Thursday, March 7, 2013

The glamorous life of a single mom

I recently found out that a friend’s husband is concerned about her spending time with me. He is afraid I am going to try and convert her to the glamorous lifestyle of a divorced single mother. I’m trying to laugh about it.
I never wanted to be divorced. Despite the challenges my marriage faced (there were many and they weren’t typical) I held on to the belief that someday we would get through it all, look back and say “Look what we did.” I assumed that our children’s graduations would be days filled with pride and emotion for us as a couple. I thought someday we would celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary.
It’s not important to know why my marriage ended, but I suppose it is important to know that this wasn’t my choice and not the path I chose.
The pain of divorce isn’t as raw as it was during those first few months, but even though over two years have gone by it’s still there. It gets worse at unexpected times. I feel a stab of pain at the elementary school’s family dance when it’s just me and my girls. They have no daddy to dance with. I can’t hear Proverbs 31, the reading about a good wife, without dissolving in tears. And if there is an anniversary dance at a wedding reception, forget it. I’ll be in the bathroom before Kenny Rogers finishes the first line of the song “Through the Years.”
I would not wish this pain on anyone.
My day begins at 6 as I get up and do what all mothers do: get dressed, make breakfast, get the kids ready for school, ferry children to lessons and appointments. Then I work a full day, pick up the kids from afterschool care, make dinner, supervise homework, run one to dance and then pick up again. I serve the dinner, clean up, review homework, get ready for the next day, squeeze in some chores, and then get everyone settled in bed. Once they are asleep I try and work on my volunteer assignments for the girls’ schools. Then I go to sleep to get ready to start it all over again. I do it without help, without anyone asking how my day is, without another adult to provide moral support. If there is a snow storm I’ve got to get the driveway done. If the lawn needs to be mowed it’s my responsibility. All of the things normally shared between a couple are my responsibility to do.
It is sad.
Friends have encouraged me to date. I would go out, but meeting someone at my age isn’t easy. I tried a dating website. I’ve been matched with a self-described pagan warlock; a man looking for a woman who can carry in a load of firewood; a man who is passionate about ice fishing; a man who makes wood chips for a living; and another man who thought it important to post on his profile that he keeps his house set at 62 degrees.
No one would want this life and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. A widow said to me “My husband didn’t choose to leave me and would still be with me if he could. Your husband chose to leave you and you still have to interact with him. That’s tough.”
As hard as it is to believe I even was at Mass one weekend where the priest spoke about divorced people as sinners. I am not perfect, and it’s my understanding that all humans sin. Why did my children and I have to hear that I am sinful because I am divorced?
While I wouldn’t choose this path it’s the one that has been given. I have been the recipient of many prayers and kindnesses since my husband left. I have learned to do things that I never would have done before. I even took apart my dishwasher once, found the problem and fixed it! I’ve also gained an appreciation for others who are different from the norm.
I have an even deeper appreciation for marriage. I know that marriage can be challenging and life is filled with ups and downs. How amazing is it that couples stay together, like my grandparents for 65 years? Being married is a challenging and awesome way of life. I do whatever I can to support my friends and family who are married. Being divorced has only served to reinforce my belief in the sacrament of marriage.
I would not ever encourage anyone to get a divorce… even with the allure of single woodsman out there.


  1. What a heartfelt and moving post. People are so insensitive - intentionally or not. Which should teach us all a bit about intentionality, and the need for it when we open our mouths. Sometimes our most well intended words spread outward like small shards of shattered glass, that become hurtful projectiles.

    I am married to someone who was divorced. My husband takes marriage very seriously, he takes being in a family, being a father so very seriously. It was horrific for him when the marriage ended; he did not choose this. In our case, people often assume that he as the man, must have cheated or ditched his wife.

    Things have worked out for us, but the scars are tender and remain. We are both very clear - as is my stepdaughter - that divorce is a very painful and challenging thing. Anyone who is cavalier about marriage and divorce should have to talk to someone who has been through it.

    I am so very, very sorry that your friend's husband is so callous, so misinformed.

    Thank you for giving this to us today. It cannot have been easy, but writing so often heals us.

    And now I will re-read my comment, lest any unintentional shards be flying. Peace to you.

  2. Thank you Fran! I feel your husband's pain. How blessed he and your step daughter are to have you in their lives.

    1. Pain and joy intertwined; it is all mystery, isn't it?

  3. I want to hear more about the pagan warlock! :) But seriously, so well-written and close to the heart. You certainly touched mine, and I know you are helping many out there who feel the pain of divorce. I never thought about mowing the lawn, snow days, figuring out sick children staying home. They say this all makes you stronger, but that doesn't help when you are going through it I'm sure. The lack of control must be hard too. There is a surrender to divorce that I hadn't thought of. I'm so sorry. I bet you and your girls are so closely connected. You are a great mom...and I wish only peace and hope to you.