Becoming a married single mom is not what I envisioned when I decided to leave my job and stay home to raise our son. As I write this article, I haven’t seen my husband more than five hours in the last three days. Our son hasn’t seen him at all. This is the life of the married single mom.
The decision for me to become a stay at home mom was an easy one. Although I had a good job, I earned only half of what my husband earned, and we both worked very far from home. My husband’s job also offers him plenty of overtime. That has become both our savior and our burden. My husband working a lot of overtime is what ensures that we will be able to pay our bills on just one salary. It also ensures that I will be home taking care of our son by myself most of the time. This leads to plenty of stress, occasional arguments and sometimes maybe even a little resentment. Neither of us can truly know what it’s like to be in each other’s shoes. I can never know that it’s like to go to work 6 or 7 days a week, sometimes 20 hours at a stretch, leaving my family behind at home. Similarly, he can never know what it’s like to be home by himself all the time, taking care of a defiant toddler, cleaning and cooking, and never getting a break from it all.
My husband and I have always had a great relationship. I remember the days before we had a child, we would go on leisurely picnics, go out to fancy dinners, or just stay in and watch a movie. When he would come home from work, I would greet him at the door with a big kiss. That is a far cry from our lives today. Nowadays as my husband walks in the door, there is no welcome home smooch. Instead, it’s a scene of chaos, with our son running around screaming, and toys strewn all over the living room. I am usually slumped on the couch, looking tired and defeated. I then bombard my husband with the laundry list of things that our son has done over the course of the day to drive me crazy. It is at this point that I am really glad to see him, not because I missed him, but because I can’t wait to hand over our son to him as soon as he walks in the door.
To stop arguments about who does what and who works harder, I have to take a minute and try to think like my husband. Instead of getting upset that he’s surfing the net instead of jumping in to help me make dinner or take care of our son, I try to remember what it’s like to go to work all day. I know he works hard all day at a job he doesn’t particularly like, and then has a long commute and he wants to relax a little when he gets home. But at the same time, I feel like when my husband gets home, his day at work is over, but mine still continues. To keep the arguments at bay, it has to work both ways. My husband also has to think about what it’s like to be me, home with our son all day. If we both try to consider each other’s situation before we get upset, things tend to go much more smoothly. As always in relationships, it’s all about consideration and compromise.