The Plight of The Single Woman?

My friend B. forwarded this article to me this morning.

Much of the research on work-life conflict focuses on harried working mothers trying to juggle everything, desperate for more time, with lots of reasons to leave work early. But an even higher proportion of single women yearn for more free time; 68% of childless women say they would prefer having more time over more money, compared with 62% of women with children, according to a 2011 More magazine survey of 500 college-educated professional women over 34.

“People talk about, how do working mothers do it? But how do singles do it?” says Sherri Langburt, founder of, a New York agency that advises brands on marketing to singles and runs a network for bloggers on singles topics.

Just so I’m understanding this properly… now want props for being being able to wash their clothes, feed themselves and work? They want credit for being responsible adults? For reals? And we’re supposed to compare the responsibilities of a single parent – the biggest one being raising a child that will become a productive member of society – to those of someone without kids?

I’m not going to lie. There are some days when the burden of being the breadwinner and getting everything done gets overwhelming. I took a major financial hit shutting down the Sex Ed Salons. Huge, in fact. I don’t regret it for a minute.  I’m lucky to have so many options to generate income, as well as a father who planned well for me and left me with no school loans, and that I was able to re-build a new channel. But I made this choice. Just like people who go to business school or law school made theirs. Being a grown up sucks sometimes. No question. I have sympathy for anybody who has to support themselves or support a family on their own. The emotional toll is huge and exhausting for both. However, it seems slightly self-indulgent to whine about your inability to do your laundry or go to the gym when there are single and coupled up people out there who don’t know how they are going to pay their mortgage next month.

Without a partner to help, singles must “get the laundry done, get to the gym, buy groceries and get to the job,” plus plan social activities or volunteer work and sometimes care for aging relatives, too.

“No one is focusing attention on those women or men, who are achieving such great levels in their careers, all alone,” Ms. Langburt says.

I realize I might be using a tiny group on which to base my opinions but…I know lawyers who work insane hours yet still manage to go on a couple dates a week and meet up with friends at least once a week. Are there phases here and there were free time is sparse? Absolutely. I have another friend who works for a financial firm AND went to business school full time who also manages to have social outings a couple times a week. Then there’s my other friend who works from 9 til about 7 each night, gets to the gym, travels 2-3 times a year and has 1-2 dates per week. Oh, and all these people also manage to get to the supermarket and get their clothes washed. Plus there are these things called laundry services as well as this nifty thing called The Internet where you can, like, buy stuff and have it delivered.

A 37-year-old New Jersey project consultant with an active social life says she faces piles of dirty dishes, laundry and unanswered mail when she gets home each evening, and she can’t get started on important financial planning.

“Some of my friends who are married or in long-term relationships are always asking me for my fun New York City gossip and my ‘Sex and the City’ lifestyle,” says Melissa J. Anderson, 29, a website editor who lives in Brooklyn. But that “is not exactly the case.”

She commutes an hour round-trip to her job, where she puts in a 10-hour workday, and attends work-related events several evenings each week. Weekends, she volunteers at an AIDS charity, works a few more hours and squeezes in time at the gym. She recently dined on beans and rice for a week because she couldn’t make it to her neighborhood grocery store before it closed at 8 p.m.

Okay…seriously???  This is their version of suffering? Here’s an idea…wash your plate after you use it instead of letting it sit in the sink. Ta da! Why does this sound like these people suffer from a bad case of The I Don’t Wannas?

“I’m tired…I don’t wanna do my laundry.”

“I want to take a hot bath. I don’t wanna go food shopping.”

To me, the people in this article came off insanely self-absorbed and  the gripes seemed trivial. Is this part of the self-victimization that we’ve been talking about around here? Or is this a case of underlying resentment towards people who managed to find someone to support them emotionally or otherwise?

My father always said to me, from a  young age, that life is about choices. At some point, whether it’s because you have children or choose to get married or choose to pursue a career, you’re going to have to sacrifice. That’s what being adult is all about. Nobody said that life, whether you’re single or not, was going to be easy.

Maybe that’s the problem? Perhaps the people in this article and those who inspired it had inordinate expectations of what their life was supposed to look like?

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35 Responses to “The Plight of The Single Woman?”

