I know that people mean well with these comments…

  • I don’t know how you do it all! It must be so hard to be a single mom of two young kids.
  • Wow, I bet you really miss your husband. Being a single mom is so tough!
  • You do such a good job with your kids, even while you’re a single mom.

Let me just get this straight. I’m not a single mom.

Don't call me a single mom - why being a mother with a deployed husband is not the same as doing it all on your own.  Military mamas know what I'm talking about.

I think single moms who take good care of their kids are amazing, strong people. I could not imagine going to work every day, putting my kids in daycare, coming home exhausted and still managing to make dinner and connect with each child before bath and bedtime. Every. Single. Day. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not bashing single moms.

I’m just not one of them.

I am married. I have a husband. He’s deployed, yes. We don’t see him for months on end, and then we get little skype chats while he’s in port. It’s hard. But I am not single.

I’m just flying solo for a while.

I know this won’t last forever. There’s an end in sight, and he’ll be back home with us, cooking family breakfasts on Saturdays, helping put the kids to bed, running errands with us, and reading books with kids piled on top of him.

Every day, I send him emails with photos or a cute story about something one of the kids did. I update him on what I’m doing with the house and the blog. I tell him about things I do with friends.

And he writes back that he’s so excited to hear Joey has another tooth, or that Anneliese is talking so much, or that I’m having fun decluttering, or that we had lunch with some friends. And then he tells me about what he’s doing on the ship (observing OPSEC of course), how he misses us, and that he’s looking forward to the next time we can talk/skype/hug.

If I’m “stuck” with something, I can ask him for help, and he does the best he can over email. If I accomplished something great, I can share and he’ll give me a virtual high five. If I have a crappy day, he’ll give me an e-hug.

So while it’s okay to feel sad for me now and then because my husband is away (I feel sad sometimes, but not a 24/7 pity party), please don’t call me a single mom.

My co-pilot is coming back home.


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  1. Dear Emily, Just found you via Pintrest and wanted to send you my “Respects and Admiration”!! Though your husband is the “Star”, Your ARE the Heart of the Navy Family! Wife, mother, artist, crafter,seamstress,cook writer, …you have many jobs and faces and all of them combined do not define the love, joy and blessings God has given you! You are amazing! Keep up the good work! My prayers are with you, the family, and your husband!

  2. I love this! We have 4 kids and my husband is in the army and people always say stuff about how I must hate being a single mom. I nicely tell them I am just solo parenting for a while. I think that with the title of the post you are just trying to convey that you don’t want people to dismiss the importance of your husband just because he can not be there all the time.

    • I just don’t want people to think “wife of a deployed servicemember” is the same as “single” in any way. It’s just not, you know?
      I know you know.
      But yeah… I also think it trivializes the work of truly single mamas.

  3. I can appreciate that you don’t want to be called a single mom if you’re not but the tone of your post, sounds like you don’t want that label because it implies that a single mom is lesser. Adding that you’re not bashing single moms doesn’t negate that you seem to resent the title like it’s a scarlet letter.

    I was a single mom before I found my partner, had a 2nd child and am now a stay-at-home mom. Being a single mom is far more work even if your husband/partner does little of the physical work at home.
    Title of Single Mom is one that I was proud of and I still relish that experience. I didn’t have it all and I did have to go back to work after 8 months and have my mom care for my baby (in Canada, maternity leave is now 1 year but not then). But I owed my own home and managed my finances and I had chosen to have a child one my own.
    It irritates me that so many people look down their noses at someone who is parenting by themselves. You post came off just like that, as though the title single mom wasn’t good enough for you.
    The title single mom should be a badge of honour, implying that you have to work even harder to parent your child rather than a badge of shame for some lack of judgement in your life choices.

    • I think maybe you’re reading this post with the expectations of certain attitudes towards single moms you may have “soaked up” through the years. This isn’t that.

      How is this looking down my nose at single moms?

      “I think single moms who take good care of their kids are amazing, strong people. I could not imagine going to work every day, putting my kids in daycare, coming home exhausted and still managing to make dinner and connect with each child before bath and bedtime. Every. Single. Day. ”

      If I had written about how hard it is to BE a single mom, would you get defensive because I have no idea what it’s like since I’m not one? If I had written, “Don’t call my dog a cat.” would you have been offended because there’s nothing wrong with cats and how dare I dismiss the Title of Cat?

      I’m just not a single mom. I’m not saying don’t call me one because it’s a “bad name” or an “unpleasant title.” It’s just inaccurate.

      And like Nasreen said below, it can be really hurtful to the spouse. My husband hasn’t “left” us or divorced me. He’s in the picture and HE doesn’t deserve to have me called “single” either.

      There is no shame here. Again, it’s not that the “title” isn’t “good enough for” me. It’s that it’s the wrong “title.”

  4. I’m guilty as charged. I just love your attitude towards life and you’re right there at the top of my list of people who inspire me.

  5. On behalf of single moms, thank you. I feel for military families, and other families where one parent travels, a lot. But I appreciate that you recognize that this is a completely different situation than being a true single parent. There have been so many blog posts written, for real and invisibly, by single parents about the differences between us and the married to a traveling partner crowd. It is so refreshing to have someone in that situation say “No, nope, not a single parent, my husband is just away”.

    Thank you.

  6. Love this! We had the opposite with our middle daughter. I went back to work after 12 weeks at home & work meant being on the road for 4 days a week with my husband at home working and taking care of her. The comments folks made were really hurtful. I spent several weeks training one of my new coworkers and she spent the whole time telling me how she could never have “left her kids”. I was making a living and supporting my family.
    Every family is different!

    • Yes, different situations! My husband and other servicemembers would feel hurt to think that people consider us “single” also, I’m sure.


    I *am* a single mom. And I’ve done it both ways…I was a single parent, I got married, and then I got single again this time with more kids. There is a huge difference between “single” and “with a partner gone for a while”. Huge. You explained it perfectly. Thank you.

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