Somewhere out there is a woman whose husband comes home just often enough to make her remember what she’s missing the rest of the time, while he’s gone.
Right when she’s found her footing and begun to adjust to her new normal, it’s almost time for him to leave again. So she finds herself resisting the closeness they would otherwise share in anticipation of the hurt that hits every time he leaves again.
When he’s gone, all she wants is someone to share dinners with the kids and her once in awhile, just to help break up the monotony and remind her she’s not alone. His work is what keeps him away, like thousands of other hardworking men, but she’s never personally known another family sharing this lifestyle so her wish to find someone who ‘gets it’ goes unfulfilled.
She’d give anything for a support group of ‘sometimes single parents’ to listen to one another and help hold each other up, but those things only seem to exist for military families or widowed parents who have lost their spouse. Though even if it did exist, she’s honestly now sure how she’d work out childcare to get there anyway.
Harder still, she’s been shamed for her struggles when she reads the blogs or comments from others insisting that a woman doesn’t need a man, that a strong woman can manage just fine on her own, thank you very much.
She’d love to help people understand that the heavy challenges of a divorce or death impacting a marriage are not the same as the heavy challenges in the rollercoaster marriage hers feels like. The emotional ups and downs of trying to maintain an intact marriage with a spouse who is constantly in and out, are quite unique all on their own. No longer married does not equate to married, but lonely.
These women are everywhere. They are our neighbors, our friends, our sisters, our co-workers.
She may look like the woman down the street from you or teaching down the hall at your child’s school. You’ll run into her at the post office and in the grocery store every week. Yet, you’ll usually never know her when you’re looking at her. You see, her challenges often compel her to believe she has to be stronger than she was ever meant to be, so she doesn’t ask for help. She doesn’t want to believe it, but she’s learned to think people won’t understand anyway.
What you can do is offer a smile wherever you go. Notice people, really see them. Help carry bags for a struggling stranger. Do it all without expecting a thing in return. This might be the only interaction she’s had all day with another adult.
These small ways you can make a difference just might turn a hard day into a more hopeful one, right when she needs hope the most. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Philo of Alexandria
Head here or here next for more from people who just get it. If you know a married Mama who is sometimes parenting alone (otherwise known as sometimes single parents), please share this post with them? Sometimes all we need is to know we’re not alone! That’s exactly why I wrote a letter from my heart to these amazing women that has since been shared all over the world, click here if you’d like to read it too!
Just beautiful, Sybil. I was a sometimes single parent during the most difficult parenting years of my life. My husband worked out of town while I had babies who were sick constantly- and scary sick, like hospital sick. I felt SO alone and often SO exhausted and resentful too. It can be so so hard. I know.
Thank you for this. I will share it on my page. <3