At the end of the day, that is what we all are: moms. And we'd like people to try to remember that.
I am the mother of a handsome 4-year-old boy who refers to himself as a King Ninja. Being his mom is the most important and gratifying thing that I have ever done with my life. It is also the most challenging. I have been raising him as a single parent since May of 2011, and it has not been easy. However, it has been worth it.
The one thing that I wish were different about being a single mom is the stigma that comes attached to it. I was aware of it before I became a single mom, but it wasn't until I joined the ranks of about 9.6 million single moms (in the U.S.) that I realized just how many stereotypes and inaccurate perceptions exist.
That's why I started Single Mommy Warrior. I also created a couple of communities geared towards providing single moms with support and a safe space to share their struggles and their triumphs with people who could relate. That's why I decided that rather than simply sharing my own opinions about the stereotypes concerning single moms, I would ask my single mom community to help me to clear the air.
Below you will find real single moms explaining what we wish people knew about single moms. Specifically, I asked them, “What is something that you wish people would understand about single moms?” Here are their responses:
Being a single mom wasn't necessarily the plan.
“I wish people would understand that not all single moms are on welfare and looking for a handout. Oh, and that there are a majority of single moms out there due to divorce or death. We are not just having sex with random men and happening to end up pregnant.” — Ty K.
“That not all go into parenting think we'd be on our own or that we're actively hunting for a new father for our children. SMH.”- Candace H.
“Being a single mom is never a part of the plan. Being a single mom is not as easy as we make it look. We do want and need a break sometimes.” — Raquel R.
We're not searching for help.
“I wish people would understand that just because we're single doesn't mean that we're desperate for love, a relationship, or for a man to take care of us or our child(ren). Until someone proves us different, we're all we need.” — Ariel W.
“That just because we have a child doesn't necessarily mean we are searching for a man to take care of us. Or, on the opposite end, that we must put out because we aren't with our child's father.” — Kari D.
We aren't weak... it's hard work!
“I wish people would understand that single moms are not boring! We just know there are more important things to spend our time and money on. Of course we would love to go out and eat out every week. We just choose to spend that time with our children.” — Carrie G.
“I wish people understood how tired we are. Being a single mother is physically and emotionally exhausting. I don't really have any energy left to direct toward other people. So, if I seem distant from family or friends, it's not because I don't care. I just have to make sure my son gets everything he needs from me before I can give to anyone else. And usually at the end of the day, there is just nothing left to give.” — Tara D.
“That we aren't helicopter parents of sons. Ugghh, I get sick of hearing I'm dating my kid or that I treat him like a baby. Chile, be a fly on the wall in apt 13. I serves it up to him more than I do the students I teach. I ain't raising no momma's boy!” — Kerissa B.
“The thing I wish people would understand about being a single mom is that the whole 'stay together for the kids' idea is a bunch of crap. What a total load of crap. What are you teaching your kids? Stay together, even if you're not happy? No. That just because we're single, doesn't mean we're easy and just date whatever comes our way. I've had people say to me, 'Oh, you're a single mom. I guess that makes you a . . .' What? I want the best for my kids and I want them in a healthy environment, and that doesn't make me weak. It means I'm strong enough to know that I deserve the best and that my kids deserve the best. Also we don't need a man to be happy. I hope that makes sense, it made sense in my head.” — Natalie M.
As for me: I wish that people understood that just because we are single moms it doesn't mean that we have done something wrong that led to it. It doesn't mean that we don’t know who the father is. It doesn't mean that we are actively keeping our children from the fathers. It doesn't mean that we are any different from any other woman out there who has been in a relationship that didn't go as planned.
It simply means that circumstances have led to us being given the challenging yet rewarding task of raising our children without a partner. Period.
Either way, I refuse to let any of the negativity steal my joy. I focus on providing my son with as much love, happiness, and stability as possible. That is what it means to be a mom. At the end of the day, that is what we all are: moms. And we'd like people to try to remember that.
If you are a single mom (or simply want to understand more about what single moms feel about this topic), feel free to ask questions in the comments.
This article was originally published at xoJane. Reprinted with permission from the author.