  1. The Private Man Says:

    “…singles now want props for being being able to wash their clothes, feed themselves and work?”

    According to the article, single WOMEN want those props. Speaking as a single man in roughly that age group, I have ZERO sympathy for the plight of those described in the article. If single and without kids, getting one’s life in order is rather simple and straightforward unless encumbered by a too-large living space and too much stuff.

    The guys I know in the Manosphere never complain about having to perform the domestic arts, it’s an assumed responsibility unworthy of drama.

    They just complain about women.

    • Joey Giraud Says:

      I for one would be happy to never again see the insidiously derogatory “manosphere.”

      And while you’re at it, take “mancave” and “mancamp” with you.

  2. Kay Says:

    My friend and I were discussing this the other day, not about the complaints of single women, but the complaints of moms, single or not. If i hear another mother tell me how hard motherhood is, I will seriously lose it. Does anyone go into parenthood thinking its easy? I dont have kids but know that it’ll be the hardest job i’ll ever have, should i opt to have children. Why are people surprised that being (sometimes solely) responsible for another human being is hard? Why are people suddenly acting like parenthood is a new concept, that they’re the first ones to have children? All of a sudden being a mom or dad is hard? Yes, its hard, it’s always been hard, you just complain a little louder than the previous generation. And if it so hard, stop having children, or, shut up about it.

    But onto single women. I know, the grass is always greener on the other side, but I look forward to married life, when I can use my husband or children to get out of things. Because im single, i take on, and am sometimes pushed into, more responsibilities. Whether its at work, with my family, or my volunteer organizations, I carry a heavier load. Married people (or those with kids) usually have an excuse (in my experience) to get out of obligations. Sometimes, i feel guilty that they’ve got more ‘responsibilities’ at home. But really, they chose to have those responsibilities. I’m not complaining, these are things I’ve chosen to do.
    Maybe single women do take on a more responsibility. Maybe we stay at work longer, get assigned more projects, and are less likely to leave early or come late because of yet another emergency with the family. If that’s the case, do something about, but complaining isn’t ‘doing something.’

    My point is, life is hard. Its harder for some people in some ways and others in other ways. And for a small percentage of people, it isn’t hard at all, but that’s a very small percentage. Complaining about how hard it is will not make it any easier. Complaining about the decisions we’ve made only shows that maybe we regret those decisions. If you don’t want to face dirty laundry, take your clothes to the cleaners. If you don’t want to do the dishes, get a housekeeper. If your plate is too full, slide some stiff off. Whether you’re married or single, with or without children, shut up and get on with life, we don’t care to hear you complain.

    • Leslie Says:

      And the chuch says “AMEN”!!!!!

    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      Why are people surprised that being (sometimes solely) responsible for another human being is hard?

      Because nobody knows how hard it is until they do it. They have an abstract idea of the complexities and stress level involved. But they don’t have a true understanding of it until they actually do it. Parenting today versus 10, 20, 30 years ago is exponentially more difficult. There are more threats, and more concerns.

      Sorry, but your rant is as self-absorbed and self-important as the stories in that article.

      • India Says:

        I actually found Kay’s comments insightful. She is not excusing lazy singles who think doing laundry is beneath them. She is merely stating that these statuses are our choices and we have to be responsible for the decisions we make.

      • The D-man Says:

        Oh, c’mon, exponentially harder? Maybe for a single parent, but parents benefit from all the technological and social progress we’ve had, too. To cite one example off the top of my my head: the Family and Medical Leave Act.

    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      If you don’t want to face dirty laundry, take your clothes to the cleaners. If you don’t want to do the dishes, get a housekeeper.
      One of the problems is that the people working so many hours they don’t have time to do such things aren’t making enough more money to pay someone else to do them either. They’re actually working all those extra hours for negative wages–though they usually haven’t put enough thought into the matter to realize that.

    • Jada Says:

      “I’m not complaining”

      Uh, yeah you are. Your comment was one big, whiney complaint.

  3. LostSailor Says:

    Yeah. First World Problems.

    Somehow, I’ve been managing to wash my clothes, get to the market, cook my food, wash the dishes, have a social life and even run a vacuum around once in a while while holding down a job since I was 16. I never though about complaining about it.

