Out of all the mom friends I currently have, only one is married. The rest are varying degrees of single motherhood—in an off-again, on-again relationship with their child’s father, fighting for child support from a deadbeat ex, or simply moving forward as a completely single mother.
As a married mother, it creates an interesting dynamic for sure. Can I complain about my husband working late? Or his socks on the floor? Will that seem insignificant? Can I relate to my single mom friends when they talk about how much a child support check doesn’t cover? Will they be sympathetic when I talk about my latest (admittedly dumb) argument with my man?
I firmly believe that we’re all moms and our struggles are no less important because of our relationship status. While at times I do wish I had more married mom friends, I’ve learned a thing or two about keeping my relationships with my single mom friends compatible for both of us. Here are my rules for building relationships when your relationship statuses doesn’t mesh:
To the married mom:
• Money might be tight for the single mom, but that doesn’t mean she wants to stay home every weekend. Choose an activity that, if need be, she can bring her kid to with little pressure. A family-friendly restaurant can work, so can a trip to the mall.
• Give her plenty of time to find a babysitter if she doesn’t regularly have one on call.
• Do NOT try to compare what you do when your husband is out of town to what she does all day every day. I learned this one the hard way. At best, she’ll roll her eyes at you. At worst, you’ll get cussed out.
• Talking finances might not be the best idea, particularly if your girl is constantly stressing about money and non-existent child support payments.
• If she asks you if you know any eligible bachelors, feel free to hook her up, but otherwise, keep your nose out of her love life. She won’t be “happier” if she’s part of a twosome and marriage doesn’t solve everything.
To the single mom:
• Don’t assume that your married mom friend is ready to hang out every weekend. If she’s working full-time during the week and filling the mommy role at night, she probably hasn’t had much quality time with her husband and looks forward to the weekend when they can reconnect.
• Life with a husband is NOT always peaches and cream. It is great to have someone there to carry part of the burden of parenting with you, but there are frustrations and disagreements in any relationship, and being married doesn’t erase that. Plus, with parenting in a two-parent household, there’s a lot of compromising involved that single moms don’t often have to deal with.
• Try to avoid those comparisons of who has it harder or easier. At the core of your friendship should be the fact that you are two women working hard to raise good kids. Listening and supporting each other is key to maintaining a great friendship.
Are your mom friends mostly single friends or married friends? Do you find it difficult to relate to other mothers whose relationship status is different from yours?
Words By: Tara Pringle -Jefferson