We've likely all heard someone say, "now I know what it's like to be a single parent!" when their spouse goes on a work trip or a weekend getaway. It's one of those common phrases that really gets to me because it's just plain wrong.
I'm not a single parent, and although I don't presume to have the first clue what it's really like to raise kids without a partner's help, I have always been quite certain that the time I've spent with my kids solo is simply not the same thing as being a day-in, day-out single mom or dad.
So when a Reddit user posted his thoughts on how he's "been managing as a single dad" while his wife was "traveling on business this week," I felt my eyes roll back in my head. Until I read on.
In six bullet points, the father of a 13-month-old boy gave "props" to single parents and managed to say everything right.
- Normally my wife and I share the load pretty equally, but in the last few days it feels like I have more than twice my normal responsibilities because there's no break until the baby goes to sleep. He even sits in the bathroom with the door closed if I have to pee!
- Anything to be done around the house, whether it's cooking or cleaning must be done with the kiddo close by. This evening I was cooking dinner and practically tripping on him because he has nobody else to interact with.
- My wife and I each make a good salary and our family is financially secure. But if you're a single parent on one income, working up to two jobs or even more jobs to make ends meet, I can only imagine how exhausting every day is.
- I'm always conscious of the risks of drinking too much or slipping in the shower or a sudden stroke or any of a hundred possible things that could happen that would leave my baby defenseless for days.
- We have no family or close friends in the area to help out. Single parents in the same situation have no relief. It's a 24/7 job. I'd probably have to move closer to my family if this were a permanent situation.
- Being a temporary single parent is manageable because I know it's temporary. My wife is only gone a week+. I know she's coming back soon. If she weren't, knowing that I would face the same struggles every day for years is intimidating.
His self-aware statement has rightfully gotten praise on Reddit from dozens of the single parents who, as he wrote, "are like superhumans to me."