Married and Single with Two Kids

March 26, 2011

Jen is one of my very dearest, long time friends. Her husband has been in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor the past 3 years while she raised 2 kids alone, going to school full time and now working as a L&D nurse (awesome job). Besides being a total rock star mom, she’s also a blogger deep inside that refuses to start her own – and so I’m letting her use mine. Until she starts her own. Someday. 🙂 But seriously, her story is amazing:

When Diana asks for guest bloggers, I totally jumped at the chance. Simply because I don’t have a blog of my own, and I’m too technologically challenged to start my own!! I went to high school with her, and I love staying in contact with her and stalking her blog for updates on how she’s doing. So, here’s my take on being a single mom. Please to enjoy:

My husband (Justin) and I were infertile royalty…or at least that what it felt like at the time. We tried for 2 years to get pregnant, and with the help of many procedures and 3 rounds of Clomid (and a total of 8 pregnancy tests), we were finally expecting!! Our son (Tyler) was born in June 2007, and we moved to Ohio in August of that year. I became extremely lazy when it came to taking birth control. No surprise here when our little girl (Mikaylen) was conceived in April of 2008, although it wasn’t something we had really planned on.

In July 2008, we had just bought a house, Tyler was now 1 year old, and I was enjoying every minute of being pregnant. Then Justin came home from work one day and told me he had been laid off. I felt every single emotion of grief, and honestly thought I was going to miscarry because I was so overcome with stress, sadness, depression…you name it.

He searched high and low for jobs in our town, but there was very literally NOTHING available. He had a friend that was in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor and he made really good money by working over there. We had exhausted all other options, and so we made the decision to have him work overseas for 1 year, and still look for jobs that became available during that time in our town. Meanwhile, I was 6 months pregnant, going to school full time, working part-time, and taking care of our son on my own.

When Mikaylen was born in December, Justin was not able to be there, but my sister had come to stay with me and be my full-time nanny for the 1st 5 months after baby girl was born, and she was honestly the best blessing to us. That whole 1st year was a blur, and I still can’t wrap my head around how I was able to cope with being a married single mom. The time came for Justin’s contract to be up, and we were back in the same predicament of still not having a job to come back home to. So, he signed another contract for yet another year, and I resigned myself to being totally self-sufficient.

Being a single mom is absolutely the hardest job I’ve ever had, and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. I have an excellent support system, but day-to-day living is stressful, even on a good day. I love the time that I spend with my kidaroos, but my patience with 2 toddlers is limited, and I’m pretty sure my kids will need therapy before long, let’s be honest. I don’t get a break, grocery shopping is a nightmare, running errands sucks a big one, and to top it off, my kids are little toddlerexics (thank God for Flintstone vitamins).

Justin comes home for good in August, and his total time over there will be exactly 3 years. He has missed the majority of Mikaylen’s life, and Tyler is way more girly than I’m willing to admit to most people. We are in desperate need of some good, quality daddy/hubby time. Especially me, because I’ve got baby fever like it’s nobody’s business. Yes, I realize that sounds crazy, but give me a break. The kids stole my sanity a good, long time ago!!

My hats are off to all of the single moms out there, regardless of the length of time they spend being the sole provider for their children. It’s not easy, and some days I feel like I hold the record for epic parenting failures. But I’ve become much stronger, more independent, and more in tune with my babies. I wish I hadn’t had to go through this, but I’m glad I was able to grow as a mom and as a person.

11 Comments

  • Teresa

    March 26, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Jen, I have so much respect for what you do. I complain about my husband being gone for 10 hrs a day and now I feel ridiculous. I so take for granted being able to occasionally sleep in or let someone else give the kids a bath. Every time I read a blog post about a military man’s wife and kids, I get choked up. Thank you for sharing this!

  • Jen

    March 26, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I admire your courage for being able to do it on your own for so long. Do you have any resentment at all that he is missing so much or that he has left you to raise the kids alone?

    Glad he is coming home!

