If you’re a single parent (SP) you’re going to feel like a third wheel at some point. Two couples – you’re now a fifth wheel. You get my drift…you’re the odd man out. This past weekend I got to go to my happy place, my best friend’s cabin on a lake in MN. It was my BF, her husband and kids, her brother, his wife and kids and my daughter and me. It was an incredible trip of swimming, boating, laughter, drinking and just smiles and fun. What I noticed is that being the SP I am the odd man out even in non-suspecting situations. Case in point; our Redneck Yacht Club (RYC).
If you don’t know the Craig Morgan song, RYC is what is referred to when you anchor your boat in the shallow water of the lake and everyone is out drinking, swimming, and playing Frisbee while Kenny Chesney or Skynard plays in the background. It is a party of new and old friends with pontoons, speed boats and the occasional fishing boat that rolls up. You pack a cooler, plenty of food and if you’re a Redneck Yacht Club VIP, you might even have a grill on your boat. This is serious business that’s all about having fun. My crew was proudly part of the RYC all weekend. On the second day out there we met up with some of their old friends and something very odd happened.
Everyone was out of their boats standing in the 2’ deep water and as adults do, you stand in a circle to talk. I grabbed my beverage and headed out to the circle, but as I got closer I couldn’t figure out where to squeeze in. My best friend was still on the boat, so I squeezed in next to her husband and sister in-law and joined the circle of new friends. Everyone was great and friendly but when someone new joined the circle and the introductions started, it became obvious that I wasn’t part of any duo. Honestly, I’m fine belonging to just me but it was a new experience explaining who I was to this new group. “I’m his wife’s best friend from CO…I used to live here, but my daughter and I are just here visiting for the weekend.” Let me be clear, this overthinking dilemma is ALL ME. I’m sure no one else gave it a second thought, but it was a new experience for me. There was that over thinking part of me that wanted to tell them that I’m now divorced and used to be friends as couples, but guess what? No one cared or asked! No explanation was necessary. So, I did something that I haven’t done well in the past and stopped talking. No awkward Bridgette Jones over-explaining while talking wildly with my hands moment. No walking away wondering what in the world did I just say?! Nope, I acted normal! Seriously, I don’t even recognize myself but I’m so happy and it tells me that I’m making progress.
Feeling like the odd man out is no one’s fault or burden. It’s also not anything to feel ashamed about or feel the need to clarify. In a world full of couples, it is just a part of life. I’m not discrediting the number of single parents, but at least in my life I’m more prone to find myself surrounded with married couples. So my best advice, when you’re uncomfortable and feel the need to explain your situation…don’t. No one is judging you and if they are, then they definitely don’t deserve any explanation.