    Damn. I guess I’d better start growing up and taking on modern adult responsibilities: bitching about how tough daily life is…

  4. Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

    Maybe it’s me, but it sounds more like the women in the article suffered from poor time management skills than anything else. You live in Brooklyn and can’t find a supermarket that stays open past 8pm? Huh?

    • Eliza Says:

      Maybe this person lives in a certain area that places close by 8pm…it’s reality for some. Sure, we can order from Don’t doubt that this person is telling the truth – or hasn’t explored her area to see if there are other options. In Queens, most grocery stores close by 9pm…and if you work late–the only time you can do food shopping is on the weekends. It’s reality. Not a case of poor time management. Just a case of working longer than normal hours. Some of us don’t have a choice–we don’t make our own hours–we work for someone else. We need to be available and be team players, especially in today’s economy.

      • Crotch Rocket Says:

        In Queens, most grocery stores close by 9pm
        So lemme get this straight: In my sleepy little suburb in Texas, grocery stores are open 24×7, but in New York City, the “city that never sleeps”, grocery stores close by 9pm? Weird.

        • LostSailor Says:

          There are always bodegas open. And, what, they never heard or ordering a delivery from the 24-hour diner? You can always get food in NYC at any hour…

        • wishing u well Says:

          From what I’ve seen – the quality of food from a good supermarket, which you see more of in the suburbs, as well as pricing tends to be more favorable than going to a bodega. Not to mention a broader selection of certain things. I have friends that live in NYC who make sure that they buy gas and go food shopping in northern NJ for those reasons.

    • Karen Says:

      I think alot of princesses around.

  5. Snowflake Says:

    Moxie, your dad nailed it. It is about choices. Job too hard, find something less stressful, we make time for what we want not sit there and complain about the choices we clearly make that we have full control over. Being an adult is about sacrificing. Want that swanky apartment, job title, new car, x, y, z… you have to give up a, b, c, d, time, money etc etc. Life is about sacrifice and about balance, you find the right balance for you.

    I do not work in some high flying insane stress job, I have the choice to do so at my company but I choose not to because I want certain things in my personal outside of work life, the sacrifice is I do not make as much as I know I am capable of, big deal, its just money, it does not keep me warm at night or provide me with amazing stories of adventures.

    “can’t find a supermarket that stays open past 8pm” – I live in a small city yet there are grocery stores galore open til 11pm. There is no excuse for making a quick stop to pick up x, y, z. God dam even some walmarts superstores here are 24hrs, again excuses excuses. What need someone to wipe their tush too?

    I have a wonderful amazing fantastic colleague here at work, she is married with two teenage boys, her work is always spot on, ALWAYS! And she has the best work ethic and demeanor… wait for it,….. she suffers from MS. Yet she NEVER EVER EVER complains….. EVER! (PS: For those who are unaware, living with MS is akin to having the worst flu every day).

  6. Mike Says:

    TYPICAL of the female mindset. And they wonder why all we want is sex from them.

  7. Kristen Says:

    I have a high stress job, work lots of long, unpredictable hours, and I do feel like since I don’t have kids waiting for me at home I’m expected to be available for late nights at work and to be able to travel at a moment’s notice. I feel like there is something to be said for work-life balance, and if the expectations are different for a single person vs. someone who has kids, then it’s something worth considering.

  8. offensivedan Says:

    I think the point is that a lot of people with kids or who are married believe that singles don’t have problems and have all this free time. It’s not complaining as it is a fact. There’s nothing wrong with highlighting this. Fact, if you are single and you get sick you don’t have a spouse to pick up the slack or take care of you. You are on your own and, if you cannot work, you are screwed. Fact, two persons can get more accomplished and divide responsibilities than one person can.

    Also, people with kids ALWAYS use that excuse to get out of doing work in the office or poor performance. I can’t tell you how many times people will miss work because their kid has a runny nose or because it was his/her last day of high school and they wanted to be there. As for me I have no sympathy. Noone told you to have 3 or more kids.

