The erroneous assumptions made about single mothers.
When people discover that I’m a single mother, I often notice a distinct change in their attitude towards me. Sometimes they become visibly uncomfortable squirming in their seats not sure how to deal with me. I’ve realized that there are still a lot of misconceptions about single mothers, outdated stereotypes that once had some basis in reality, but no longer hold true.
WE ARE NOT VICTIMS TO BE PITIED
Sometimes people will tell me how sorry they feel for me, which is curious, because I’m not sorry. I’ve met very few single mothers, regardless of their circumstances, who feel sorry for themselves. When I first announced my single mother status to the world, I could tell the friends who knew me well vs. my acquaintances. My close friends rejoiced and celebrated my new found independence where as my acquaintances felt sorry for me. When people tell me they don’t know how I do it. How do I raise two kids on my own? I answer “Because I do.” It’s really as simple as that.
OUR CHILDREN ARE NOT IN BROKEN HOMES
Every time someone makes an excuse for another person with bad behavior by saying “Well his/her parents are divorced; He/she has had a hard life,” I am disgusted. My children are loved as much as anyone’s. My children are afforded every opportunity. My children will never use their parents’ divorce as an excuse to behave badly or treat other people poorly.
WE ARE NOT DESPERATE FOR A MAN (OR WOMAN)
One of the assumptions that surprised me the most is that I must be desperate for a man in my life. I couldn’t believe how many people would try to “console” me after my separation with “You still look so young and beautiful; you’ll have no problem finding someone new.” Or how some married women would immediately distrust me as if I was secretly chasing their spouse. Many single women (mothers or not) aren’t single because they don’t want to be in a relationship; they want to be in a relationship with the right person (and cheating spouses don’t fit into that category of right person). This does not make us desperate, it makes us discerning. It was three years after my separation before I met my right person, but I would have been fine waiting for another ten. And if I never met the right person, I would have been OK with that too.
WE ARE NOT POOR AND DESTITUTE
As a single mother, it’s often assumed that I’m not financially solvent, but with the exception of my car payment, I have almost no debt, and I live within my means better than most married couples. Do I have as much income as I would in a two income household? No. Yet most of us single mothers are doing OK, are on the way to doing OK, or we’re doing better than OK.
Currently there are more single women than married women in the USA. Now that we have both economic and political independence, women no longer have to settle for the “wrong” person for economic security. We no longer have to stay in unhealthy marriages. Furthermore, if we don’t find the “right” person, there is nothing holding us back from being a mother if we choose. All these old stereotypes are no longer relevant to us.