Really loving people are being really judgmental right now. Yes, about race. Yes, about religion. Yes, about sexual orientation. Yes, about every label you can imagine. And honestly, it’s hard to witness. But there is one argument going on over a label that I only recently became aware of, and it was eye opening.
The fight for the right to call yourself a Single Mom.
Women are writing memes about what qualifies a woman to call herself a Single Mom and what doesn’t. And as soon as that is posted, comments fly about how that women isn’t fit to call herself that because of child support, parental involvement, boyfriends, etc. How MY situation is worse than yours. How MY situation qualifies me more to call myself a Single Mom. How if you have this and that, you don’t qualify to hold that title. It’s really hateful and judgmental. It’s tearing down our peers when the exact thing we need most is to be building each other up and supporting each other.
When one of the qualifications is that you are raising your children alone, the last thing you need is to be alienated by women who understand your struggle. The last thing you need is to be judged because you receive child support and another Mom doesn’t. Or because the Father of your child co-parents with you some of the time and another Mom feels that this disqualifies you from the category she feels entitled to put herself in.
So, let’s start at the very beginning…
It’s a very simple definition. Yet the interpretation of the words alone and without a partner can be interpreted many ways. And how one becomes that way, whether by the choice of in vitro-fertilization, divorce, being widowed, or an unplanned pregnancy…can change many of the circumstances of the life with your child as a Single Mom.
And given that each person has their own interpretation of things, single can be taken differently. As in ‘relationship status’… Not in a relationship with anyone, not with the Father, not with a long term partner, etc. Or single as in ‘parenting status’…Alone. The Father doesn’t parent with you…or does minimal parenting and you FEEL alone. And some use it to describe both. They are neither with the Father or parenting with them. Either way, we are all Moms here and doing a damn good job at it. That is the one thing that doesn’t change, that is consistent in all of these situations.
You are a Mom. You are doing one of the hardest jobs there is. Raising another human being.
What saddens me is that we attack each other and try to own a title that means a child is left without both parents and a Mother is without a partner. I’d much rather see us supporting one another.
However you view it, I hope you know you are doing the best you can and your kids are lucky. I know I am a Mom and a great one at that…labels just don’t serve me anymore.
So, to ALL the Moms out there who feel like the term Single Mom fits, I salute you. I have been there and I know how difficult it is. Wondering when or if the child support will come. Making all the decisions yourself. Having help and then having it fall away. And I have friends who’s experience has been the absent parent. For those of you who’s experience is of that variety, I empathize. It is so difficult to see your child wonder where Dad is and to try and fill a void in every aspect.
But honey, you don’t need to wear a title like a badge to show all that you do. You’ve already earned your stripes.
Just do what you do…you know how amazing you are, how much you do, and the circumstances of it all…and that’s all that matters. Appreciate yourself. No one else needs to. Eventually your kids will see all you’ve done and their appreciation will overflow. That will feel great, won’t it?! And if another Mom doesn’t get all that you do in a given day or if her life seems easier than yours even if she calls herself by the same title, that’s ok, you still know all that you do. Just heap on some more appreciation and love that day girlfriend. Take a bath, tell yourself you are beautiful, and remember how far you’ve come.
Comparison is a killer…and you don’t need that s**t.
There is only one you. So shine in all your glittery wonder and show your kids what awesome looks like. You’ll be glad you did.