Parenting - It's Always Greener on the Other Side

Filed under: Opinions


Do you think other parents have it easier than you? Photo courtesy sxc.hu.

When you choose a certain parenting path, I think it's natural to look at how someone else is doing it and wonder if they've got it better.

Take, for instance, a Baby Talk poll recently featured over at Motherlode. Over 14,000 moms were asked whether married moms or single moms had it easier. And the results were surprising: Twenty-two percent of married mothers sometimes wished they were single.

Why? Take a look:

  • 76 percent said they wouldn't have to negotiate parenting with a partner
  • 69 percent thought it would be easier without having to work on the marriage too
  • 30 percent said they'd like to not have to deal with in-laws


I have one single friend, though, who thinks it's married parents who have it easy. "I have friends who'll call me up and say, 'I'm a single mom this weekend,' when their husbands are away," she says. "Being a single parent doesn't just mean entertaining your kids by yourself for a weekend; they have no idea what it's like physically, emotionally and financially."

Difficult in-laws or not, she imagines that having a partner has to make things smoother. "You've got two incomes, and you've always got backup."

Single or married, working or not working, two kids or four kids, rich or poor ... there's always a reason to believe that someone out there has an easier parenting gig than you do.

I work from home, and during the hours that I'm working, my four-year-old is generally entertaining herself. This makes me feel guilty, and I said as much to a friend last week. She immediately cut me off. "Moms who work outside the home have plenty of guilt too, trust me." She'd misunderstood me -- I wasn't relating my situation to someone who worked outside the home -- but she's been a full-time parent with a full-time job, and she was sure the grass was much greener where I stood. She was probably right.

Last week, Jen over at One Plus Two (who is amazing, if you aren't already reading her) wrote a fantastic post on her propane jungle stove. She hates it and wanted a new one, until a neighbor said something that made her stop short. "Maybe if you do," he said, "You can give this one to my mom, because our stove isn't is nice as this."

One of her commenters said something that's left me thinking ever since: "It kind of makes you wonder -- is there one person who has everything, and one person who has nothing? Because, it's like we all have stuff, and some people have more and some people have less, so where's the end of the line?"

We can look at parenting the same way, i think. There are always going to be parents who have it easier -- or at least appear to. And there's always going to be someone who's struggling more than you are too. Where does it end? It doesn't, but it helps put things into perspective.

Do you ever look around and feel like other parents have it easier or harder than you do? Share your story with us in comments.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.