So for this post I reached out to my followers on Facebook and the most requested topic was single motherhood. Which I found interesting because all too often you see “memes” complaining “no one wants to hear about your ‘single mom struggle'” or finding a way to diss/dismiss single moms like its an annoying trend. I am happy people are want to know what it is like whether they are single parents or not. I can only speak from personal experience so I think the easiest way to explain this lifestyle — my lifestyle is with:
Ten “Busted” Single-Mom Myths
*disclaimer- I am just one person with one child living one life… I do not speak for all single moms.
10: We are bitter/angry
I think this is the biggest misconception about single moms (sometimes even just single women of a certain age). I think it is easier to imagine that it would have to be a nightmare of a situation to breakup a family and raise a child on your own than it is to think that two people who were mature enough to create a child are also mature enough to know that the best home for that child may not have both parents in it. Either way, you have to be happier that you have created a better situation for your child even if you are doing it alone. Will it sting a bit if when your ex moves on? I guess that depends on you and how that relationship actually ended but I think as long as whatever feelings you may be harboring do not bleed into the upbringing of your child then there is nothing to fear. Plus it is almost impossible to be “bitter” towards anything when you have two little eyes that see you as the queen of the world.
9: We are hard to please/date
Honestly, for me, I think that this idea comes from the many articles that read “caution to the man thinking of dating a single mom”. We are not rabid dogs or teething infants. We are also not these feeble little creatures that just sit waiting in the dark until someone comes along and makes this a whole family again. I think perspective partners of single parents get in their own way by thinking “oh man, I have to be their child’s mom/dad” or “I need to provide for their household” no no no. While we appreciate the open mind, I never want to feel like I am burdening someone with my lifestyle. I cannot speak for everyone but I think when a single parent takes the time to find someone and actually date it is not just to get their bills paid or to take on a parental role. They just want someone to make them happy. Simple… treat them like a normal person… respect their space and obligations while still showing interest. BE HONEST… if family is not in your future plans… just say so. If you hate germs and all things sticky… be real about it. I rather have your honesty in the beginning than your resentment/disgust 6-12 months down the line.
8: We Hate on Opposites
Meaning we do not like two parent households… or we find it hard to connect with our friends or colleagues with children and are happily living in a two parent household. That’s just not true! My struggle does not define me or the relationships I have with people. Just because I am raising my child on my own does not mean I hold resentment towards people who aren’t. Kids are kids… we are all attempting not to vomit while changing a blowout. Parenting is hard enough whether its one parent or six… why make it a competition?
7: We Don’t Have a Social Life
The term “Social Life” changes when you become a parent–regardless of the situation. Its hard for me to really defend because I have always been happier at home on a Friday night… But every now and then I will go out with my other mom friends or invite friends over after bed time… but I do not feel like I am missing anything. I would say I have a healthy social life… It is a win win for me if I can combine spending time with my child and my friends and we all have a good time. And yes, I understand, as a parent you do have to have time to yourself and do something for yourself every now and then I just rather not spend that time in a bar where high school girls are using fake ids to get hit on by old men who basically live in the bar. But it is all up to preference.
6: We Have “Baby Daddy Drama”
Yeah… no… If I am just being blunt…. you choose to have “drama” with your child’s father. If you engage in that nonsense then YOU have drama. If you have horrible things to say about your child’s other parent without being asked (whether it is true or not) chances are you are the drama. Now if you do not have a perfect co-parenting relationship with the other parent it does not necessarily mean there is drama. To me, baby daddy/mama drama is when you are arguing about everything but the child… when there are not clear boundaries established. Having disagreements that are related to the child you share..that’s just part of parenting… arguments about something you were tagged in on Facebook… that’s drama.
5: The Struggle is Real
For some reason the idea of a mother raising her child alone will still get you that look of sympathy and that “one day you’ll find someone that will treat both of you right” speech… while I appreciate the concern and what I am guessing is compassion… what if “we” don’t find someone… are we going to make it?! How did we do it for so far?! I guess I don’t want my child to think she is at a disadvantage because she has just one parent. Especially if they are a great parent… When Fi was an infant and I had to go to the store for just a few things I would dread the “why didn’t she just leave the baby at home with her dad instead of bringing her out in the snow” looks… and I would pick times to go to the store when I knew it would be empty so only the cashier would have to stare at me balancing a baby bottle and sorting my WIC checks… But I got over that… My kid had to eat…I had to run to the store for toilet paper or pads at odd hours… I couldn’t let what I THOUGHT people were thinking of me stop me from doing what I needed to do. Even if they were really thinking “oh you poor thing” their thoughts were not funding the specialty soy formula and I knew this was going to be my life… and we are OKAY… better than okay most of the time… if I spent the time feeling sorry for myself the same way strangers do… I am not sure if we would be as great as we are.
4: We are “damaged”
Outside of having a child with someone else… potential partners have to wonder what happened to that someone else and what it has done to me. While some single parenting situations come from some pretty devastating situations… it is all about the comeback. Yes, it is harder to trust the next person… there is more at risk… but your past should not be taken out on your future. I just feel like people have the idea that if two people could not make it work for a child how could they make it work for any other reason… sometimes making it work for the child is choosing not to be together… I am making it sound like a peaceful easy conversation which in many cases it is not… many times there are lawyers and all that junk and it can be very ugly but I think that only makes you more certain of what you want in the future. I feel like if a person can break down those walls… and be with a single parent… it is well worth it.
3: “But …. I Don’t need no man”
(or woman..its 2016). That’s not a real thing though… I rarely hear a single mom say things like that… it is usually a man trying to gauge their chances saying “Oh I bet you don’t need a man huh?” hmmm what I don’t need is someone assuming what the hell I want and need in my life.
2: “Well that’s it for you huh?”
Young moms probably get this a lot too even if they are not single moms. It is WAY harder to advance in your career or education when you have a baby but not impossible. It’s about time management, having a reliable support system, and understanding you cannot prepare for everything so don’t beat yourself up when you have to put your child before your other obligations. People say this absent mindedly and who knows if it is truly meant to be hurtful or motivating but that’s really up to you.
1: It’s just that easy…
By it…I mean… sex… and not just like hook ups….okay this sounds weird.
True story… last summer I was out with some friends and I saw a guy I had not seen since high school and to be honest I did not interact with him often back then… but anyway he came up to me and we were chatting for probably about 2 minutes before he just blurted out “you should have my baby… just one… my parents will help raise the baby it would be all good.” I have ONE CHILD… my uterus is not for hire. Sadly enough this was not the only time someone has approached me with a proposition to carry their children… When did that become an acceptable pick up line. My kid is cute and all but I do have some other talents. Weird right?
I am sure there are many more (I could go on for days)… but the easiest way to shake off any of this negativity is just to smile. Be honest with yourself… set goals and blow past them. You have to remember, not only are you trying to be a great person… you are trying to raise a great person!
Tell me some of your stories!