7 lies you tell yourself about why married moms have it better

porn for single moms

The past couple of weeks got me down. All that horrible weather left me with the winter blues, not much socializing and general malaise. It was a bit of a flashback to this time last year when I wrote “Single moms need gigolos:”

I’ve got the single mom blues in the worst way. I’m totally overwhelmed and exhausted and there is no end in sight! While most weeks my kids do stay overnight with their dad once a week, I’ve become jealous and resentful of “healthy” divorced families where both parties work together to support two careers and both parents do their best to be flexible and generous and make life work. I don’t have that. I also don’t have any financial support to run this show. I’m trying to grow my business, but that requires more child care, which would mean less time with my kids and I just can’t make that jump. I’m stuck and I’m resentful. I need more time, and I need a break. But there isn’t a spouse or an ex-spouse readily available to help make that happen.

I don't feel so overwhelmed  this  time. I feel like I've got a pretty good grip on the ole work-life balance. After all, I make a good living in less than 30 hours per week, see plenty of my kids when compared with many working moms. But I'm just alone. If I suffer a dip in my business, we are so vulnerable. If — like Sunday afternoon — I find myself making a fried egg sandwich in the afternoon and am suddenly hit by a wave of pent-up, lingering grief over the losses of the past few years, and despite myself I buckle over the counter in silent sobs. No one is there to catch me. Seeing the kids grow up so fast — Helena, barely 6, already reading so beautifully, devouring chapter books and joyfully teaching her brother and classmates to do the same. Or Lucas, who delights and delights and delights in telling detailed tales of day care, each punctuated by dozens of bright, “And then you know what?!” [lips smack] “And THEN you know what?!” [lips smack].

No on is here to record this life with me. To remember and build memories. To build that life.

And so I dream of a husband. Of being a wife. And I decide that being a wife is better than not being a wife.

For many people, I know that this is very true. For me, I hope it will be true one day.

But it is also a lie I tell myself: that married women have it better. I tell myself, and you likely do, too. But marriage, I think, is like money: If you don't have it, you obsess about the notion that its presence is a magical ticket to happiness. But, I think, marriage is indeed really like money: It only makes life better if you are really happy in the first place, work really hard and appreciate it. Neither a spouse nor money guarantee happiness, or a life better than one without it.

Here are 7 ways that  you tell yourself that married women have it better than you, but very well may not: 

1. She is not lonely. In reality? Plenty of lonely married folks. Go to bed at different times and not quite sure what the other does at the office. Maybe he works very long hours, or is simply not that interested any more.

2. She gets laid all the time. Yep, statistics tell you that married people have more and better sex. Ignore statistics. Lots and lots of married people don't fuck each other. And those who do may do it irregularly, and boringly. Not that there's anything wrong with that. The upside to being single? You have license to be a ho all the live-long day.

3. She has more help at home. Do you read a newspaper? Men don't help with housework. Feminists are trying to sort that out, but until then, you're not likely missing out on any Porn for Women.

4. She has more money. Sure, good chance that two incomes equal more than one income. But the couple's net is not double that of a single person. Remember that two-income families have to support two adults: two cars, clothes and food, airline tickets and unfiltered Pall Malls for two grown-ups. Stuff like that. Also: couples fight about money. A lot. So there's that.

6. She has more free time. Not if you have a visitation schedule with your ex. Because then you're made in the shade and she's jealous of you. Fact.

7. Her kids are better adjusted. OK, you're probably right on that front. But not if you have your act together. Plenty of messed-up people who were raised by married people, after all.

Now, before you label me bitter, I'm not saying this is  true for ALL marriages. (Maybe most. What do I know?) But what I do know is that you (and by “you,” I really mean “I”) cannot be happy if you believe your life must first be something  that it is not. Right? But what about  having a goal or a dream? What about being the exception? What if I am so, so, so inherently happy that it is, like, certain that my marriage will be a success? [lips smack] And then you know what?! [lips smack]  What if I meet a great guy tomorrow? [lips smack] And then you know what?! [lips smack] I will be so much happier than when I was single! [lips smack] Guaranteed! [lips smack]

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About Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.


