I was a military wife for 7 years. I gave birth to my first son while my ex-husband was deployed and have honestly done most of the parenting alone, whether it be because he was gone or wasn't pitching in. Not to say he never parented, because when he did, it was a huge help.
I used to say that "single parenting" was hard in those circumstances.
I had no idea what single parenting was.
That was not single parenting. Co-parenting long distance maybe. Feeling alone as a parent maybe. Feeling like I was carrying most of the parenting burden maybe. But single parenting, it is not single parenting.
See in all of my past situations, the time was going to end or it could have. Eventually he would call and we could talk about my struggles, get advice from him and have his support. Eventually he would come home. Eventually, I would get fed up with carrying all of the weight and would talk to him about stepping up to help more. The season ends and co-parenting begins again. I am not saying that it wasn't hard and it isn't hard for those who are in those situations. It is hard. You have something to look forward to though. He/she will come home. He/she will call. You can tell him/her to get their butt in gear and be a parent.
As a single parent, there's no choice. There is hardly any alone time without paying someone for it (and time at work does not count as alone time.) And as a single parent, really how often can we afford to pay someone for it?
There's no tag-teaming with the kids when you feel defeated and just can't handle anymore whining or fighting.
There's no running out alone to the store (and sneak a quick coffee.)
I wish the term "single" parenting wasn't used as a general term in society today. Feeling like you are parenting alone is one thing. Actually having to do it alone is another.
And, being a single parent isn't a bad thing. Just really hard.