    Further, singles don’t receive the same benefits that couples with kids receive, such as a tax credit for each brat. A lot of my friends will say it’s not much, but, when I challenge them to not claim it, they shut up in a hurry. Plus, I believe you get a tax credit in my State for sending your kid to a catholic, private school. All of thse credits and deductions add up to lost revenue for the government which they will recoup some other way.

    Look, I’m not complaining about being single and childless. First, I can say that I’m not paying child support or alimony to an ex-wife screwing someone else. Second, it’s not worth brining a child into his world at its current state. e.g. overpopulation and nuclear proliferation Also, has anyone noticed how expensive college is these days? Imagine having to save for three (3) kids? Finally, all the money I earn goes to me.

    Also, Moxie, I disagree with your comment, “parenting today versus 10, 20, 30 years ago is exponentially more difficult. There are more threats, and more concerns.”

    LIke what? War? Terrorism That’s been part of manking since the beginning of history. Man has just found other ways of killing each other.

    Disease? Tell that to people who lived prior to the discovery of peniclllin and other antibiotics.

    Texting and Facebook? Easy solution.

    Raising a kid does not make you special. At this day and age, it simply makes you a contributor to the Earth’s overpopulation.

    • Angeline Says:

      I agree with almost everything you’ve said here, except the time off – aren’t they using PTO/vacation days? You get to use those for whatever you choose. Am I missing something here? Even if you’re salary, if you take time off you have to charge it to your vacation balance. If the other people don’t take their vacation, that’s on them.

      People generally think whatever stage they’re at is the hardest one yet. Kids think school is overwhelming until they add work on top of it. Then they graduate (in theory) and start pilinng on the work of keeping up with bills plus housework plus work. Then some get married. More stuff. Plus the spouse’s stuff. Then some have kids. Each stage adds another layer of responsibilities, and they thought every minute! was packed full until they get to the next stage.

      Then they look back with nostalgia at how easy the previous stage was.

      • LostSailor Says:

        There are a lot of companies, especially in NYC, that will give you vacation days, but then quietly penalize you if you take them all, or take too many at the same time. I’ve been with the same company for many years and have amassed a lot of vacation days, but there have been years when I couldn’t use them all because I was on multiple deadline projects. (I did get them to finally institute a roll-over policy so didn’t actually lose too many.)

        But I didn’t bitch about it. (Okay, maybe just a little…)

      • offensivedan Says:

        Look, noone said you can’t take a vacation. But, when you are part of a work team and you have a major project due and you–a parent–decide to take off because you want to be present for your kid’s last day of high school, that’s a problem. It’s not fair to the rest of the team who will have to pick up the slack. I see that all the time with parents and when they get canned I don’t shed a tear.

    • Joey Giraud Says:

      Raising a kid does not make you special.

      Sure it does. To the kid.

      At this day and age, it simply makes you a contributor to the Earth’s overpopulation.

      Guilty as charged, and proud of it.

  9. Karen Says:

    Speaking from experience… divorced when both my boys were in diapers. They are grown now & I never remarried. I have NO SYMPATHY for any of these single ladies I worked full time & I was the father, mother, provider, nurturer etc etc.. you name it. I spent most of my free time at ball games. I did the laundry & the cooking. Here we go again with the self entitlement world in which we now live. My parents had it harder than me and their parents even harder than them. There were days and times I cried that I would never pull it off. They are grown now and the free time I have available is like GOLD to me. Its Priceless.

    • Joey Giraud Says:

      Right on. The result of self-esteem building and consumerist promise of ultimate choice is a generation of entitled people who feel they deserve everything.

      Pity them, as reality is bound to disappoint.

      And kudos to you. Single motherhood is hard, something I would never wish on my ex.

  10. Trouble Says:

    Quote from above: “I have a high stress job, work lots of long, unpredictable hours, and I do feel like since I don’t have kids waiting for me at home I’m expected to be available for late nights at work and to be able to travel at a moment’s notice. I feel like there is something to be said for work-life balance, and if the expectations are different for a single person vs. someone who has kids, then it’s something worth considering.”

    I think single people with no kids are overestimating the difference.. I’ve done the same job for the past 12 years—while married, divorced, and now married again. I regularly travel 4-10 days per month. As a single parent, i probably felt more pressure to work the hours my firm required from me and to travel when need-be, because it’s hard to find a good-paying job right now. I probably travel the most of anyone in my department, because I have seniority, and that entails a higher level of responsibility to the agency.

