I Got Divorced Because I Didn’t Want To Be A Married Single Mom Anymore

If I was going to be doing it all alone anyway, why be married?

wife signing divorce papers Andrii Zastrozhnov | Shutterstock

"Are you okay?" my then-husband asked.

I blinked and looked at him.


"You’ve been washing your hands for probably five minutes now."

"Oh," I said and turned off the sink and wiped my hands on a towel.

I’d been thinking of all of the things I needed to do that day and trying to figure out how I was going to get it all done, and I must have zoned out in the middle of washing my hands.

My toddlers had a check-up that afternoon, and I needed to remember to bring enough snacks, diapers and changes of clothes.


I needed to call the dentist and schedule their first check-up. I needed to respond to at least eight highly urgent work e-mails. I was behind on a deadline.

I needed to remember to mail off some boxes, and I also had to drop off some things at their daycare before I drove to work.

I also needed to fill out a form for their speech therapist, and one of their backpack’s zippers had broken and they needed a new one.

We were running out of toilet paper, and I needed to ask the daycare teacher about their nap schedule.

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The daily to-do list I had in my head kept expanding and expanding. As soon as I crossed off one thing, four new things would be added.

It wasn’t even 6 a.m., and I could already feel the burden of everything that needed to be done pressing down on my shoulders.

My then-husband kept trying to talk to me, but I couldn’t pay attention.

I was married, yet carrying all of the burden for the management and care of the children and our home.

I was a married single mom.

"Just let me know what I need to do," my then-husband had told me multiple times. "I don’t know if you don’t tell me!" he’d add.

I married my then-husband because he was smart and capable.


He managed several employees and dealt with schedules and logistics on a regular basis, yet he didn’t bring that same intelligence and skillset to our children and home life.

It’s not like I knew. It was my first time being a new parent too.

I didn’t magically know how many snacks, meals, bottles, outfits, diapers, wipes and butt paste I needed to send with them to daycare.

I read the paperwork when it was sent home and diligently followed it, yet my partner didn’t.

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I believed — and hoped — that he would do that too. He just assumed I’d take care of it, and I did. At a cost.

While my then-husband enjoyed his leisure time in front of the television, I forgot to feed myself. I didn’t work out.

I passed out nearly as soon as my head hit the pillow, yet I never woke up rested.


I was constantly anxious that I’d forget or miss something, and even when I tried to sit and relax, I couldn’t stop worrying about the millions of tasks I could be doing.

I was struggling under the invisible yet visceral weight of mental load and its effect was devastating.

You see, I left my then-husband.

I left him for many reasons (BIG reasons like his drug use, financial infidelity, and abuse), but even if those hadn’t been an issue, I still would have left.

I left because every time my partner didn’t pack our children’s backpacks or lunches, he told me he valued and respected his time more than my own.

I left because every time he saw me setting up appointments, reading daycare communications, writing on the calendar their school schedules, folding clothes, cooking, researching new products to purchase, reading books on parenting, or packing their diaper bag, he chose not to participate.


He chose not to take part.

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I left because every time he chose not to take part, he was showing me that he didn’t love and value the same things I did, or even me, and I moved further and further away from him and our marriage.

"I help!" he said.

This was a refrain from our marriage. Each time I brought up my concerns, my exhaustion, my stress, and my overwhelm, he’d retort with, "I help!"

Or, even more damning, he’d say something like, "You’re lucky I do as much as I do. I don’t know any husbands that do as much as I do for my family."

He didn’t get it, and he never would.

I didn’t want him to help me, because again, that implied it wasn’t his to begin with. It was assumed that whatever it was was mine, and he was "doing me a favor" by "helping" me.


I wanted him to participate, to be my partner in the raising and care of our children and home.

I wanted to not be alone anymore, to not fall into bed every night feeling like I’d never done enough and never could do enough. I wanted to not feel like I was a married single mom anymore.

If I was going to be doing it all alone anyway, why be married? What was even the point?

So I left.

I’ve never regretted leaving. I thought I would. Especially after I kept hearing how much "harder" it would be for me once I was "actually" single.

But it was easier, frankly.

I wasn’t angry anymore, for one.

I was alone, but I didn’t feel alone like when I was in the relationship. I was happier as a divorced single mom than I’d ever been as a married single one.


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Tara Blair Ball is a certified relationship coach and podcast co-host for the show, Breaking Free from Narcissistic Abuse. She’s also the author of three books: Grateful in Love, A Couple’s Goals Journal, and Reclaim & Recover: Heal from Toxic Relationships.