Last week, amid all the stories about the new modern dad and how he is carrying more burdens at home, a new study was released that didn’t get much attention. The survey of mothers found a very different trend in households: many women feeling like “married single moms.”
That is, they feel like they’re going it alone on the home front.
The survey of 1,200 mothers, working and stay-at-home, was a joint effort between TheBump.com and ForbesWoman.com that looked at co-parenting.
The vast majority of mothers surveyed reported feeling “overwhelmed” and without enough parenting breaks. Two-thirds reported feeling resentment toward their partners. Twenty-four percent of working mothers and 28 percent of stay-at-homes said they sometimes felt like a “married single mom.”
It might explain why the online support network SingleMommyhood recently opened up discussions for “flasms” (feels like a single mom). They asked for dads, or “flasds,” too, but it has been the moms who responded. CafeMom has also set up a stand-alone forum for flasms.
This, despite last week’s Pew fatherhood survey that reported that the majority of today’s dads think being a father today is harder than ever before. It turns out that many of their partners may be raising a skeptical eyebrow at that answer.
The married single phenomenon is, unfortunately, nothing new here, in this work-obsessed region. Many local jobs are short-term and intense or demand constant travel. Many spouses are employed in industries notorious for their demands — politics, journalism and law have never been accused of being family-friendly.
Worse, many families have moved here because of said demanding job, leaving extended families and support networks that might have relieved some of the child-care burdens.
Of course, the commuting issues don’t help. Even if a job is a predictable 40 hours, parents might be more intimate with Dulles Toll Road than their family.
I know of couples who have managed to approach this arrangement as a team. They seem, on the outside at least, to have together made peace with what may be a short-term or lucrative or professionally beneficial assignment. Usually, it involves negotiated trade-offs. (Ever notice how Sunday morning playgrounds are Dadvilles?)
For many more married singles, anger and resentment build quickly. Meanwhile, the worker-bee parent might feel overextended and under-appreciated. Perhaps it’s that dynamic that leads both mothers and fathers to report feeling overburdened.
Would you count yourself as a married single parent? How have you come to terms with the situation?