For anyone who is reading this that doesn’t know, I’m a single mom.
Since I have this platform, I thought I would use it to clear up some things about the single mom life that I have faced or heard at one point or another (in some cases, I hear these things over and over) in the last 4 years.
“Oh. You’re a single mom. That must be so hard. You are so strong.”
I didn’t become a single mom on a whim. From day 1 of discovering I was pregnant, I proceeded forward under the assumption that I would be doing almost all, if not all of it, alone as a single mom.
I grew up in a two-parent household. (My parents actually just celebrated their 40-something wedding anniversary yesterday.) I was raised Catholic, was involved in youth groups growing up, and had the image at a young age that I would wait until I was married to have sex. (Clearly I didn’t stick to that one). I was taught divorce wasn’t an option once you were married. My parents are older and are from an era where you stayed together because of the children.
I, however, am very independently minded and don’t believe that anything good comes of staying with someone because of a child. I believe the child can feel the tension between you and your partner and it’s just not a good thing for anyone.
That said, I was torn when I got pregnant. I wanted things to work out with the father. I don’t think anyone goes to bed at night dreaming of becoming a single parent at any age or point in his or her life. It wasn’t meant to be though. I quickly realized that I did not want to be with the father for a variety of reasons and, as such, I mulled over the decision to break up with him for a solid month before I pulled the trigger and did it.
I CHOSE to be a single mother because I thought that was what was in both my and my unborn child’s best interest and what would ultimately make me happier going forward.
A lot of people seem to assume that because I’m a single mother, some guy must have done me wrong and left me high and dry. There is usually some look of surprise when I say that I’m the one that felt it needed to be this way.
As far as how hard being a single parent is, I think that depends on how you look at it. It has been just my daughter and I from day 1. I don’t know life with her any other way than being the one doing it all for her day in and day out so to me, it’s my normal. And my normal isn’t hard.
If I had become a single parent post divorce or split of some kind? Yeah, I would probably think this was hard as hell because I was used to having someone else there. But, that’s not the case.
The hardest part of being a single parent, for me, is not really having a break. I LOVED going out in my pre-mom life and meeting new people. I don’t really have that opportunity anymore. I am blessed with amazing friends who hang out with my daughter and me and understand that we are a package deal 99% of the time.
As far as being strong, strength is relative and honestly, we all do what we have to do day in and day out. Everyone is strong in their own respect based on their own circumstances. I don’t think I corner the market on strength just because I’m a single mom nor do I think I am any stronger as a single mom than a mom who is not single or anyone else for that matter.
“You’re a single mom? You must receive welfare or live off the state.”
Take a moment to let it sink in that I have heard this. I’m offended just typing the words.
For one, that is quite the stereotypical, ignorant comment to make.
Second, I do not now, nor have I ever received welfare or lived off the state.
I lost my job about 4 months into my pregnancy, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because complications further in would have forced me to take a medical leave of absence. At least when I was let go, I was able to collect unemployment.
Let’s be real, if you’ve ever collected unemployment you know that the amount can be laughable but it’s better than nothing. At that point I did seek out state resources. I went and made an appointment to see if there was any help out there for me knowing I wouldn’t likely be hired anywhere visibly pregnant and wouldn’t return to traditional work until some point post-partum.
At the appointment I was told that I received “too much money” from unemployment and that the only way I would receive anything from the state I was residing in would be if I no longer were to collect unemployment and that amount would only be $300 per month.
Let that number sink in for a moment: $300 per month. How do you even survive on that? I couldn’t imagine that then much less now with a child.
So, I pretty much fell in the middle and wasn’t able to receive help when I really needed it.
I am self-employed now and support rent, my daughter, expenses, and myself on that income and child support. Remember that $300? My monthly support isn’t that much higher than that number so I clearly have to work.
Secondly, who cares if a single mom is seeking assistance if she needs it? Living expenses are high and supporting yourself and a tiny human is financially very difficult. If someone finds herself in a tough spot, they should be able to find some temporary relief while they get back up on their feet. Who is anyone else to try and shame them for how they need to get by and through at that moment in their life?
“I can totally relate to you. I’m a single mom every day while my husband is at work.”
No. Just. No.
I appreciate that you want to try and commiserate with me, but I am the last person that will feel for you in this situation.
In all likelihood, you’ve been able to catch a shower in the last couple days or been afforded a couple fleeting moments at night to pee alone. Me? Well…depends on the kind of day my daughter happens to be having.
I’m sorry to everyone this offends, but just stop saying you’re just like a single mom.
Your husband is out earning money for your family and your expenses.
Yes, being a mom is a hard job. Possibly the hardest job there is some days but you still have someone coming home at night to assist you. You have someone who can take the kids for a few hours on the weekend so you can go out with your girlfriends. If you’re sick, you have someone at night who can bring you soup and you can put your feet up for a little while.
I am it. I am EVERYTHING in my house. I am mom, housekeeper, and sole income earner. I work a 24/7 job as mom and a full time job that pays. I have felt the stress of needing to sell my face off to make rent 4 days before the end of the month. I don’t have anyone to share that burden with. Please don’t take this horribly wrong, but don’t tell me you’re a single mom just like me. Please don’t complain that it’s because your husband isn’t there as often as you’d like because he’s still there at points and you have someone to lean on and share with. There’s none of that for me and I would LOVE to be you in this situation.
“Oh my god! I know this great guy I can hook you up with.”
I make plenty of jokes about looking for a husband but, they are clearly jokes. They are typically said to preemptively combat the above comment.
I think a lot of people assume that because I am single or a single mom that I am deeply lonely and out on the prowl for a husband immediately.
I hate to break it to you, but I’m not.
Would I like to share my life with someone? Certainly. If the timing was right and so was the person but I’m not all about seeking out that one particular thing. Right now, it’s not even a huge priority on my radar.
For me, dating breaks down to an evening with someone I don’t know where I have to hire a sitter or call in a favor with a friend or generous family member.
I’m not all about calling in a favor unless the other person is REALLY worth it and special. And have you dated recently? You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince and kissing all those frogs is going to cost me some serious sitting money.
Not to mention that I do have a child to consider. Not everyone understands, particularly if they don’t have a child, that they won’t ever be the first priority. And I don’t expect them to understand. I certainly didn’t before I had my daughter.
It’s just sticky territory.
I’ve tried to put my heart out there a couple times since I had my daughter. I’m still single so that should tell you how that went.
In all seriousness, I only take nights off for people who are very special or significant in my life. Random blind dates don’t apply to this scenario. So, while I appreciate you thinking of me, I will kindly have to decline the set ups for now. When that changes for me, trust me, I’ll ask you.
I want to say that EVERY mom is equally amazing whether she is single or not. Parenting is this crazy journey you can never prepare yourself for and you have no idea what is coming.
You, mom reading this, are strong beyond measure.