mamamia out-loud

"This is what it's really like being the child of a single mum."

There are some challenges faced by single parent families that coupled families will never understand.

Challenges that go beyond trying to raise multiple children while maintaining a mortgage, full-time job and Saturday sport roster.

Take such challenges, faced by both coupled and single families, and add trying to handle not just your own emotional issues but those of others who ask about your situation.

Listen to the MMOL hosts discuss the story of one mum who went above and beyond for her son on this week’s podcast.

Only a child of a single parent family will understand the special treat that is watching somebody immediately regret asking what happened to your mother or father.

(Spoiler: You don’t want to know and you will apologise so much that I will begin to apologise for telling you.)

Life as a child of a single parent family may sound a bit gloomy but being raised in such a way expands your mind to the possibilities beyond the “traditional” family unit.

I learned from a young age that only having a mum didn’t disqualify me from “dad activities”. If anything, it eliminated the idea that activities needed to be tied to gender.

I was still taken to AFL games, albeit reluctantly, and I still went fishing and played catch. There was no over-protective dad to “guard me” from unsuitable suitors –  instead, there was a fierce tiger mum who was far more unsettling than any burly bloke.

Single mums are also adept at last minute HELP ME, COOK THIS" cooking. This is my mum helping me make pancakes for a recent work event... at midnight. I am 24.

Single mums and single dads are surprisingly effective at taking on the roles of their counterparts.

We can stop applauding the single dads plaiting their daughters' hair because my mum didn't get one clap for fixing the sink.

Single parents learn very early on they must upgrade their organisational skills if they are to keep up with two-parent families.

I was lucky (or unlucky) enough to have a best friend who was also raised by a single mum. The obstacle of "who will take the girls to netball" became an early lesson in carpooling, shared parenting and the idea that women can get their shit together enough to take care of not just their kid but another one too.

It's an important lesson and one that I share as the last census estimated there to be 641,000 single parent families currently residing in Australia.


We're more common than you think.

Whitney Kittrell (Source: Facebook)

The focus on single parent families reared its head this week after one mum dressed as a man to attend the 'Dads and Donuts' day at her son's school.

Podcast hosts Monique Bowley, Mia Freedman and Jessie Stephens discussed the story of single mother Whitney Kittrell on this week's episode of Mamamia Out Loud .

"Let's talk about a kickass woman doing kickarse things of kickassery," Monique said.

Monique went on to explain the story of Kittrell and how positively everyone has reacted to her decision.

"She gathers up her best dad outfit, paints on a beard and then goes to the 'Dads and Donuts' day as a dad," she said.

Mia spoke about the empathy she feels for children who are excluded from similarly gendered events.

"My daughter is at the school with the daughter of Katrina Dawson, who was killed in the Lindt cafe. On Mother's day, I always feel so desperately sad for that little girl," she said.

"So I love that idea. I mean, she always has her grandmothers and her aunts but it's a really tough day for some kids."

Monique went on to share her disbelief in such gendered days still being incorporated into schooling.

"I can't believe schools are still having 'Dads and Donuts' days or breakfasts..." She said.

The question of whether schools should allow such gendered days of celebration is one I'll leave you to mull over.

"Father's Day" has never been an easy day for me or my best friend but if being raised by a single mum has taught us anything, it's that tomorrow will be better.

Listen to the full episode of MMOL to hear more about what women are talking about this week.

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