Sunday, April 19, 2009

I have it harder, you get a break...

I hate hearing that whenever discussing parenting with any other parent whether they are single or not.

Sometimes this will come up in conversation when talking about the stresses of single parenting (or even parenting partnered). It always makes me cringe. I may not hear the "I have it harder" part come out of their mouth but I do hear the "at least you get a break" which really is saying "I have it harder than you do". Really? A break from what? Parenting? Really? You think it stops because my daughter is with her dad?

Wow, if only we should be so lucky those of us that have any type of shared parenting. Just like parents who do it all on their own so do parents who have shared parenting.

Parenting doesn't stop when your child is with the other parent. I must still be a mom. Sure, I may not have to rush home to make dinner but I can tell you the "extra time" I get sans child is not spent whooping it up. I'm cleaning, signing permission slips, preparing dinners ahead, doing MY school work because I need to finish school for my child as much as I do for myself, running to the grocery store, putting in extra hours at work so I can bring in enough money... the list really does go on and on and on.

Then there are other parental obligations like just because it is dad's time with the child doesn't mean all things stop, there are still activities the kids are involved in, games, events, parent-teacher meetings, orthodontist appointments, therapy appointments, doctors appointments. It just never really stops.

I have a couple of friends that will never ever get this and a particular (well a few) family members that won't ever get it either. Its irritating yet entertaining in a way that they actually think parenting stops when a child is with their other parent.


Loz said...

I agree. The responsibility remains. But there are issues if the other parent doesn't keep you informed with what's going on and I can give a number of instances where that has happened to me over the past few years - school issues, visits to specialists, things I should have been told about but wasn't. I would love to think that shared parenting actually means sharing all those things.

Kari said...

Loz, that hasn't always been the case here. I learned that in the end not relying on the other parent to pass on that information when it comes to their home is best. I can be the parent that keeps infoming of those things and not get it in return because I make sure that I get the information.

Shared parenting should mean all of those things but it doesn't always. Hence, needing to be at all the appointments when it is dads time ect...

We did that dance for many years and in the end it was a whole lot less stress and heartache if I didn't allow him to control telling me and not telling me what occured regarding those things during his parenting time.

Divorced Lifestyle said...

The grass is always greener....

With shared parenting comes frequent contact with the ex. With solo parenting comes infrequent time to recharge.

We need to come together. Parenting is hard, regardless of the way we do it.

Kari said...

Very true, the frequent contact really does stink but so does little recharge time. I find I have very little recharge time anyway but I know that is mostly due to my schedule. That's something I'm working on. Like going to school FT, juggling the kiddo and her things, and then working FT (and working funky shifts at that) is just too much. Next semester I'm going to go half time. It will take longer but my health and body are telling me something has to give or it will give out on me.

Parenting is hard, even parenting when you are coupled with the other parent in a marriage is difficult. That was sort of why I posted we all do need to come together.

The grass sure is always greener... there are days I miss my kiddo terribly and wish I was a solo parent. There are days I'm glad she is with her dad because she drives me crazy and is a pre-teen.

All in all, I wish I didn't have to hear the words that make me cringe from others who are essentially in the parenting boat with me. I hear these words from my cousin all the time. Its almost humorous that she doesn't realize just how much help she gets and how much relief she gets from family and friends etc... Heck she's been on many trips without her children among other things. I don't begrudge her of that at all but I wish she'd get the whole the grass is greener concept and ride in the boat with me rather than against me.

jeanie said...

I find one of the most harsh things being a parent is the judgement.

No matter what you do, you will be advised otherwise.

No matter how you behave, there will be a critic.

No matter how well or otherwise you have raised and trained your child, there are those who will have done differently.

And no matter how hard or easy you have it, someone is marking your "place" in their internal scale.

Parenthood should not be a race or competition - it is a refrain we hear so often - and yet we all feel it.

Jim Bailey - JimBWarrior - HandsOnEqualParent said...

Up on Euqual Parenting @ Ration Shed BLOG; with thanks to Kari of the Not-So-Normal-Girl BLOG
Great BLOG - FAMILY Orientated Authors are WELCOME.
Take note Go
• BLOG -
• Yahoo -
• FaceBook -

Use link below to view the full content of what is in the subject line.

Onward - Jim

Kari said...

Jim, thank you for the invite. I'll be sure to check it out and hopefully Loz sees this too.

I've been involved with some parenting groups before.

Jim Bailey - JimBWarrior - HandsOnEqualParent said...

Kari and Loz,

Us Family Orientated Folk have much work to do with our own Kids let alone playing our part in re-shaping World-Wide FAMILY law and Social Policy to give Kids Equal doses of their own Mum, Dad and all 4 grand parents etc where possible residing together married or not. Onward - Jim

Bad Mummy said...

Thanks for visiting my blog Kari.

Nice topic to bring up. My kidlet alternates weeks between her dad and I. So, I get a week-long stretch sans The Mook. During which you will find me doing laundry and grocery shopping and buying her clothes for both my house AND her dad's, enrolling her in classes, and so on and so forth. I'm the brains in our parenting operation. If I don't make it happen, it doesn't happen at all - toilet training, getting her off the soother, getting her a bike and scooter (one riding toy for each home)...

It's exhausting because I feel like I'm parenting my daughter AND her father. I can do all I want in my home to get rid of the soother, but he can completely undo all my hard work in just one night.

April said...

I'll admit that I do sometimes envy other parents' ability to depend on having every other weekend free, but I don't think I've ever worded it like that.
My sister shares custody with her ex, and when I hear those horror stories, it makes me grateful that I don't ever have to worry about that since my girls' dad is a deadbeat.
All parents have it hard sometimes. I try not to compare pain like that, but concentrate on what we all share.

Kari said...

Oh Bad Mummy it is very similar here too. I'd love to be able to sit back and not worry that my child is really being cared for in the ways I think she should be. Well actually with her step mother she is but left to his own devices I'm not sure how well they would have fared. It is exhausting that is the point I think some miss. Its not all roses on either side.

April, I think we all envy sometimes. Especially when it is really tough in parenting we envy what another has/doesn't have. That's normal. I'm glad you try concentrate on what we all share. I think it is important to relate to what you can share. It relieves some of the hardship that of all of us truly feel. There will always be someone to share some part with and there will always be someone who doesn't understand that part but can offer a hug or a shoulder.

Anonymous said...

Single parents who don't have any involvment from the other parent don't have the anxiety I get when my daughter goes to her dad's house. They don't have to wonder if she is every coming home.

In fact many of my fellow single parents who have their child 100% of the time have told me they LIKE being the only one.

I've been in both shoes. Both are hard in different ways.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!