Dear mothers who are not single,
PLEASE STOP calling yourself a ‘single mum’. I am a single mum. No inverted commas.
Are you looking for pity because your partner is at work while you’re at home with your child/ren? You won’t get it from single mums. Do you know how many single mums would love the luxury of being at home with their children but can’t be because they carry the financial responsibilities for their family?
Please, for the love of the ever-challenged sisterhood, please stop referring to yourself as a ‘single mum’ if you aren’t. Whether it is a ‘Monday to Friday single mum’ or ‘a single mum while my partner’s away’ or whatever other luxurious version of life you enjoy, just stop.
Some single mums choose to be single. We may have left unsafe marriages, or desperately unhappy marriages. We are fighting this hard for our children to provide a safer, happier life for them.
Other single mums have been left to deal with life as a single mum because their partner has walked out, or maybe even died. Many single mums rarely get a break, if ever. There is no one to share the financial stress, or decision making. There is no one to help make decisions on care with, or share the emotional load. There is no one to get up even once to a crying baby, day or night. We are on our own.
Day in, day out. Every. Single. Day.
You know what else single mums are? Supportive. While you are complaining to your single mum friends that you feel like a 'single mum' she likely comforts you, knowing you are doing it tough right now, & whatever your tough looks like, your pain is real. She acknowledges that. She just really wished you'd chosen your words differently.
Because you are nothing like a single mum, and unless you have been, you truly have no idea how exceedingly difficult it is. It is not a badge you can put on & off.
When you complain about your partner and say things like "it
would just be easier if I was a single mum" you are being incredibly insensitive & offensive. Please stop throwing the
'single mum' title around. Please, just stop.
I have friends whose husbands work very long hours, and/or are away. A lot. I see them taking on enormous responsibility at home. I see them juggling their jobs with the needs of their family at home, mostly on their own. I see them. I see you.
Parenting is exhausting. For everyone. Whatever your home life looks like. It can be a lonely, relentless, frustratingly stressful time. It may be the hardest thing you have ever done. It is agony & ecstasy; the lowest of lows & highest of highs. It is also the deepest love of your life. A blessing many long for.
LISTEN: How does it feel to suddenly become a single mum? This Glorious Mess speak to a mother going through just that (post continues after audio...)
You don't need to dramatise your life by saying you're a ‘single mum’, for whatever extent of time it is this time. Can't you just be on your own with the kid/s for that time? You are not single.
Spare a thought for your single mum friend next time you are catching up. While your partner is at home with your children, she's paying a sitter to look after her kid/s, watching the dollar clock tick over so she can hang out with you.
Buy her a drink, let her know you see her too.