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Readers Respond: What Hurtful Assumptions Have Been Made About You As a Single Parent?

Responses: 62

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Taking it All in With a Grain of Salt

In the education system I am automatically singled out because my oldest son has a learning disability. It is assumed that the reason he has ADHD is because he wasn't raised with a positive role model. (ADHD is genetic, by the way.) They assume that we live in horribly debilitating poverty and that I am awful because I don't just leave work at the drop of a hat because they "can't handle him." I have heard the funny one (because my parents live in an upper class neighborhood) about how my parents should be taking care of my children and I. They should be providing us with money and shelter. There are reasons why I left at 18 and didn't look back. Sure I don't give my kids everything I got, but they are a hell of a lot happier. They don't feel poor and we have a lot more than so many out there. The final funny one is that I get child support, because apparently Caucasian fathers are so much better at paying child support. Ha Ha Ha. I haven't seen a dime, and I still hold it together.
—GennyBlue

I've Heard It All!

So I had my son very young. I was 17 and in high school. I have also never been married, but since then I have managed to graduate high school and college. Sometimes I feel like I get the brunt of it simply because I don't conform to the stereotypes of the young single mom. I've dealt with the automatic assumption that I am on public assistance. "Oh come on, you can't tell me you don't get something from the government?" Or people who assume that I dropped out of high school and only have my GED. I was dating someone, and he took me to meet his brother and sister-in-law. His sister bragged that she was thirty when she had her first child, talking about the dogs needing to have a wedding before they could have puppies, etc. And these conversations were all for my benefit. Meanwhile, the boyfriend just agreed and contributed! Oh, and I have gone into a store where I was blatantly told I couldn't afford anything in there.
—Guest Bree

Your Mom Has Lots of Money!

I am a single mother of 2 (a 12-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl). I left my ex when my kids were 4 and 6, because my ex beat me almost every day. I did not think my kids needed to see that any more. I recently lost my job of 10 years, so I decided to go to college. I am receiving unemployment and am struggling to make it. My ex does not pay his child support on a regular basis. When he does pay, it is not much. When my kids ask him to buy them something, he says, "Your mom has lots of money. I am paying my child support. Ask her." What right does he have to discuss money matters with the kids? They already have enough to worry about. I have learned not to depend on my child support.
—Guest Jo

How Dare He!

My 18 month old son's father had not seen him for 6 months before his 1st birthday, and has not seen him since. Well, about a month after he turned 1, he caught the H1N1 virus from my cousin, who lives with us. When his father heard, he asked me why I did not take my son somewhere else to stay while she was sick--as if I had somewhere else to go--and tried to make it out like I was a bad parent because I stayed home.
—Guest margie

Hurtful Words From "Friends" of Ours

My daughter and I were invited to supper at a friend's home. This family had kids of a similar age as my daughter. As the boy was getting ready to visit his girlfriend after supper, his mom (our host) asked, "Your girlfriend's parents: are they divorced? Because if they are I am NOT going to like her!"
—Dayphoto

Day Care Excuses

I take my child to the day care. Sometimes I noticed she got a few small bruises and scratches. I know my child is a tomboy, so I didn't make a big deal out of it. I would just bring it up. Then I realized that one of her earrings had come up missing and asked my daycare provider about it. She stated to me the phrase "This is your first child." That bothered me because I had spent 8 months at home with my child. I know her habits, especially since as a single parent I am always with her when I'm not at work or school.
—Guest guest anderson

What Was the Most Hurtful? I Have Many!

I have had a coworker say, "If you want office hours, work in an office." I had another say, "When my kids were younger, I still worked full time." I had one coworker ask if I liked to work. All snide remarks because I can't work past a certain time. They don't understand that daycare closes at 5 or 6, depending on the daycare you choose. I have been told horror stories about the only daycare in town that is open until 9. One of my bosses suggested I bring my son to work with me and let him stay in the breakroom. I was thinking that is just wrong;' plus it's against the law. He suggested that when my son was 4. What takes the cake is when I found out I was pregnant, I was 22, and the guy I was with told me he was too young to be a father. He was 21. After we broke up, I found out he started to date a girl who was pregnant from another man. He hasn't helped out at all and has seen his son maybe 5 or 6 times in 7 years. Thankfully I have a good family to help out!
—Guest Angie

Hurtful Words Hurt

I was with my high school sweetheart for seven years when I became pregnant. We had been engaged before the pregnancy but never married. We stayed together for three more years. I left when I found out he was cheating on me. Then I started seeing someone who says having a child without being married is wrong. (He made a previous girl abort.) He also called my son and me awful names and told me all I'm good for is nothing.
—ceecee76

Single Mother

People think that being a single mother of a seven year old boy means I will turn him gay. They say he sees me and what I do and will want to be me when he is older.....
—Guest natasha

You're already strong

I really dislike being told that I am strong--as if a strong mom doesn't need a shoulder to cry on every now and then. My daughter's dad told me that I didn't need anyone else in my life, that I can handle everything that comes my way. He said this in retrospect, knowing that he does nothing for our child. His belief is, "You don't need me to be there or help out because you can do it all by yourself. You are a strong woman". That's b.s. and a lame excuse for not helping out. Our child is 16 months old now and only seen him 27 times since she's been born, ranging from 10 minutes to 5 hours at the most. I am totally disappointed in him and the fact that he would take such a supportive comment and use it as if to say, "Raise the child on your own." He's so sad and such a loser.
—littlemsp

"Do They Have the Same Dad?"

