The Foreign Service Journal - March 2018

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2018 47 Neither Fish nor Fowl: Single Parenting Trials As a single parent in the FS, you are in a sort of abyss that is not exactly viewed as single by the singles and not as a family by married couples. That makes it an awkward category. I find that the single FSOs will coordinate events with each other and will assume that since I have a child, I would not want to attend. The married families will coordinate events with other families and not invite a single parent (me) because they think I would not want to attend. So as a divorced, single parent I am an anomaly; however, I own it entirely. I seek out and create bonds with like-minded souls who don’t judge me, label or make presumptions without getting to know me. That is the internal dynamics of the FSO world. Conversely, outside the embassy no one cares, and that’s where I find solace and freedom. My life is not ordinary, and that’s why I like it. I am never boxed in. I have an amazing life, and I can’t complain. Life is what you make of it: single, married, divorced or complicated... just live, laugh and love. –Mid-level USAID FSO To Be Single, or Not to Be Single Oh, living single while in the Foreign Service...what bliss- ful torture for lots of people. I moved abroad single and was able to date while being abroad, both inside and outside the embassy. I see it this way: You can make the most of your time anywhere, or you can choose to be miserable. Is it a challenge to be single? Absolutely! But there are also benefits that I expe- rienced. I didn’t have to check in with anyone, I didn’t have to combine my plans with anyone. I didn’t have anyone tugging at my time and my energy. I’m also a certified life coach, and what is disheartening to me is to see the people who get on these “marriage” tours when they feel they are done with being single, only to settle with someone who may not be equally yoked with them, but they serve the purpose of following them around, providing them with a family and keeping them company. I wonder how many people are actually truly happy with their spouses in the Foreign Service, because a lot of people definitely don’t walk around as if they are.