Unfortunately, even today, there are a lot of assumptions made about single parents. Knowing only that you are raising your children alone, some people will assume that your children must be from a "broken home," or that they will have a harder time doing well in school, or will lack self-esteem or self-control.
As you think back on your life as a single mom or single dad, what has been the most hurtful thing that anyone has ever said to you about being a single parent, and how did you respond?Share Your Story
- Why do people presume I'm in a relationship just to get a father for my son? I've managed as a single parent for 11 years. Why would I suddenly now want a father for him? He already has a father, and if I were choosing a father for my son-- which I'm not -- I certainly wouldn't choose someone who says the only person I'm going to find to take on me and my son is someone that likes little boys more than women. Why is it so much to want my partner to like my son and build a bond with my child? I'm fed up with being called a piss taker for wanting this. Now his friends are even saying I just want a father for my son. My partner has seen my son only a handle full of times since we have been together. I'm not super woman. I just can't get babysitters when I'm demanded to. If I don't have a babysitter, my partner won't see me. I love him, but of course I love my son, too. I just want a quiet life and for us all to get on.
- —Guest char
Single Parent Not the Scarlet Letter
- I became a single parent following divorce, and I am neither broke, busted, or disgusted. My son is actually in a much better environment. My marriage was very abusive, and we are both adjusting well to our new single life. Yes, it can be difficult to balance both career and parenting, but that is challenging whether single or married. My only wish is that others would acknowledge that single parenting is not a societal pariah, and that many whole, happy single families are here to stay.
- —Guest Chrisdee
Single Parent Without His Rights
- I am a single father who has an absolutely clean record, a successful career, and is a home owner -- but couldn't get custodial rights of his daughter. I get my daughter 3 to 5 days a week, and I'm still stuck with the burden of child support. I care and want to be as much a part of my daughter's life as if she was living with me, but I struggle with a mother who obviously uses our daughter to punish me -- despite my having a clean track record and her record of kidnapping, false accusations, and clear anger issues. Yet she was given control. I struggle to be able to do what any other parent would normally do. I want to be a part of her life but cannot because of the mother and our court system. I can even pick her up or drop her off her daycare on the days that I have her. She is still very young now -- not even 2. What kind of life will her mom drag her through because of her anger with me? No parents should have to deal with the agony of supporting your child but not having a right to them.
- —Guest Aaron
Breaking the chain.....
- I feel like growing up as a foster child has shaped the way others view me, and now my children. It is true my children came at a time when I was young; and, yes, dad turned out to be less than perfect. And, no, I have no family to turn to for support. I do have a strong will, and I fight for my kids. They feel loved and are well cared for. I have worked hard for every thing I have, and I do not dwell on the things I do not have. I just wish some people would take the time to consider that I am not my mother, or my father. I may carry the burden of their names, and the scars of my past, but I do not have to pay for the sins they have committed. I am my own person. I have had my own struggles. I choose to live, and my children are two very good reasons to wake up every morning and just breathe. I love them, and I live for them. I also live for the day when people will forgive me for my parents' sins, and start to accept me for the person I am. Just give me a chance.
- —Guest lilmisspayne
I'm not perfect, but neither are they.
- I am a 42-year-old mother of three children (16, 12, and 10). My oldest child has a different father than the youngest two. Society has a way of looking down on an unwed mother; particularly is she has more than one child, and most certainly if they're not fathered by the same man. I didn't have children thinking I would be a single mother, but I've realized you can't "make" a person be a father to their child. After years of non-support from my boys' father (financially or emotionally), I decided to go back to school as an adult. I've completed an AA in Paralegal Studies, an BA in Management and am 12 credits away from my MA, which I am currently completing. I work full-time, go to school and still can't get the emotional support needed from either of these men. Ironically, I still get the speech about how I chose to have the kids and it's my responsibility to take care of them. I love my children and always have, but it amazes me how they can move on with their lives with no accountability!
- —Guest Carmen
Being a single father is easy?
- I am so tired of hearing about single mothers having a tough time. What about single fathers? Public service announcements are always talking about how hard it is for single mothers, but for single fathers it is harder to get government help. And most of them have to fight the courts harder,because most courts would rather give custody to mothers for some reason--even the bad ones. I had a very good job in engineering, but with school pick-ups, daily caring etc., I had to quit. I now work as a self-employed construction worker, but with daily life and schedules, I am not making it. (I sometimes struggle to get food on the table.) This is not a sob story. I chose to fight my ex in court because I love my boy and wanted him to have a loving parent in his life. The only thing that won me custody was that I turned my life around and worked with the courts (drug testing, parenting classes, anger management, etc.). I won custody because she was not complying with the courts. I now live to make sure that he has everything he needs!
- —Guest Tim
I Chose It!
