My husband is working full-time out-of-town, so I must be single-moming it, right? 

OH HECK NO! Please, do not even go there.

Yes, there is added strain to having my husband 200 miles away the vast majority of the time, but for many reasons it is absolutely not like single parenting. For example:

  1. I still get the benefit of his income. That alone is a big deal.
  2. He comes home. He doesn’t live here, and isn’t here as often as I’d like, but he is still a member of our family, and when he comes home he is a full partner. 
  3. He fixes everything around the house. I backed into a fence and busted my tail light. I would have either gotten pulled over for the infraction or paid a dealer $350+ labor to fix my blunder if he wasn’t around. He got a spare part for $53 and fixed it. He does this stuff all the time, I can’t imagine life without it.
  4. He gives me support and encouragement via texts, phone calls and FaceTime, and does the same for the kids.
  5. I have a partner in decision-making and for troubleshooting whatever life hands us.
  6. I don’t have to deal with child support, Friend of the Court, custody, or anything of that sort.

I have never been a single parent, and I have no idea what it’s like. During this time when my husband is far away for prolonged periods, I realize just how much of the weight he carries. Even though I shoulder much more of it when he is gone, it is temporary; even when it’s long term. What I am trying to say is that my stint of flying solo here has little resemblance to true single parenting, and that it’s about time that we drop that unfair comparison. 

I don’t like it when my husband leaves. I look forward to the minute he walks back into the door, and his absences make me all the more thankful that I have him. But I do have him, even if right now it’s just by FaceTime. I am truly ignorant of the path that my single mom friends walk, but I suspect that the last thing anyone needs is for me to pretend to wear their shoes when I’ve never actually tried them on. 

Alethea Mshar

Alethea Mshar is a mother of four children; an adult child who passed away of a drug overdose, one typical daughter and two sons who have Down syndrome, one of whom has autism spectrum disorder and complex medical needs. She has written "What Can I Do To Help", a guide to stepping into the gap when someone you know has a child diagnosed with cancer, which is available on Amazon, and is publishing a memoir titled, "Hope Deferred". She can be found on Twitter as leemshar, and blogs for The Mighty HuffPost as Alethea Mshar, as well as her own blog, Ben's Writing Running Mom on She is also on Facebook as Alethea Mshar, The Writing, Running Mom.