Michelle Obama Was Right: Why It's Okay for Married Moms to Feel like Single Parents
When the first lady slipped up and called herself a single mother in an interview recently, it made a small news story bigger. Well, a little bigger. It was covered in a small blurb on Huffington Post, tweeted and Facebooked a bit, and then wrapped up in a paragraph on vegetable gardens for school kids and presidential fundraising.
But if the statement was made a bit louder, I suspect a good portion of the country would be nodding along in understanding as Michelle Obama stated, "Believe me, as a busy single mother- or, I shouldn't say single, as a busy mother. Sometimes, you know, when you've got a husband who is president, it can feel a little single. But he's there," in a television interview with a CBS affiliate in Vermont.
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Obama clarified, "But as a busy working mom, and before coming to the White House, I was in that position, you know, as well. Working, driving kids to practice, not having enough time to shop or cook, not having the energy, you know, the resources weren't the issue but time and energy is key."
Single parents, particular those who are primary parents in the deal, get this. And so do many married parents who have a spouse with a demanding job, who live in separate cities, who have tensions or are working on big family issues, is absent or inattentive, is serving in the military or one of the many, many reasons a mother or father is not or cannot be there during the critical hours of after-school activities, dinner rush, hours in the ER waiting room, during sick and sleepless nights.
I used to cringe when I'd read a status update or hear a married friend exclaim that she'd be a single mom for the weekend while her husband was out of town. I'd feel frustrated at the blanket statement when (the assumption is) that the husband-father will return home with hugs and kisses and five minutes to take out the garbage and help with homework, no matter how weary or tired-eyed or crabby or wishing he was still in an office conference room or with his guy friends or tending to business in another city. I'd feel defensive about dads I know who complained about handling all the details while their wives were working or traveling or whatever, even knowing all might not be fabulous or secure or peaceful in that family situation.
You don't get to call yourself a single parent, I'd think, if the other parent comes back and participates.
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