5 Days It Really Sucks to be a Single Parent

No one ever said being a single parent was easy. I guess I am luckier than most, because in some ways, I was raised for this role. My mom was a single parent who raised 3 children – with little to no help, no money and without a college education. And somehow with her street smarts she figured it out. The days it seems hard, I think back to my mom and my childhood and just shake my head and wonder how she did it?

Some days are harder than others. Of course we can all relate to the days when you are tired or just want a break, or the mornings we just wish we could pull the covers over our head and pretend there isn’t a world out there. But then there are those days when it REALLY sucks being a single parent.

Here are my top 5:

#1: When I am sick

I’m still not sure which is worse- being a single parent when I am sick, or being a single parent when my daughter is sick. When I am sick, I’m wishing, hoping and praying that there were someone else to call to do all the things that have to be done when my immune system is on a holiday break. And although my daughter is very caring and loving, the “Mommy really doesn’t feel good right now so can we just lay in here and watch a movie together” works for about 10 minutes. Then my daughter, sometimes referred to as the energizer bunny, returns and she wants to do something, anything that requires much more energy than I have at that moment and I just wish I wasn’t a single parent.

#2 When she is sick

The next worst time to be a single parent is when my daughter is sick. It isn’t because I mind caring for my sick child. In fact, I can admit though I wouldn’t tell her, I sometimes enjoy these times because I get to care for her like she still is my baby – and not the “tween” she has turned into. The hard part is when she needs medicine and I’m the only one around. In fact, she had a 101.4 degree temperature and an upset stomach – and I had no Tylenol, Motrin or 7-up in the house. So what’s a single to parent do? I packed my daughter in the car in her pj’s, drove to the corner market, locked her in the car, and ran in to get the necessary supplies to survive the night. Oh I just wish I wasn’t a single parent!

#3 The “Parent Events”

Then there are those “parent events,” such as school events, when my daughter says “my friend’s parents want to invite my parents over for dinner,” or any other event where I somehow end up being the 3rd wheel. Or maybe I should say the single wheel. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it when my daughter was 5 and performing in her first show. But it is oh so painful to sit through the other 200 kids performing their solo as well. If I had a husband there with me, we could at least have suffered together! On these days, I just wish I wasn’t a single parent.

#4 Uh oh its broken

As I mentioned earlier, my mom taught me, or maybe it’s better to say” showed me,” how to be a single parent. She managed to fix things that we broke in ways we could only describe as “Macgyver style”. She always said … “there isn’t anything you can’t fix if you just use what you have.” And most of the time she was right. One day I needed to figure out how to lock my door front door and ensure it would stay shut, so I duct taped it shut. Another time, we needed a filter to pour some liquid from one bottle to another and our tin foil worked wonders. But then there are the days that one mother just simply isn’t enough. Earlier this year my car battery died. I didn’t think it was going to be a problem because I happened to have another car at the time I could use to jump the battery. The problem? I have a single car garage. This means in order to jump the car, I needed to pop it into neutral and push it while carefully backing out of the garage. Easy with 2 people. Not so easy as a single parent. I quickly tried to open a AAA account but there is a 3 day waiting period for their services. So what is a single parent to do? I grabbed 3 pillows and my daughter and out to the garage we went. Two pillows went behind her back to push her forward enough to reach the pedals – the brake really – and 1 pillow to go under her so she was tall enough to see me give her directions. We practiced having her push the break. I showed her how to pop it into neutral and into park and off we went. I pushed, she steered, and we moved the car out of the garage. She loved it – a driving lesson at 9. On that day, I just wish I wasn’t a single parent.

#5 There is a mouse in the house

There are a lot of things I can handle. I mean I have to. I’m a single parent. I have somehow managed to juggle being a single parent, having a career & having a dating life. I can deal with a sick child, a broken sink or operating on a few hours sleep. But I must admit the one thing I don’t like more than anything else in the world… mice. Or rats. Or really anything that has a long tail and beady eyes. And to this day, I think back to the day it sucked the most to be a single parent. My daughter was a little over 1 and I decided to clean my carpets while she was taking a nap. My carpet cleaner was stored in my detached garage. So I went out to get the cleaner, rolled it to the kitchen door and lifted it into my house. And then it happened. I saw it. I swear to this day the thing was 5 pounds and 24 inches, though in reality it was probably less than 6 inches long. It was a mouse. A field mouse. A field mouse that happened to make a home in my garage and was using my carpet cleaner as a bed. And now that thing was in my house. It ran from the carpet cleaner to under my couch. It was that day, just a few months after my divorce that I realized how much it sucked to be a single parent! So what did I do? After a loud scream I ran upstairs, grabbed my daughter, and we went to the store to buy mouse traps. I made sure to buy those that had a little house so that I didn’t have to see the little rodent. I came home, put 20 traps out and left for the next 10 hours hoping that it would fall for the trick and make the mouse house its new home. I came home, put my daughter to bed and after checking several of the houses saw one with a tail sticking out. I knew I had caught it. But then the worst was yet to happen. I had to get the mouse house into the garbage bag. I did. I had to. I eventually took care of it. Oh I just wish I wasn’t a single parent!

Now what are yours?


  1. Morgan

    I really love this post. I love the honesty of it. I mean it’s really how we all feel, but just don’t feel like we can say it. I would love for everything to be perfect for my son, but in reality I fall short so many times. Although my ex and I had an amicable divorce, I really had no idea how hard being a single parent was until I had to do it on my own. I used to complain about taking care of our son, and our home and working… In the end, none of it is easy.

  2. Jenny Robbins

    The five that you listed are dead on. Along with #1, those times that I am just tired and having a tag team partner would be great. It stinks when you have more than one child in a school with an open house and they only give you enough time to listen to one teacher, forcing you to chose between your children. Another time would be when unemployment happens or the financial strain becomes too great. This can happen just because there isn’t enough extra $ to put aside for emergencies. Having one vehicle sometimes scares me, since there is no back up in the event that something happens. Aside from those, are the moments that the kids are hurt because their father isn’t active in their lives. Spending so much time (which I wouldn’t trade for anything) soothing hurt feelings and drying tears that are caused by needless pain makes being a single parent suck.
    All of that being said, being a single parent means I get to do things my way. There’s no argument or fight for room if someone had a nightmare and climbs in the bed. We can have cereal for dinner if we choose to. There is also no argument about discipline,(although there are times it would be great to have that 2nd person to back you up). Living together and going through the difficult stuff along with the good stuff has allowed for my children and I to become very close.

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