Sometimes, I look back on my time being a single mom rather fondly. Doing it on my own was something I needed at the time. In many ways it was very liberating, and I bonded with The Boy in a way I never could have as a married parent. And then I remember how lonely it was, as well, when I thought it would always be just the two of us. When there was no one looking out for me besides myself, money was tight, and I had to fill every adult role. Being ill was completely out of the question because there was no one to take care of either of us.
And then I remember even further back when I was married the first time, and one of my friends tells a story about a time soon after The Boy was born when I was so ill that I called her to take me to the hospital. She tells the story because I have absolutely no memory of it (funny how the brain works). Yes, I was married at the time, and when my friend tells the story, she says that when she arrived to pick me up, she watched the ex step over me, lying prone on the floor, on his way out to his grown-man basketball league. I guess I was dehydrated, for which I have gone to the emergency room a couple of times in my life, and apparently he had no inclination to take me to the hospital himself, regardless of the fact that I was very visibly ill, and we had an infant at home.
Some single moms get very vocal and agitated when married moms say they feel like single moms. I’ve been in both positions and try not to judge. Life as a single mom can be very, very difficult, and life as a married mom can be very, very difficult, as well. Both positions can also be incredibly rewarding and satisfying. And unless you are living someone’s life 24 hours a day, you really have no idea of another person’s challenges.
I find the same type of vocalizing and agitation in the autism community on various topics, and judgement all around. Words like “aspie” and “high functioning” can cause full-throated arguments, as can person-first language, vaccines, Autism Speaks, and even the varying parts of the spectrum and who has it “harder”.
I don’t often swear in my writing, but I call bullshit.
Everyone, EVERYONE on this planet has their own struggles, some more visible than others. Everyone also has their own opinions. And there is very little in this world that is truly black and white, right and wrong. Our diversity and duality make us human, and dare I say, interesting. We don’t have to agree to like each other, learn from each other, or coexist. We don’t have to compete for whose life is the hardest – there is no trophy. But I have learned that experience is the best teacher, and if we can be civil to each other long enough to listen to one anothers’ experiences, there is a lot to learn about our kiddos, ourselves, and these interesting people with whom we share this space on Earth.