the the ER the other night because he fell out of the tree and I ended up with 4 kids with me at the ER!! The 2 girls mother was coming to get them but why couldn’t my 2 yr old stay home with daddy?? I HAVE NO IDEA!!! It’s not always like that just sometimes. I don’t get it.

Cara September 28, 2009, 7:43 AM

That is exactly what im going through.

Alma September 29, 2009, 10:56 AM

I feel that way also. I have 3 boys ranging from 8 yrs old to 2 months. I feel my husband doesn’t have all the responsibility I do with the boys and home.I have even told him that all he does is supply the money, and I do everything else.I might as well be a single mom.

Dave October 9, 2009, 3:40 PM

How can you have 2 full time working parents when raising a family? We did this for a while and enjoyed the financial security but your kids will be feeling the emotional tensions. The reality is that your bandwidth is maxing out, this will cause tension between you and your partner (plus the kids).
The dad need some structure with his kids time and and you may be too close to give that to him. Steer him to some sites that are dedicated to dads (not mum sites). he needs some blokey 3rd party advice on how to be better engaged with kids, what activities to do etc..will take some pressure off him (he’s feeling guilty about this but can’t admit it) Marriages go through rocky stages and you are in one now. Dad is stressed to the max with his own business, creating structure and accepting your current situation will have immediate benefits. Let us know how it goes.

SABAGODIN October 12, 2009, 9:49 AM

Sounds all to familiar to me. I give you a year, maybe less and you will be divorced. And one of the reasons you will cite is that you feel like you are just roommates. You need to go to the website www.womensinfidelity, before it is too late. Cause you are starting down that path whether you realize it or not.

rubyrose November 30, 2010, 7:27 PM

i feel bad for what she going through i have it even worse its unfair we do our best and get married have kidswe do the right way but still we get screwedget this my toe is broken yet i cant get no help with my 8 month old baby and on my feet at least 20 hours when im suppose to be off my feetbest advice we need to get rid of our husbands!!!

rubyrose November 30, 2010, 7:27 PM

i feel bad for what she going through i have it even worse its unfair we do our best and get married have kidswe do the right way but still we get screwedget this my toe is broken yet i cant get no help with my 8 month old baby and on my feet at least 20 hours when im suppose to be off my feetbest advice we need to get rid of our husbands!!!

rubyrose November 30, 2010, 7:27 PM

i feel bad for what she going through i have it even worse its unfair we do our best and get married have kidswe do the right way but still we get screwedget this my toe is broken yet i cant get no help with my 8 month old baby and on my feet at least 20 hours when im suppose to be off my feetbest advice we need to get rid of our husbands!!!

rubyrose November 30, 2010, 7:27 PM

i feel bad for what she going through i have it even worse its unfair we do our best and get married have kidswe do the right way but still we get screwedget this my toe is broken yet i cant get no help with my 8 month old baby and on my feet at least 20 hours when im suppose to be off my feetbest advice we need to get rid of our husbands!!!

rubyrose November 30, 2010, 7:33 PM

im so sorry but i know how rough it is also have deal with a motherin law too i think we should take all these awful husbans put them in jail with a guy named bubba and when its shower time make sure they drop their soap!!!

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Ten Tees January 9, 2011, 1:47 PM

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