When people hear I'm a single mom, a lot of stereotypes and myths come to mind. First off, some people would fight my single parent status: my ex and I are coparents and he is not what I call a "No-Show" or "Deadbeat Dad." He is very present in my child's life; however, to me, if you parent alone and without help, you are a single parent. By alone I mean no one ever comes home to relieve you. No one ever shows up to pay your bills, clean the home, care for the kid, and be an active part in you and your child's daily routine. Instead, my ex and I "coparent." To all the ladies and gents parenting alone with "No-Show" and "Deadbeat" parents, I commend you even more.
However, whether you're a single mom because Dad skipped town, passed away, or you got a divorce, there are still many myths about single parents that need to go! They're antiquated and untrue. In today's day and age in which, according to the Pew Research Center, "Fewer than half (46%) of US kids younger than 18 years of age are living in a home with two married heterosexual parents in their first marriage," the idea of what a family "looks" like has changed so drastically, whether it's the gender of the parents raising the kids, the amount of parents in the home, the marital status of the two parents, and then some! The days of Leave It to Beaver are long gone. And so should some of these old tired single mom myths that I am sick of hearing.
We're Unemployed and Broke
This is not to minimize single parents who are unemployed and indeed broke, because that story does certainly exist, but many single moms are working and working hard! Quite a few of us are doing well, too, but we can't forget the wage differences between single moms and our male counterparts. According to singlemotherguide, single mothers are still making less than men at 78 cents to one dollar for the same job, and if you're a single woman of color, that rate continues to drop.
No matter the story, many of us are employed and paying our bills and not eating out of a trash can. Again, not to minimize poverty conditions for certain single moms and dads!
We're Dying to Be Married
Many single moms enjoy being single because, well, for those of us whose marriages or relationships didn't work out in the first place, we're not looking to make another big mistake again! We are independent, fierce multitaskers and take charge of our lives and do what has to be done. We are the boss and CEO of all that we do and we are not home crying every night into a bucket of ice cream wishing Prince Charming would show up. Chances are that then we would have to share our ice cream, and hell no! Who wants to do that?
I follow Google alerts for the term "single mom," and while occasionally a Craigslist ad for a hot and horny mom pops up, for the majority of us, we're not desperate for love and sex. We know our value and want someone who has something to bring to the table just like we do. We don't have time for games or small chit-chat. If you have something to offer, wonderful. If not, scram!
This isn't to say that single moms aren't full-blooded sexual beings. I know I certainly am, but we're not dying for just "anybody" to take us. Sorry, not sorry, dudes.
We're Miserable and So Are Our Kids
Our lives don't suck. Don't feel bad for us. Don't be sorry. Is it hard sometimes? Yes. Do we wish someone would step in sometimes? Yes. But there are far worse fates to befall a person in life and the reality is we are happy and not in bad relationships and that happiness transcends to our kids. Our children aren't lacking because there is just one of us around, all of the time, or perhaps just one of us at one time, in two different homes.
The only time a single parent — mom or dad — is miserable because of his or her single parent status is due to that person believing the single parent myths society feeds us.
If you're a single mom and unhappy, here are some gems I am going to leave you with:
- You are a gem. You are more powerful than you know. You have a lot to bring to the table for a potential partner. Remember that.
- You are not broken. Marriage isn't all it's cracked up to be all the time. Your family is perfect as it is and anyone who enters into your life and your kids' lives must be worthy.
- Don't believe the myths.
- You are capable of success.
Sometimes all it takes is for someone to remind us of all we are and all we truly have. Single motherhood is not the end of the world. Hating your life is, and letting the negative stereotypes and beliefs of others harbor inside our hearts and heads is truly life-ending. Believe in yourself!