Can parents in a two-parent family ever know what life is like for a single parent?
When your partner in child-rearing isn't available to help out—whether for a day, a week, a month, or even an afternoon—does that offer a glimpse into single parents' struggles?
At any given moment during those times when a spouse or partner is temporarily out of the picture, the challenges may be similar to what real single parent might face:
- Having to be two places at once for kids' activities or appointments
- Pulling extended parent-taxi shifts
- Being the point person for everything else in the household (laundry, cooking, the works)
- Staying on top of homework, personality crises, discipline, permission slips and on and on and on ...
- Not giving into exhaustion—or the desire for a beer or a nap—that might impair your child-monitoring
A real single parent could probably come up with a better list, but those are the kinds of things that came to my mind—such as it is. My spouse is traveling a lot for work this month, and the things falling through the cracks are getting bigger by the day, as are the cracks.
Actually, I've always thought it would make life easier if kids came with three parents instead of two. But so many operate on a third the labor force of that pipe dream. I wonder whether my brief (but still way overlong) tastes of single parenthood really give me any idea of what it's really like for parents flying solo.
Does being a temporary single parent (or a parent with primary responsibility for the kids) give insight into single parenthood?