By Audrey Cade
Why is the single mother so often misunderstood? Single moms are everywhere around us; yet, one would think she is as elusive and mysterious as a unicorn. It shouldn’t be that difficult to see all the remarkable things they do; but, so many misconceptions abound about who she is, what she does, what she wants, and what she needs.
A few experts on the subject (single moms, of course) weighed in to share the major single mom myths they encounter and, more importantly, the truth! So, let’s get to it and dispel some myths:
Debunking the stereotype
Marika Lindholm of ESME.com (Empowering Single Moms Everywhere) explained “one of the reasons I founded ESME was because as a divorced mom and sociologist, I was frustrated and saddened by the stereotypes thrown on single mothers. Single mothers are often described as lazy, morally lax, and needy. What I’ve found through focus groups is that they are hardworking, rarely date, and are fiercely independent. These modern-day superheroines sacrifice sleep, self-care, and much more so that they can do their best by their children. Instead of being made to feel less than, they deserve our admiration and respect!”
READ ALSO: Who Is Today’s Single Mom?
We could just drop the mic after Marika’s statement because she describes all that has to be said about how amazing single mothers are, not to mention how untrue many notions about them are. However, other moms had interesting insights about what the world thinks of them versus reality.
No, they don’t need to be rescued
Beauty blogger, cancer survivor, and all around kickass single mom Ashley (@LAMBLover on Twitter) described some of the frustrations of dating as a solo mom. “Men I date seem to think I need to be rescued, which can be projected one of two ways. They either take a knight in shining armor approach, or they act like I’m a burden. I’m like: guess what? I’m doing fine on my own! I don’t need a dad for my son, and I’m financially stable, so just chill on thinking I need you! So, let’s have a normal date or bye!”
When it comes to dating and relationships, it’s time for men to recognize that no knights are necessary.
In case some have missed the memo, single moms don’t need to be rescued! Ashley is just one example out of thousands of independent mamas who are getting it done without the need of help from anyone else. When it comes to dating and relationships, it’s time for men to recognize that no knights are necessary. If a single mom chooses to date, it’s because she’s interested in finding a man who can keep up with her wit, intellect, and all she has to offer. She might be interested in a companion, but none should assume she is fishing for a daddy, a hero, or financial bailout.
There’s no One-Size-Fits-All Advice
Your Ex Solutions blogger, Corinne Gillespie, (www.yourexsolutions.ca) wonders why common sense seems to fly out the window when it comes to advice given to single moms? One example: in her estimation, you should sell the house after a divorce, instead of clinging onto the marital home, and here’s why:
“I understand a single income household owning a home adds pressure to the budget. I am also quite aware that renting has its benefits. Would you give the same advice to a couple struggling to make ends meet because they had income issues? Unlikely. It’s probably more likely the conversation would revolve around ways to effectively increase their income. So, why is it that I have heard this advice many times in the nine years I have been single parenting? We need to remove or bring clarity to the lens of what a single mother can or should do. Property ownership is for any responsible adult!”
READ ALSO: 10 Things I Learned From My Kickass Single Mom
When I divorced, I was urged by well-meaning friends to fight for my marital home in the divorce because it is often seen as a major “prize” to be won. I determined that the house was no prize if it was more than I could manage to maintain by myself, it was out of my budget with just my income, or meant I had to live in a home filled with bad memories. If a single mom wants to buy a home, she will find a way to make it happen; but, it needs to be on her terms, with what makes the most sense for her individually, and not simply something to do because many others before have.
The biggest myth of all
What about all those who pity single moms and can’t imagine anything positive coming from the experience? A Boy and His Mom blogger, Cathy, (@aboyandhismom1) set the record straight “I feel that most people think that being a single parent can be the worst thing in the world. I don’t see it that way! I feel like I have a much stronger bond with my son because when he is with me, my focus is strictly on him and not having to share my focus with a husband or partner.”
While the break-up of a significant relationship and obvious challenges of parenting alone can be daunting, Cathy is so correct about the beautiful side of single parenting, which includes the ability to focus more on what matters most. The parent-child relationship can be stronger, as a result, not to mention other areas of a single mom’s life may bloom as a result of the necessity for her to cover all bases.
The beautiful side of single parenting includes the ability to focus more on what matters most.
Adversity brings out the best in many of us. A challenge, like single parenting, may force the hand of innovation, creativity, and priorities until a mom’s energy is concentrated like a laser, able to target exactly what needs to happen in the most efficient, resourceful, and loving way that only a single mom knows how to accomplish.
Let’s be clear, single mothers write their own ticket! They don’t fit anyone’s preconceived notions or fit into anyone’s box. If a job needs to be done, a single mom is your gal! If a challenge needs overcome, she’ll be the one to figure it out! And, she certainly won’t listen to the peanut gallery who has no idea who she really is and what she’s all about!
About the Author
Audrey Cade is the author of “Divorce Matters: help for hurting hearts and why divorce is sometimes the best decision” (on Amazon) and the matriarch of a blended family of eight. She is an experienced “divorce warrior” in the areas of co-parenting, step parenting, parental alienation, and re-marriage, and enjoys sharing these experiences with others who are also committed to raising happy and healthy kids. Audrey’s professional experience is as a case manager social worker with the developmentally disabled, families with young children, and homeless populations. She holds degrees in Early Childhood Education, Human Service & Management, and a Master’s in Psychology. She enjoys family outings, a variety of arts and crafts, cooking, gardening, and writing. She is a featured blogger for Divorced Moms, has work regularly appearing on Divorce Force, and articles appearing in Step Mom Magazine, The Good Men Project, and others.