I Am Not a Single Mom

For six months of every year, I am on my own with my son.

But I am not a single mom.

I handle holidays, school breaks, and sick days on my own.

But I am not a single mom.

I keep track of bills and finances, and I handle daily chores like laundry, dishes, and cleaning on top of a full-time job.

But I am not a single mom.

I make school lunches, enforce the bedtime routine, and drive my son to t-ball and other activities.

But I am not a single mom.

There are times when I feel lonely, when I’m on the losing side in the parenting fight, when I wish I didn’t have to attend weddings without a plus one, and when I have to suck it up, be brave, and kill the damn cockroach.


But I am not a single mom because I have a husband– a hardworking husband who is employed in the barge and towing industry. He steers products that can often be dangerous on a river that always is. He works a schedule that takes him away from us 24/7 for six months out of every year. And as much as he imagines himself to be a modern-day Mark Twain, he wishes he were home more. He maintains this schedule for us. 

I can lean on him for support and advice, I can count on his earnings hitting our bank account, and I can put him on speakerphone or Facetime to play the heavy when our kid just WILL NOT brush his teeth. 

I have a partner.

Lessons Learned

I’ll be the first to admit that I am guilty of sighing aloud to friends and coworkers and making references to my husband’s time at work as my “single mom time,” but a single mom’s life is one I’ve never had to live. 

Moms, if you have a spouse or partner — no matter how frequently they are home or how infrequently they help you with chores — you are not a single mom. We, myself included, need to stop throwing that terminology around so casually.

Instead, each time we think we think we feel like single moms, let’s look to each other for support and lift one another up–especially the actual single mothers out there who are raising their kids without a partner to lean on and maybe even without any family nearby. They are the epitome of strong.

NO mom should be single in the sense that she’s without a tribe that provides support, advice, company, or even a silent, knowing nod. I’m thankful for the mothers and fathers in my tribe, especially when my husband is working. They have my back. I’ll have yours.

Katie M
Katie is a towboater’s wife and devoted mother to son, Olie (2015). She's lived across the Southeast and has been a proud, Mardi Gras-loving resident of New Orleans since 2008. Though she recently transitioned to the Communications Director role at her school, she is and will always be an educator at heart and a fierce advocate for gifted learners. Football season is her favorite time of year; she bleeds red and black for the Georgia Bulldogs and can be found cheering loudly with her fellow Who Dats in the Superdome. She enjoys making to-do lists, drinking too much iced coffee, and beating the guys in fantasy football.


  1. I feel like you wrote this article just for me! I am also the wife of a towboater and the mom of an amazing 4 year old son. Thank you for writing my feelings into words 🙂

    • I can’t tell you how happy this makes me feel, Jamie, to know that someone out there sees herself in this post and that I could help put another towboater wife’s feelings into words. Thank you so much for commenting. 🙂

  2. Yup here too. Husband works 90 days on and off year round on ships. Sometimes as far away as Belgium or Africa. I have twin girls that are 19 months and the hardest part for him is having to say goodbye to them and knowing they are too little to understand why he disappears for so long. But as hard as it is for me to be on my own with them without any family to help I am still so thankful I’m not a single mom!

    • Hi, Corinne! Do you ever find yourself wondering how workers in this industry (and their families) felt without FaceTime or internet in general? I can’t begin to put myself in their shoes; I’m so thankful that I still have access to my husband—- and that he and my son get to see and speak to each other— while he’s offshore. And twins, wow! Go, mamma! You’re doing great 🙂

  3. To echo Jamie’s post, I felt as if I was reading my own everyday thoughts. I’ve tried to explain this to so many people that I’ve just given up and let them have their own opinions. As a child of a single mom, I know the struggles are not the same and she didn’t have the luxury of a little chalkboard countdown in the wall. The days are long, but the months fly by quickly.
    Thank you for writing this (and thank you to whatever mysterious Facebook algorithm placed it in my newsfeed lol).


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