Saturday, May 25, 2013

Married single parent

Sounds like an oxymoron right? I am sure it is but at the same time most people I know understand what I am talking about. You are married, you have a spouse that you share a life with, and you have a family. However there comes a time you feel like when it comes to the kids you are doing t all on your own. This is not to take a dig at the true single parents or make it seem like they don't have it worse than us but that level of frustration has got to be a big higher because we have these expectations in our mind that we are a team we work together and we do it as one. 
I often think those who raise children who have special needs already sort of have a nail in the coffin so to speak when it comes to that whole working as a team, making it work moto. In the majority of the families I know of it is the mother that does the majority of the work when it comes to the raising and well being of the children. When I say that I mean they take them to their doctor apts, dentist, school functions, extracurriculars, and set up the play dates. Now this is not to discount the father's who do this but there is just generally one parent who is in charge, so to speak, when it comes to these sort of things. For the most part we embrace these responsibilities. We were given this responsibility because we were right for the job. We know the needs that need to be met, the things that need to be taken care of so therefor they become ours to handle. Again sometimes this isn't always the case but I am just going off what is typical in a normal typical home. 
So back to where I feel special needs families are at a sort of disadvantage so to speak. We as the primary caretaker of the kids do all that we do that is required of having a typical child but then you add whatever that special need is to the mix . It might be extra appointments, therapy, traveling to specialists, home healthcare you name it. Suddenly there are days you feel like you don't have a partner that its you and only you taking on the tasks of that child and there is no wingman, go to person, partner, teammate to bail you out. Sometimes this happens just because the other parent feels inferior and has no idea what it is they really need to do and feel helpless. It generally isn't that they don't want to help or they don't feel like being involved they just have no clue where to jump in and what to do.
While that parent who feels like they are doing it all wants to scream and shake their partner into submission, they avoid doing so for many reasons. I don't think I need to elaborate but we come to our sense and realize that we should take that energy and direct it to a more useful purpose which would be helping that spouse help us more. Sometimes this works, however I won't lie sometimes this results in even bigger problems. The key is in how you address it and how you go about solving this problem. Delivery is key!
I encourage families who have special needs children to invest in that sitter so that you can attend workshops, trainings, symposiums, and of course date night. That trustworthy sitter you have for your child will be worth their weight in gold if that means you two can get away and realize what it is that you need to work on. It is hard to be that "single" parent to your child and its hard on that parent to feel like they have to carry that entire load when they don't need to. Life is hard enough no need to make it even harder. 
I did the single parent thing. It wasn't fun by any means but at the same time I knew that I had to handle it all. I couldn't turn around to my partner and "I need back up, please take over, help me out!" I accepted this as part of my choice to be a single parent and did it with ease I believe. Not that I would want to do it again but I know if God forbid I ended up in that situation again I would be ok. However I am married, I have my go to person, my wingman so I plan on utilizing him the best I can when I can. This is a learning experience for the both of us. However with the right tactics we will be better than the "married single parent" status.