Mom Logic about the term single mom. The author seemed to think that term was thrown around too loosely and by it being so widely used, the meaning of the term has been diminshed. In her post, she decided that parents that are raising their kids without a co-parent should begin calling themselves only parents.
I am a widow. My husband, the father of my children, comitted suicide 8 years ago. Before you start feeling all kinds of sympathy, let me tell you, my marriage was less than functional. I left him when I was 4 months pregnant with The Girl. In the last year of his life, I put him in treatment 5 times. He relapsed 5 times. I finally decided I couldn't raise my children in a home filled with his demons. When The Girl was 6 months old (The Boy was 2), I told him I was filing for divorce. He was found dead in a hotel room in Colorado 2 weeks later (that's a whole other Oprah). At no point did I blame myself. I was VERY angry for a very long time. I had resolved myself to no longer being married to him. I never thought for a second I would never see him again.
I have always called myself an only parent. I have friends that are single parents. To me, that term means a parent raising children in a home without an adult partner. Most of my single parent friends have parenting schedules that allow them to be child-free every other weekend. Some also have one weekday evening and extended time in the summer and over school breaks. I have never had anything like that.
In addition to not having someone to co-parent with, I don't have family in the area to help. I truly am on my own. Over the years, I have developed friendships with other women that don't have support systems. We have become each other's support systems. It works, but it's not the same as having actively involved grandparents, aunts, and uncles.
I look at some of the co-parenting arrangements some of my single parent friends have and I can honestly say, I have it good. BFF is currently going through a VERY nasty divorce. The man (I use that term loosely) she is divorcing has done everything in his power to drive a wedge between BFF and her oldest boy. In addition, they are completely unable to communicate (she has a restraining order against him) AND he actively tells their children they don't have to follow her directions or rules. (The scary thing is the courts are actually going to give him these kids because they don't think it's in their best interest to move up north! WTF! That too is a whole other Oprah.)
While I realize that most co-parenting relationships are far more civil than this, it begs the question is it really more difficult to co-parent than it is to be an only parent? I for one am very glad that I don't have to rely on my children's father for ANYTHING (not that I had a choice). While I spent years being angry that I was "robbed" of that option (as well as my kids being robbed of knowing their dad), I have come to be grateful of my situation. While I would love to have a partner in life, living in my home, and acting as a support in raising my kids, I am glad I don't have to "make nice" with someone for the sake of my kids and rely on someone that couldn't hold true to their commitments to me to hold true to their commitments to the most important people in my life.
That said, for all of you that can co-parent amicably - THAT IS AWESOME! I wish every parent had their child's best interest in mind! You deserve a HUGE pat on the back!