    And, if you lose your job as a single person, it’s scary, but it’s not even close to as scary as the thought of being an unemployed single parent with two kids. The pressure to not only keep your job, but to excel so that you are never at risk of being unemployed—it’s intense.

    I think that most of the single people I know have no idea how much free time they actually have, relative to me. I wouldn’t trade my kids for the world, though.

  11. VJ Says:

    Whoa, Trouble’s back and she’s married again! Congrats! Me, I’m not sure what’s going on here, but raising kids exponentially more difficult than 10, 20 & 30 years ago? Silly! Why?

    1.) Yes, 10, 20 & 30 years ago, especially in NYC there was exponentially More crime! More murder, more assaults, more rapes & robberies.

    2.) 30+ years ago? You had little more than Oven ready TV dinners. Despicable things barely edible and now not even fit enough to be fed to inmates. And yet, I grew up on ‘em! Now? There’s infinitely more choices in the supermarket. The ‘ready made meals’ segment has Exploded, the frozen food isle in any supermarket is 3 times the size it was 20-30 years ago because of it.

    3.) Lower standards. Most folks? Jut don’t clean like momma used to. And it shows, everywhere. Kids in torn dirty clothes that would never be tolerated as ‘school ready’ 30 years ago! That was costly to upkeep & maintain, unless they were the regimental ‘school uniforms’ which still needed to be washed and ironed almost daily. Today, who the hell irons much? Do your bathrooms get cleaned once a week? How about the household?

    4.) Food availability. Wonder why it’s wholly unneeded and unnecessary to actually shop for food every day? We’ve got so much of it available at our fingertips! So much in fact that the nation is massively overweight! The average household has 1000’s of calories lying around to be readily consumed, much of it without much needed cooking. (Left over candy might keep you feed for weeks alone!) Fifty years ago this was impossible. No one was able to keep that much food on hand. The surplus here is enormous. Your kids can indeed scrounge and feed themselves quite nicely w/o resorting to much cooking at all in most households, and they do so regularly. Thirty years ago momma had to intervene to make certain the young ones did indeed not ‘starve’.

    5.) Kids are exposed to much less danger. Fewer of them are working on dangerous family farms, and child labor laws have outlawed many of the dangerous environments they previously were exposed to. They’re not only safer at home, but in any car as a result. Exponentially so too!

    6.) Better health care. Most kids are suffering today from fewer infectious diseases, and fewer die as a result. More are surviving chronic diseases like cancer, (even if they’re picking up diabetes much earlier). There’s lower infant mortality, and lower childhood death rates overall.

    7.) Communication devices now track or enable parents to contact their kids instantly almost at any time of day or night. That’s what technology can do for you. Even 10 years ago this was less possible. And 20-30 years ago? Perhaps impossible for many. Thirty-40 years ago? Unheard & undreamed of.

    So it may be more confusing, it may be troublesome and trying as always coming to grips with all the new choices, but parenthood today is in no manner shape or form ‘exponentially more difficult’ than it was 20-30 years ago. IMHO. Cheers, ‘VJ’

  12. mari Says:

    What trouble said..”And, if you lose your job as a single person, it’s scary, but it’s not even close to as scary as the thought of being an unemployed single parent with two kids. The pressure to not only keep your job, but to excel so that you are never at risk of being unemployed—it’s intense.”

    I totally agree, I am widowed, two kids, one in college, one getting there. I work crazy hard so they never wonder if I might be expendable and one of my biggest fears is losing my job and having no way to support myself and kids. Plus I cook, clean etc etc..but it was a lot harder when they were little – and soon I’ll have crazy free time- will be awesome!!

  13. Steve From the City Next Door Says:

    This has been in the back of my mind recently. Tonight, the two singles on my team had to call into a meeting from 11-12pm. The two single guys are the ones that have to call into the odd hour meetings with the exception that my manager sometimes joins us for the early morning ones.

    The other team members cannot stay up late because they have to be early to get their off to school…they can’t call into the early morning ones because they are getting the kids ready. And heck, the two of us are also expected to work all the regular hours.