  1. Anna @authenticparenting on March 11, 2014 at 8:23 am

    I grew up with the notion that one should be happy on her own, and don’t relay on a guy for making her happy. I was that person in my 20’s and some of my 30’s. Now, I can confidently say, that a great guy CAN make you happy and complete. My husband doesn’t do any housework and yes, some of what you say is true…but I can’t imagine my life without him. He is my rock.
    My beloved Grandma always used to tell me that the biggest unhappiness is when you depend on someone financially. She was not independent.
    I won’t label you bitter but I hope you can find someone who will support you emotionally, be there for you, share your life and believe in your dreams. I know one day you will.

    • Emma on March 12, 2014 at 10:29 am

      Hi Anna – I really appreciate this perspective, and I hope you get from the post that I do believe that such a great partnership is very possible and so glad to hear about yours! It is just not automatic because two people are married. I think marriage can be a case of “the grass is greener” …. sometimes it is, often not.

  2. Melissa on March 11, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Maybe because I’m freshly divorced and the reality of married life is still a vivid memory but there is no question I have it better now. On the positive side, I have far fewer household chores to do, more (truly) free time when my kids are with my ex, my kids are much more relaxed now that there is no more tension in the house and when I do get lonely, I spend more time with family and friends. Do I miss dual incomes? Sure, but I don’t miss fighting about money. Regular sex? Yes, I miss it but not his snoring keeping me awake at night.

    Sorry, Anna @authenticparenting. The lack of a husband is what makes me smile these days.

    • Anna @authenticparenting on March 11, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      You don’t have to be sorry…You are free to live your life the way you want.
      My comment was a very personal one. I didn’t write about all married couples, so you know.

      • Emma on March 12, 2014 at 10:32 am


    • Emma on March 12, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Thanks for this perspective, Melissa. I felt the same way for a long time after divorce — I think there is a post-split afterglow that happens, you feel happier, sexier, freer after getting out of a bad situation. I hung out there for a long time! And then sometimes I think that some people are better suited for single life, others for long-term relationships, though I believe that there is so much to be gained from a true partnership.

  3. Claire on March 14, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Really interesting post! Much of what you say is true. But, I think your post is more relevant to middle and upper-middle class single moms. It is harder for poor single moms, and in their case, even a little extra income could help. Of course, my colleague has shown that marriage is not a panacea for poor women either. So, I guess my point is, nice post, and it has me thinking about some research ideas!

    • Emma on March 18, 2014 at 8:32 am

      Thanks Claire – I will check out Kristi’s work!

  4. Claire on March 14, 2014 at 9:42 am

    I should mention my colleague who has done work on poor single moms and marriage is Kristi Williams :)

  5. Valerie on March 16, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    I really needed to hear this, Emma–I’m in a “grass is greener” rut right now. Thanks for the reality check!

    • Emma on March 18, 2014 at 8:30 am

      Hell, I could use one myself right now, Valerie ….

  6. Fathima on June 2, 2015 at 1:50 am

    Thank you so much for writing this! I’ve felt like this at certain times, and am so glad someone actually took the time to echo the unsaid thoughts of single mamas!!

    Number 7 was awesome. However, I get people who literally do a double-take when they realize my 7 year old literally grew up without a father (we divorced when he was 11 months old) and they’re like “this crushes all our previous ideas of what a child from a ‘broken family’ looks, acts, and behaves like.” Makes my heart smile every time. :)

    Number 2, lol always feel that all the time but this made me feel better.

  7. Sara on September 15, 2016 at 12:15 am

    its ok to have the sad and lonely moments, we all do! Hang in there, drink some wine and call someone who is important to you!

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