One of the hardest things for me to accept as a single mom was the question people often asked once they learned I was a single mom, "Do they all have the same dad?" I was surprised that it was assumed that because I was single, my children must have come from multiple relationships. I realize that some kids do, but I hated the fact that people assumed that I had multiple partners just from my single-status and my having more than one child.
—divinemissm1

I've heard it ALL!

From my son's father, I've heard "I am not going to pay for another man." This was when I was asking for monetary help to buy my son a pair of shoes. I was in school at the time and not working, and I had only EVER received $10 from him for a haircut (and $0 since). Nevermind the fact that I wasn't even dating at that time!. From a teacher, I heard "Most single mothers never take the time to invest in their children's education. You are the first to ever come to my classroom." First of all, "most single mothers?" How dare she make a generalization on an entire subset of the population based on her experiences with her class. If she has never seen the parent, how does she know that that parent is a single parent to begin with? And why is it assumed that because a parent can't get off work to come to their child's school that they don't care about their child's education? Not everyone has the same working conditions, or is aware of the laws to support working parents.
—Guest Sadio

I'm Not "Really" a Single Parent

My son's father--who lives in another country and has never contributed to helping me raise my son, and who abandoned and abused me while I was still pregnant--told me recently that I wasn't a "single mum." He claims that because he thought about us, that was enough! This was after I'd sent him some information about how to be good separated parents, to make it easier on my son. Also, when my son was born, I traveled halfway around the world to have him meet him, only to be abused and beaten. When I finally asked for a divorce after 4 years, he told me--via Skype--that no one would believe me that he had hurt me, that he didn't even believe it himself anymore. The assumption was, I'd chosen to be separate from him, and that I should always wait for him for us to "one day" be together. Also, that as the father he has more rights over my son than I do. In 4 years, he's only ever agreed to meet us online at a time that was compatible with my son's schedule once, and even that was late.
—Guest Bery

hurtful assumption

I have custody of my three kids (2, 6, and 9). My ex left when my last child was only 3 months old, so I've been a single parent for quite some time. I also work full time on a professional position. The most hurtful assumption I hear is from my boss. He cannot understand why I have to take so much time off of work to take care of my kids. I have no backup, and all three kids have asthma. Over the past few weeks, we all the H1N1. I had to take 7 days off without pay. Can you imagine what this is going to do to my already tight budget? Do I pay the electric bill or daycare? Pay the car payment or buy food? He cannot seem to understand the hardships I deal with on a daily basis. I honestly think he thinks I'm trying to have a pity party for myself. It's incredibly frustrating!
—Guest vicki

"Women Can't Raise Boys"

The worst thing anyone ever said to my son, who's now a young adult struggling with mental health issues, was from a psychiatrist (!) who told him his problems stemmed from being raised by a single mom; that women can't raise boys. (I wish I could have asked the "doc" what he thought my choices were!) Lucky for us, on that same day, Barack Obama was inaugurated as President of the United States. And I could say to my son, who was quite upset, "Some women and some boys do just fine."
—Guest AK Forbes

Don't Tell Me How to Parent!

A friend of mine that I was dating was telling me that I should have my kids, 9 and 13, go to bed at separate times due to their age difference. My idea is that both kids go to bed at the same time. If I was to tell one child to go to bed earlier I would have to deal with an argument from that one and that is one battle that I just don't need to fight, so my kids go to bed at the same time. End of story. He's not here most of the time. Therefore, he shouldn't tell me how to parent my kids.
—Guest Tina

Most Hurtful Assumption

My son will be turning 4 on the 18th of October. I have been raising him on my own ever since he was 7 months old, and there was a time where his father abandoned us and did not pay child support. Even then, I never said a thing. When he explained to me that he was struggling, I only told him that we are struggling to. Three months after that he started paying maintenance again, but his contributions don't go even half way towards covering my child's basic needs. My son is growing up wonderfully, and I am doing my level best to ensure that he grows up to be a responsible citizen and become the best thing he can be, thanks to good advice and articles that I read on this site daily. I am writing today because for the very first time ever because I'm hurt that baby's daddy accused me of spoiling our son!
—Guest Ntokozo

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