Netflix's 'The Chair' Reminds Me Why I Don't Wanna Live The Single Mom Life Forever

by Shaye Wyllie
Originally Published: 
Sandra Oh and her co-stars in a scene from "The Chair"

To know me is to know that I’m not just an entertainment writer. I’m also a single mom.

And I wear that sh*t on my chest like a proud badge of honor.

I mean, what’s the alternative? Depression? Crying all day long? Rocking back and forth, screaming I can’t do this, I need a man?

Yeah, exactly! No thank you.

So, after the last nine years of being single, I’ve learned to suck it up.

But contrary to what others may think, or say, or believe, and despite the fact that everyone thinks I do a great job, I don’t actually wanna live the single mom life forever.

I mean, sure, women can do things on their own and we may not need a man, but listen, sis — I want one!

I’d prefer married life! Or at least girlfriend life? Is that what it’s called? Anything other than this.

And after watching Netflix’s new series “The Chair,” starring the oh-so-amazing Sandra Oh (pun totally not intended), I was again reminded why I’d prefer married life.

The Chair follows Dr. Ji-Yoon Kim (Sandra Oh) as she navigates her new role as the Chair of the English department at prestigious Pembroke University. Ji-Yoon is faced with a unique set of challenges as the first woman to chair the department, and as one of the few staff members of color at the university. One of those challenges? Balancing single mom life with work!

As I watched “The Chair” and Ji-Yoon struggle to keep it all together, I was reminded how hard it is to be a single mom.

Babysitting is a nightmare! If you can even afford it to begin with.

Sometimes your kid will have a bad day at school, or ends up sick, hurt, or just won’t stop tormenting the other children, and you have to run out of work to get them. Especially when your theme song sounds a lot like that one song Beyonce once sang. You know the one that goes … “me, myself and I is all I got?” Yeah that one!

And if you’re already of “a certain age,” then so are your parents. Which means, even if they are around, they may be a bit too old to really help. I’ve had to double check my daughter’s homework so many times because my parents “helped” her. It’s exhausting.

However, none of these things are particularly “hard.” Sure, they take a bit of finesse to navigate and figure out, but they’re not life or death. Says a single mom who has become numb to it all.

But maybe that’s just because when you’re a single mom, chaos becomes your norm. You can only imagine a life that’s easier. And sadly, the only way things get easier is if there’s help! Like, consistent, reliable, actual help.

That’s the type of help Ji-Yoon got a taste of in episode 4 of “The Chair” — when her colleague and love interest Bill Dobson gets suspended from work and ends up spending the day taking care of her daughter to “help out.”

Not only did he babysit for free, but he also helped put her daughter to bed. And when Ji-Yoon got in from work, the house was clean and dinner was already made.

Right then and there, I was reminded why I can’t be single forever.

I love my daughter, and I love being her entire world, but I also want help.

Just once, I’d like to come home from work and have a hot home-cooked meal waiting for me.

I remember when my daughter was a bit younger and needed me to put her to bed. 9 out of 10 times, I’d put myself to bed in the process. Then I’d wake up behind schedule and pissed off that I had fallen asleep instead of washing the dishes, and because I had to wash the dishes instead of just going back to sleep!

Hell, just not having to worry about your kid all day because you know they’re in safe hands instead of in the care of a random babysitter you hired out of desperation is a blessing.

So yeah, I don’t wanna live the single mom life forever. And with so many women these days being okay with not being married, I guess I needed to remind the world that I’m not one of them.

Give me a life where every little thing doesn’t fall on my shoulders please! Where I can take a break, and not have to worry about getting chores done. Where I can be at peace knowing that when I’m sick, someone else will pick up the slack. Instead of my current — must … get … work … done … ignore … *sneezes* … ignore … *sneezes* … ignore … being … sick … I must go on …

The show itself feels a tad on the boring side for a drama. It’s no “Bridgerton.”

But from a single mom’s POV it’s incredibly realistic, and as the season ends, there’s a glimmer of hope. Hope that things can and will get better — and boy, was that needed this year.

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