If she wasn't so freaking exhausted, she would stomp your ass right this second.
Nobody wants to hear, “Hey, I notice your ass is upsizing” or “The company has decided to do some downsizing,” but there are some things that single moms in particular really don’t want or need to hear.
So the next time you’re chatting with your favorite single mom, try to leave these statements out of the conversation:
1. "You just really need to focus on/organize your priorities."
Depending on the single mom to whom you are speaking and how much she values your existence, this will either bring tears (hers) or bloodshed (yours).
Here’s an epiphany for you: single moms are the Jedis of priorities. The problem is that we have several number one priorities, such as supporting ourselves and the kids, staying involved in what our kids are doing, keeping the boss happy, keeping the house standing, and sleeping. These are all number one because they’re all mandatory and no one else is going to do any of them.
So please don’t say this, because wasting time in jail and wasting money on court costs get in the way of every single one of our top priorities.
2. "You need to spend more time on yourself."
You think? We agree. That’s why we devote at least fifteen minutes per day to “me time.” We’re so good at portioning our “me time” that we know that a 4-minute shower will get us clean enough, but if we settle for just getting wet (43 seconds) we can also luxuriate in a 3-minute nervous breakdown when the cat pees on one of the kids’ backpacks at 7:40 AM on Monday morning.
Of course, we will have to schedule that nervous breakdown for later, since it will take us 72 seconds to shove Amy’s notebooks, lunch and mittens into a freezer bag. So if you make this statement (and we advise against it), your next sentence should be an offer to babysit, run our errands, or become our financial patron
3. "You look worn out."
Egad, do not let these words issue forth from your mouth unless you want that single mom to de-molecularize on the spot. Because one of two things is certainly true: she didn’t have the time and energy to even brush her hair and she already feels super self-conscious, or she just spent thirty minutes applying $78 worth of makeup, hoping that no one would know she was up all night with Johnny and his strep throat.
Either way, if she wasn’t so freaking exhausted, she would stomp your ass right this second. That, plus it’s not a number one priority and would cut into her “me time.”
4. "Maybe your life will be [easier/better/more fulfilling] if you got married/married again."
Maybe your life would be easier/better/more fulfilling if you dropped a couple of dress sizes. But you can’t just order that kind of thing from Amazon, can you?
5. "My [sister/neighbor/coworker] is a single mom too, and she vacuums her blinds twice a week, makes classroom cookies from scratch, and always looks so put-together.
Before you even get to the period in that ill-advised sentence, your single mom pal will have already unfriended you on Facebook, keyed your car and gone home.
Now, we don’t want to leave you with the impression that all single moms are harried wrecks prone to violent attacks, so we’ll give you an example of something great to say to a single mom:
You're a great mom!
By the way, you look amazing today.
Aw, look at that single mom. Like a kitten frolicking in a field of wildflowers.
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This article was originally published at The Guild of Unbound Women. Reprinted with permission from the author.