Monday, August 12, 2013

Domestic Enemies of the Single Mom by Choice

Photo credit: Stock Image
This is a really good one, you guys! Here's a little snippet about the lady who write it for us:

I'm a single mom by choice. Because facing forty, being single and unemployed wasn't enough, I opted to also become a single mom. Best.Decision.Ever.  I've got my own mini-me and have learned that sassy wit and sarcastic comebacks do come packaged in the body of an 8-1/2 year old girl. We live in the desert where try to juggle the perils of single parenting, working full-time, and home maintenance (seriously, I just installed a door lock!!). In my spare time (HA!), I am a dog walker, cat litter scooper, fish feeder, lifeguard, craft queen and have been known to shovel horseshit (literally).  My family and friends keep me sane or at least join me in the crazy and usually bring the booze.  I love my friends so much, I wrote a blog about it.

I’m a single mom by choice.  I’ve been flying solo through the world of parenting since my daughter’s inception.  I’m lucky to have great friends – single and married – who help me laugh long and loud at the pitfalls of parenthood.
Now that my daughter is almost 9, most folks assume I’m divorced but when she was a newbie, infant and toddling – most didn’t know what to think. But many have made assumptions…and you know what that means.

People who tsk-tsk at the unfortunate single mom holding the newborn – certain that I’m either a.) a lesbian and/or b.) unable to provide for my child because I’m not married.
I am not a lesbian but some of my best friends are .  Single parenthood is not a reflection of someone’s sexual orientation. It just shows they forged ahead and are making their own dreams come true in their own way.  And, to the delightful social worker that was required to visit my room before I was released from the hospital after giving birth:  my marital status should not make you assume I need either financial or psychological help (I actually had to take the paperwork for WIC and other programs and write “decline” on it – was a single mother policy.)  Err…thanks but no thanks. In reality, I was way less polite and probably dropped the f-bomb. 

The medical office staff, preschools and public school districts that get that stupid look on their face when I leave the “father’s info” blank.
It’s really simple folks, there is no dad.  I know you’re telling me I can just write it in and they won’t share it with anyone. That is when I say, “There were so many, I just don’t know,” and smile real nice.  Really? It’s not on her birth certificate. And yes, leaving it blank is legally okay.  

The moms who complain that they are just like a single parent because – wait, wait - their spouse works all day and/or travels.
Kapow!  That was my head exploding.  It’s so not worth explaining because when I do, they get that glazed look in their eyes. They will never understand.  They forget that will touch base multiple times a day with the one person who is just as committed as they are to raising their children to be the best possible people ever…or at least not in need of massive amounts of therapy.  They forget that at some point, their spouse will be home to commiserate, help, support and if none of those – perhaps help pay the bills. Ultimately, I shake my head and utter “Yeah, just like it,” and walk away. I never really worried what these moms think. We never had any chance of being friends.  Note:  the only married parents who can say this and truly mean it are military spouses – totally different scenario.

The mom who works part-time solely to pay her daughters’ riding, dance, or gymnastics so it’s “just like being a single parent and shouldering the entire financial burden of the family.” Yep, actually had someone say this to me.  Uh, that spouse that works his ass off, pays the mortgage on your large home, makes the car payments, pays health insurance, and tuition for three at the pricey private school not to mention food and clothing – yeah, well, he’s a parent, too and might not share your perspective.

The mom that told me I never had the right to complain since I knew going into this I would be a single parent.  Really? Well, you planned your marriage and pregnancies and that doesn’t cut back on your bitching and whining.  This was told to me by someone who was divorced for the second time but felt she could complain because she didn’t plan to be a single parent. The sheer volume of crap I could hoist at that statement was so overwhelming that I was speechless (hasn’t happened since.) I blamed my non-reaction on the pregnancy hormones (and likely my need to pee) at the time. I dare her to say that to me today.

To those that don’t include single parents (or single friends) to their social gathering because “it’s mostly couples.”  I’ve actually heard this from a good friend. Trust me, I don’t want your husband, boyfriend, baby-daddy, etc. Really, I don’t.  This also applies to the male spouses who don’t accompany their wives to a party, gathering or just hang out at my house because they are afraid they won’t have anyone to talk to.  You, my friend are why I choose to be single.

And finally, to the mom who tilts her head and says in the most condescending voice possible, “I just don’t know how you do it.”  Well, I don’t know how you do it either. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine having to compromise on everything from the name of my child to discipline styles, bedtime routines, the religion that will be observed, where we spend the holidays, the right ear piercing age or what we have for dinner. We do what we know. I’ve never parented with someone else – you’ve never parented alone. Having watched so many friends parent with their partners – there are many nights I come home grateful to be the only grown up in my house. At least I know what to expect and who to blame.  

But for all the people I want to punch in the throat – there are some awesome ones with whom I’ve built amazing relationships because I’m single. My good friends who are my “In case of emergency” and help me with everything from home repair to child care. Those who ask me drop my mini off so I can run to the market, Wal-Mart, pedicure place, etc in relative peace and quiet. Those who include me in their holiday invites, evenings in or evenings out, in their Mother’s Day celebration or vacation.  Those fellow single moms who listen to me vent, who I get to listen to – who get it when “being a single mom is so hard” is all I want to say. Those who just treat me like another mom.
(c)Herding Turtles 2009 - 2013

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