After I pour out my heart over a glass of wine about the rough week I’ve had parenting my kids by myself, I have so many sweet friends who respond with “I don’t know how you do it– I could NEVER be a single mom!” I actually hate that phrase, “single mom.” Not because I don’t think it takes a badass woman to take care of her kids alone (it totally does, and my mother-in-law was one), but because I’m not doing it alone. Being a pilot inherently means my husband is gone. It’s kind of hard to fly an airplane in the same place, after all, so my pilot’s wife life is certainly filled with time alone. Most of the time, you won’t see a husband in my home or at t-ball practice, but I’m not a single mom– I’m a solo mom.
What’s the difference? What the heck is a “solo mom?”
Well, for starters, I don’t have to worry about a paycheck. Because my amazing husband works as hard as he does, I don’t have to worry about working. I work because I love what I do, but I do it while my kids nap or after they go to bed. I get to write and share my heart and my mind with y’all because he’s off making sure we can put a roof over our kids’ heads and food in their tummies. Heck, we get to build OUR dream home together. Single mamas don’t have that luxury. They HAVE to go to work to provide for their families, on top of all the other stuff every mom has to do.
Do I do most things for our kids a lot of the time as part of my pilot’s wife life? Absolutely. I’m the one who gets to wipe away their tears after a hard day at school, who gets to snuggle in the middle of the night when they had a bad dream, who gets thrown up on (and then strokes their hair while they sleep on me) when they’re sick.
My heart breaks for their daddy who misses out on those moments, as gross as some of them might be. You see, as much as I try to share every detail of their day, I just can’t. I get to laugh at the ridiculous thing that just came out of our 4 year old’s mouth or have my heart explode as our littlest hugs our big kid. That’s the difference– I have someone to share every one of those moments with, even if he isn’t here for them.
There have been so many times where he comes into the room, excited or laughing about something one of our kids just did “for the first time,” and I have to tell him that he’s been doing it for days, weeks, months. It both fills and breaks my heart to watch him get home as quickly as he can so that he has just a little bit more time with them before he has to leave again.
But the thing is, I might do most things for our kiddos a lot of the time, but he does a lot for me, too. He fills up my car with gas before he leaves so it’s one less thing I have to worry about when I wake up with sad kids the next morning. He mows the lawn so that I don’t have to try to watch a 2 year old while I do. He does the dishes before he leaves so that my least favorite chore is out of the way for at least a few hours. He dumps our giant bag of dog food into the bin for me so I don’t break my back. And, by working as hard as he does, he gives me the option to just love on our babies all day, every day.
As much as I appreciate the thought behind the admiration (and believe me, there are days where I feel like I’ve earned it), it’s simply not true. I had a friend who WAS a true single mama thank me for using the term “solo mama” because it just fits my situation better. Yes, I solo parent most of the time, but then I don’t. I get to stop and have their daddy, whom I adore, take over while I take a BREAK, rather than having to go to work.
My response to “I could NEVER be a single mom?” Me neither!