- The most hurtful assumption I've experienced is that I screwed up somehow and therefore became a single parent. I, in fact, CHOSE to be a single parent. After waiting for years for Mr. Right, I decided to move ahead and adopt a little girl. From the start, people who don't know us assume she's an "accident" resulting from a relationship with a father of a different race. Some of my more provincially thinking coworkers assume that I just screwed up and am "unfair" to my child for adopting as a single parent. I always want to say that the demographic of single parenthood is changing, and you can no longer assume that it was all an unfortunate circumstance. Single parents by choice are a growing number, and we are really challenging the stereotypes so many people believe.
- —Guest Lin
It's So Worth It
- I'm a single dad with two boys, Tanner, who's 11, and Aaron age 6. I live in Oklahoma in a midsized town. There are a lot of people studying me like a hawk. My boys are top of their class, and they're doing awesome in everything they do. I run my own company, and I still have plenty of time for them. I have no family here, and no babysitter. It can be done! You just have to keep in mind that they are studying you and trusting you. God gave me the two boys, and I don't want to let Him down. Their mom got on painkillers, and hasn't come to see them for over two years. She started harder drugs, like meth, for one. So, guys, just understand one thing, the courts are getting used to our situation. If you have your priorities right, it will work out. My boys have never been happier. They feel safe now. I have a new-found respect for single mothers, as well. It's not easy.
- —Guest Jason
Dad Raising 4 Daughters
- Although the stigma slowly slipped away as I got older, I had a difficult time watching women run for the door when they learned how many children I have. That may have been the most hurtful non-verbal message I received. With time, I focused on my young children, and we developed strong, healthy relationships. Eventually women saw my engaging commitment to my children, and this became an attractive feature. I write in a blog inspired by these experiences: www.parentingforsingles.blogspot.com
- —Guest Bruce
- I've had my two boys now for more than two years. It was a hard thing to get adjusted to at first, but it is well worth it. Their mother started doing drugs, neglecting the kids, and became abusive. Sometimes you just have to do what is best for the kids, no matter what!
- —Guest Jason
It's Up to Us to Change the Perspective!
- Despite popular assumptions, single parents are not all broke, busted and disgusted! That’s like saying, ALL African Americans like fried chicken and watermelon. Or, ALL Jamaicans smoke weed! These and many other stereotypes have come about due to a history of consistency among cultures and groups of people. So, I guess you can't completely blame the onlookers. But what I will say is that we alone are responsible for altering the image of single parenting. I DO NOT BELIEVE IN GLORIFYING IT but instead, working just a little bit harder and making fewer excuses for how we ended up here. I am on a mission to change the way society views single parenting (especially single moms), but the only way that will happen is if we all get on board as individuals and make a collective effort to change it. The majority rules, always. If interested, visit my blog www.samestorydifferentface.com and keep in touch with me, as I will with you. It a project that’s just started but it is going somewhere!
- —Guest SameStoryDifferentFace
The View of a Child
- I never told anybody. I was so angry at my dad. I still am. My dad was so mean to my poor mum, I wanted to beat him. The most terrible thing is how normal it is for your parents to be split. I wanted a dad who would take care of me, hug me when I had problems in school, and be proud of me. Instead, he terrorized my mum and disrupted our everyday life. I spent evenings beating the pillows with my fists and crying. My mum always stood at my side, and I am very grateful. My mum was not part of a very small minority. She was normal.
50-ish Men Taking Out Their Crises On Me
- I guess I haven't noticed too much discrimination -- maybe it's there and I just don't see it. The one thing that really does shock me, though, is men in their 40's and 50's who're clearly unhappy with how their lives have gone, and are looking for someone to feel superior to. They seem to think it'd be keen to pity me and that I'd fall gratefully into their laps. And they get really nasty and angry when they finally understand -- and boy does it take a while to get through -- that a) I don't want them; b) I'm actually pretty happy, have a great kid, a nice house, and a good life. I don't know who they think they are, but they seem to think single moms exist so that they can be better than *somebody*. It's insulting!
- —Guest myself
- I've been doing this by myself from the beginning, and the place where I work is full of old-school women. The worst thing I've heard was a resident saying to another resident, "She's going to hell because she's having a baby out of wedlock." And, sadly, I can't say anything back. Another one was "OMG! She's a single mother. I wonder what she did to scare the dad away." All I could think about was, really, how many of these women could sit there and truly say they were happily pregnant and married (while complaining about what their husbands put them through). My baby's father wanted nothing to do with us, and yet it's my fault?
- —Guest singlemomact1
"Single Parent on the Prowl"
- I remember being in a crowd of women at my daughter's school, where I volunteered. Once they learned I was divorced, the other women acted like it was catching or I was on the prowl for their man. Men were the farthest thing from my mind after ending a 20 year relationship! My daughter's well being and education were on my mind. Being a single mom with a job, it was hard to volunteer, but I did it every week. I sure could have used some female friendship at the time, too, since I was in a new town and all.
- —Guest Marjie