The single mom — the unsung martyr who we all know and respect. Although we are aware of her status, if not her particular circumstance, somehow many people don’t consider the unique challenges that come with single parenting.
Parent struggles are parent struggles. It doesn’t matter if you’re single, coupled, or living in a commune. And although the following list might apply to parents across the board regardless of their particular circumstances, there are certain phrases that I, as a single mom, find especially annoying.
1. Bring your baby. It will be fun.
Fun for whom? I know I won’t be having any fun following my kid around while you drink malbec and sample the cheese plate.
I know that the intention is good. I appreciate your willingness to accept my child in your social gathering. But I don’t want my child in my social gathering. Have you tried to have an adult conversation with a squiggly baby on your lap?
“Oh, but Mindy and George will bring their kids!” Yes, they will. But they are a couple. George will hold little Matthew while Mindy goes to the bathroom. Mindy will put little Matt to bed so George can catch up with his buddies, while I sing yet another lullaby and feel even more alone.
No thanks. I’ll pass.
2. I don’t know how you do it.
Frankly, neither do I. But I do. Do you want to help me? Like, the “watch my toddler while I get a manicure” kind of help me, or even the “take him for ice cream so I can veg out” kind of help me? No? I didn’t think so.
I’m tired of the empty admiration. I inspire you — really? How about you help me feel human, even if it’s only for a couple of hours. Yes, I know that this was my choice; I am aware of my choice every waking second. But your reassuring words don’t give me what I need: a nice bath, some time alone, and uninterrupted sleep.
3. Have you seen this movie?
Probably not. I haven’t been to the theater in two years. (Happy birthday, my dear son!) Can I get a babysitter? Sure. I use her when I want to try on clothes or when I need to drive around in silence. Fancy outings like going to the movies? Not for this gal.
4. My husband is the worst!
Are you really saying these words to me? I mean, unless your husband is the actual worst, as in he’s “out with his buddies five nights a week, emotionally abuses you and is unfaithful with a 19-year-old while you tend to his children” the worst, I don’t want to hear it. Throw yourself a pity party for your mildly uncooperative partner with someone else. I haven’t gone to the bathroom by myself in two years.
5. Grocery shopping with the kids is the worst!
Yes, it is. I know it’s true, because that is the only way I do it. Oh, your husband had to work late and you were forced to take little Timmy with you and he kicked and screamed the whole time? Welcome to my life. Only, you have an alternative. I have to accept that this is it.
6. What’s your parenting philosophy?
Survival. My parenting philosophy is survival. As much as I would love the luxury of cuddling my child and practicing attachment parenting or whatever you call it nowadays, meeting his basic needs and loving him to my best ability will have to suffice. He’ll survive, we all did.
7. There’s a great Mommy and Me group meeting—
Thanks for sharing the tip on this great opportunity to connect with my son. On a Tuesday. At 10 a.m. While I am working. Because I am a single mom and I need to pay bills. Classes like those don’t exist for single moms with a work schedule. At least not where I live.
8. You must have help from [insert assumption].
Actually, I don’t. Would you like to help? Oh, I think we covered that earlier, didn’t we? Yeah.
Even though we all know that “it takes a village” sometimes the village dissipates shortly after the baby is born. And then the single mom is left to fend for herself. Sure, the initial weeks are tough and I don’t think I could have made it without my mom and my sister, but what follows after is no walk in the park either.
9. It was a couples thing.
I love when my girlfriends use this to excuse why they didn’t invite me to an outing. I like to look them straight in the eyes to see if they either: 1) Pity me for not having a partner; 2) try to conceal their smugness that they have a significant other even though I was cuter in high school; or 3) turn away in shame because someone in the group isn’t comfortable having a single mom near her wandering husband.
10. Don’t worry. Mr. Right will come along.
Oh, he will?! Thank you so much! I’ll just sit here and practice my good housewife skills while simultaneously doing squats so my ass looks great for him!
Being a single mom is a choice I made. Definitely not an easy one, but it was my choice. It is not something that “happens” to women. We chose to care for our children, even when someone else skips.
So, no, I am not sitting around waiting or scouting around looking for the next father for my child. My child has a father. A good one? No. But our family is not incomplete. I don’t need a man. Would I be open to a relationship if the right person came along? Sure, but our lives are not on hold as a family of two. So stop shoving your chauvinistic notions that a woman cannot be happy without a man by her side down my throat.
11. I am sooo tired!
Not all single moms are ticked off by the same remarks. It’s like wine: What I guzzle down on Wednesdays (no judgment, right?) might not be what works for you. At the end of the day, we’re all looking for a bit of sympathy, some help, and whatever assists us best in keeping our sanity.
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