I can count the number of times I have said the words, “I’m a single mom”. One time when trying to update my Instagram profile with keywords I wrote, “single mom”. Then I immediately deleted it. It just felt wrong. I did an interview once on being a single mom, which I actually was kind of proud of. After that, I thought maybe I should step out more into the “single mom” arena and was going to write a guest post for a single mommy blog. But, when it came down to it, I just didn’t feel right about it.
Now, before I go any further, I want to say there is nothing wrong with women referring to themselves as single moms. I just don’t prefer to do it myself.
Why? I’m glad you asked!
- A mom by any other name is still a mom. Married moms don’t go around saying “I’m a married mom”. Or engaged moms, “I’m an engaged mom”. If they did, I’m sorry but I would probably giggle. I don’t like to label myself a single mom because my marital status has nothing to do with my role as “mom”. If I had a husband, I would still be a mom. I would just also be a wife. I don’t want to separate myself from other moms by wearing the “single mom” badge. Because, at the end of the day, we are all moms.
- I would rather not talk about it. I distinctly remember a conversation I had once at church. Another mom and I were swapping c-section recovery stories. I joked that God must have had mercy on me since I had no one to pull my pants down for me to go the restroom or put me in the shower. At this point, another person who was involved in the conversation, said, “I didn’t know you were a single mother.” Suddenly, this funny conversation turned serious. At least, in my mind, it did. Though, I know that was not at all the intent. I felt bad. I was even a little embarrassed. I feared that this lighthearted conversation would suddenly turn into questions about my situation. I will say, that since then, this person and I have become good friends and she has been thoroughly filled in on my situation. Also, as far as I can recall, no one bombarded me with questions that day at church. But it has happened. A lot. People want to know details. They wonder how I ended up as a single mom, I suppose, especially since I was single throughout my pregnancy. For the most part, though, I don’t want to talk about it. I just want to be a mom, like all the other moms.
- Every mom has challenges. Sure, there are some challenges to being a single mom but… what mom doesn’t have challenges? Perhaps being “single” is my challenge but for some women, it’s being married that’s the challenge. Ok, I’m kind of kidding, but kind of not. There are some things that I don’t have to do deal with, like arguing over how much I spend on baby clothes! Also, being the sole person responsible for the day to day care of my son is my life – I just do it. I don’t have the challenge of managing my frustrations over someone else not helping me enough… or at all. Moms with spouses have financial problems, family problems… we all have problems. Being single doesn’t make my life any harder than anyone else’s. It’s just different.
- It may paint an inaccurate picture of what my life is really like. I am extremely fortunate. My parents have opened up their home for us to live with them and I pay a fraction of the price I would pay in rent anywhere else. My son has his own room (full of toys!). We live in an extremely nice and safe neighborhood (which is a big relief, because we live in a city that is notoriously “bad”). I receive financial support from my son’s dad’s family which covers all of my son’s regular needs. This allows me to use me to use my income for rent, my own needs and other extras that come up. And, the really big one… I get to stay home with my son. While I don’t have a lot of the luxuries I used to have and sharing living space is challenging, I don’t come even close to struggling the way many single moms do.
- In many ways, I don’t feel single. My marital status box might check off “single” but I don’t feel single. In fact, I frequently refer to the time before I had my son as “when I was single”. I may not be married but I am far from single, as in alone.
I’m not saying I try to hide the fact that I’m a single mom or that I don’t ever reference it, I definitely have and I’m sure I will again. It’s just not a label I carry around. Being “single” does not define me as a woman or a mom.