    1. Jen

      March 26, 2011 at 2:13 pm

      I don’t think I would call it resentment. I am sad that he misses so much. There’s only so much that can be conveyed through photos and videos. He has to build a relationship almost from scratch with both of our kids when he comes back. It’s not exactly the family we had in mind back when we were trying to conceive. I’m just looking forward to growing together as a couple and a family when he comes back in August.

  • Becca

    March 26, 2011 at 10:41 am

    aw i love you jen! It’s hard being alone with three kids during the day while my husbands at work! I couldn’t imagine doing it for 3 years! Props to you! You’re a good blogger! Start one of your own! Ive always wanted to but don’t even know where to begin!

  • Daisy

    March 26, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Diana – I love your blog and your guest posts (Including this one, it’s so interesting!) But one thing that kind of bugs me that I thought I would just say something about it your guys’s use of the term single mom.

    My mom was actually that: single. and a mom. Two kids, mortgage, full time job under the poverty line, had to do EVERYTHING her self. She didn’t even have anyone to call to cry to. & she certainly didn’t have a husband who, albeit under necessity, is off in a different country.
    So my mom, as a real single mom, didn’t have somebody who came home even every couple years to help, or when they were on vacation. & she didn’t have anybody who she could call ad talk to for support when she was feeling overwhelmed. I think the difference is also very pronounced since the “single moms” on here that I read about also have another persons income as support – so your husbands are going off and leaving you with your kids, but they’re providing their income. Real single moms struggle to get even $100/month in child support.

    Maybe there is another term you guys can use that actually describes what your going through? I’m not trying to discount your feelings in any way, but I do feel that the use of “single mom” for women who are married & their husbands are just off bringing home some bacon is a little bit of a slight for the real single moms who struggle with not even having baby daddy around, ya know?

    Again, I’m not trying to offend or jump down anyones throat, just something I thought I’d mention.

    1. Diana

      March 26, 2011 at 10:24 am

      Daisy – I do understand where you are coming from. I’ve tried to phrase my stuff with “temporary” or “till July” just for that reason. Your mom seriously sounds like an amazing woman.

      But I think there are many different kinds of single moms. I know women who have kids, live with their boyfriends, with two incomes coming in and are considered single moms. Women that live with their parents. Many have family members who babysit full time so they can work or have an occasional night out. Many military moms call themselves single moms when their husbands are gone for a year at a time with limited contact.

      I see what you’re saying, and I do understand. I (in no way) compare myself to a mom working 2 jobs with kids at home and no partner.

      I don’t know if there is a better term for what a woman does raising a child alone for a while. Other than “raising a child alone for a while.” 🙂 But that gets a little cumbersome to say.

      Thank you for sharing your point of view.

  • Dana @SearsFam

    March 26, 2011 at 8:33 am

    I would have liked to read this post, but I had to stop.

    I have alot of respect for Mom’s who live single lives whether married, divorced, widowed or? It’s hard to do it, be and live it. But there is nothing more rewarding than raising my children.

    But I sit here wondering what “I’m too technologically retarded” means? Does it mean stupid? Does it mean challenged? Not worth the effort to learn about?

    I don’t know maybe it’s b/c I am still dealing with the grief of my son having Special Powers (Special Needs). I guess it just hit a nerve.

    1. Diana

      March 26, 2011 at 8:38 am

      I understand, I assure you Jen would never, ever mean to hurt or offend anyone by putting that. She’s just not that type of person. I changed it out since I didn’t see it before.

    2. Jen

      March 26, 2011 at 9:24 am

      Dana, I would NEVER in a million years use a term that I thought would be offensive. Sometimes I fail. I can’t wrap my head around the powers of technology, it’s all very difficult for me to grasp and understand. Honestly, I should have been born 100 years ago. I apologize sincerely that I offended you with my choice of words.

  • Samantha

    March 26, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Wow, good for you! It’s amazing that you have gone through this journey together and yet apart. Props to you and your husband for making it work financially and emotionally the past 3 years. I have one kid and my husband is home and I still can’t keep it together lol.

    Nicely written!!

  • Lisa

    March 26, 2011 at 8:04 am

    I have so much respect for single moms of any situation if I fly solo for more than a day I’m ready to quit. Glad he’ll be home for you soon.

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