When I was married, it was a difficult relationship, but on a very base level, there was backup when one of us was sick. This was something we argued about, but even partial backup was of incredible value. If one of us went to the hospital in the middle of the night, the child was not affected.
As a single parent, there is no backup except the tribe you build. I've learned that this tribe must be at a level of communication and support like a marriage, so you can say yes and no authentically... and so that mom can ask for help without the worry of being perceived badly.
Imagine waking up very sick (borderline ER sick)... The kid still needs to get to school. How's that going to happen? This is real life. And it's something most single parents don't discuss. And yes, it's different than having a husband who travels alot. It's a sense of helplessness... and in my case, I built a community of people that are there for us so that we've got back up. But many are on their own.
Our society can do better with single parents. Building a tribe is hard! You endure endless occasions of people treating you like an inconvenience before you find your people.
As a monastic, minister, and a single parent living with chronic illness, I invite you to consider if you have something extra to give to the single parents in your community. Can you say yes AND no when someone asks for help? You must be able to say NO otherwise your YES isn't authentic. That's all you need.
I've thought about starting a single parent tribe, but it scares me to think about strangers helping strangers. So the best thing I can do at this moment is encourage my community to look around, and offer to be of service.