My Single Parenthood


Before I got pregnant, I said to my husband, “Well, if you want out, get out now. Once we have a kid, that’s it—we’re in it for the long haul. I am NOT going to raise a child of divorced parents.” I don’t remember his response exactly, but I think it went something like, “Well, okay. I guess I can hang around. Besides, if I need to get rid of you, I could always just kill you.” (Yes, people, it WAS a joke. If you knew my husband, you’d know that’s his dark sense of humor and he was TOTALLY kidding, so no restraining order needed.)

It’s not a judgment by any means. Plenty of people get divorced, and often it’s for the better. The longer I am married, the more I understand it. Till death do us part is a long time. People change. Life takes unexpected turns. Under the best of circumstances marriage is hard, and very seldom do people get the best circumstances.

My niece is a child of divorce. And as a teacher, I have seen countless students who grew up in multiple households because of marriages that didn’t make it. It’s amazing to me how some kids handle it extremely well taking things in stride while others never quite seem to get over it. But even the ones who handle it well still have to grow up in a world that, however harmonious, is still divided. Choices need to be made about which parent gets to spend which holiday with the kid(s); which parent is picking up, which one is dropping off, who’s responsible for what, how to co-parent without being married. It’s just something I wanted to do my darndest to avoid for any children I might have.

I consider myself blessed and lucky to have the husband I do. Oh, don’t get me wrong; things are not perfect by any means. There are plenty of times I wish we were taking a different path. But there hasn’t been a day I haven’t wanted Greg to be with me on whichever path I wind up on. He’s my partner in life and I love him. Of course, I know enough to say never say never, but I am optimistic about our chances for sticking this out.

But lately I’m getting a little taste of what divorce feels like.

The hubby and I are mostly living apart these days. When we first moved back East, we chose to live with my parents because they had the most room for us. The biggest drawback was location, and we knew that. Well, that drawback is now rearing its ugly head. Greg got a temp job in Englewood Cliffs, which would be about a two-hour commute from my mom’s place. So he’s commuting from his mom’s house instead which knocks his commute down to about forty minutes.

While we could get a place of our own, it would be a financial hardship until I am fortunate enough myself to join the ranks of the employed and contribute to the household income. There’s just not enough room at my mother-in-law’s for all of us full-time, so Charlie and I are still at my mom’s house—an hour and a half away.  We see each other on weekends and maybe one day during the week.

It sucks.

I could never be the wife of a husband who was gone a lot on a regular basis. Well, maybe I could if that was what I was used to, but I’m not used to it.  I miss my husband.  But more than that, I miss the life we had as a family in California. A life with jobs and routine and a home that was ours.

I have no regrets about moving back, I love my mom. I love that I was blessed enough to be here for the last few months of my father’s life. I love that I can be here to help my mother (when we’re not making messes, that is) and that my Muffin is here to put a smile on my mom’s face when she needs it. But I don’t love not having a place of our own.

We’ll have that again, I know. We’re going to try to stick this situation out until spring and try to save some money. But it just about breaks my heart to hear Charlie’s cries of “I want Daddy!”

In the mean time, I am reminding myself daily to take solace in the fact that this is temporary.  We’ll be a family again. And that’s more than a lot of people can say.

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