    At my last job we didn’t have the odd hours, but it always seemed like the singles were the first there and the last leave. And one married with kids lady about twice a month would leave early for some kid thing – even though she was only scheduled for 2.5 days a week.

    I would really like to quit my job but I can’t in this job market so I take the abuse.

    I think the place you live also has a great affect. Where I live now, it is much harder to live than where I used to. I have to drive a significant time just about everything besides the grocery store and target. Even the closest reasonable bar is 20 minutes away (there is a little hell hole about 5 minutes away – though it usually closes about 10:30pm and it is pretty nasty and nobody but a few drunks there). I guess that is the price for being in the suburbs. I would really like to live in the city but then my commute really sucks – I don’t have a good option. One thing that sticks out in mind is after living here and being on the job my manager had a meeting with me to see how things were going – I mentioned how I was finding it difficult, etc – he responded yeah, everytone says that. He doesn’t know how he would manage without his wife being a stay-at-home mom.

    I wonder if the reason there is no social life – everybody is just trying to get by.

    I went to company function this weekend and a guy who was hired about the same time i was caught a ride back with me. He is thinking of leaving. He said he had made no friends in the year he was here outside the company and asked about me – I have a few acquaintances but no friends outside of work. The other interesting thing…I am the only person here that I know of that does not have someone living with them. And it is a fairly cheap area to live.

    • chillybeans Says:

      Wow, Steve from the city, you actually begrudge a mom leaving work early twice a month for “some kid thing” ! Maybe that’s why you have no friends, you sound bittter and entitled, pretty much the same kind of person described in the article. And FYI, you are LUCKY in this difficult work environment to work for a company that gives a rats ass about their employees and lets them work part time and gives them a break if they have family obligations, because that has not been the case for me with some of the bosses I have had, where you are lucky to leave early once every six months.
      And YOU decide where you live. I live in a nice suburb, with lots of restaurants/retail nearby etc, but I live in a small house and don’t drive a fancy car. I also work two jobs. That’s my compromise. We all have to make them, single, not single, parent, not parent.

      • Steve From the City Next Door Says:

        Sorry that was a bit of rant and I certainly was not at my best.

        The point I was trying to make was that the mom got a free pass…she could leave work early pretty much whenever she wanted. Why didn’t she schedule things when she wasn’t schedule to work or change her work schedule (even just for the week)? I only got to leave early 3 times in 2 years…and the work was still there waiting for me. In her case, the work she didn’t get done became my work because I was salaried. I don’t get more pay. And to be clear, this was about once every two weeks for a couple of years – not some one time event. My manager said I could hit the road if I didn’t like…If I had not had a potential big payment coming I would have.

        Even when I needed to take my father to the doctor I had to take vacation.

        Unfortunately, once you take the location of my job into affect, there are no better options (by my criteria). i live in a small house, in nice neighborhood, close to work – just close to nothing else. I understand compromises have to be made. For example, I don’t like cutting the lawn – but I know I have to or live apartment. In this case my options are to have a job, have a reasonable commute but a long drive to most everything, a longer commute & a drive to most services or a long commute and be close to services. Once my commitment to my employer ends, I will look for another job – hopefully the market will be better.

        I have friends — just none here outside of work — I have even made new friends where I used to live.which seems odd since I have spent so little time there. There just is no social scene here – I mean on Sunday on my way back into town I stopped at Applebees (about the only place open at that hour) and I was only the one in the bar section.

  14. A Says:

    These complaints show a completely lack of maturity. That being said, yeah, as a single career women sometimes I come home, stare at my laundry, and feel like complaining about it. But I don’t – because that’s life. Laundry and dishes must be done. Anyone who complains about a grocery store being closed in the city is crazy – fresh direct, hello? And beans and rice for a week? What’s the big deal? If you don’t like it, fix it.

    All that aside, sometimes I feel as though these complaints stem from the feeling that no one has your back. That there’s no one to slog through the good, bad, play, and chore ridden times with you. No one you can share a knowing glance with when you are stressed. I’d guess that most single woman complaints really come from this space. It sounds lonely and entitled. And in essence, it is. Because none of us is entitled to that. But I have some empathy for it.

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