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Home Single Motherhood 13 Things I Hate About Being a Single Mom

In my 14 years as a single mom these are the top things that bug me the most about being a single mom. It’s not so much about the situation directly because I’ve made my peace with it but mostly about the irrelevant people that make this journey most annoying. I apologize in advance if this seems harsh and out of character for me, but I’ve been holding it in for a very long time and today seemed like a very good day to vent provide a little commentary of my own.

1. Very little adult conversation – It’s nice to talk to people over the age of 25 but often it’s a very long time between really good conversations. That’s an irritating perk of single motherhood.

2. Doing it all with few breaks or time to refresh – I’m really good at doing it all and I probably make it look too easy, but after a while I need a break to refresh and renew my body and mind. Fortunately I have great friends and family who live far enough away to send the kids off for a week or the summer :-).

3. Stupid judgmental people (mostly mainstream media) that attempt to generalize and discredit single moms as a whole through banal articles and commentary – It’s probably the whole drama factor that boosts ratings but, for crying out loud, can they give it a rest already!

4. Stupid studies and statistics conducted by people who don’t know the first things about what it means to be a single mom – I’ve come across quite a few and depending on the organization conducting the interview or the people financing it, the reported results will lean heavily toward the negative side. These people have no clue and most likely have never actually talked to the single moms these studies are based on.

5. Smug married moms who think I’m after their husbands – I try to be patient about this because they have probably heard horror stories and the latest gossip about the single mom that stole her best friend’s, sisters, cousin’s, boyfriend’s momma’ husband. The hilarious part is the lady’s husband is probably overweight, lazy, and very unattractive. I think I can do MUCH better than that, LOL.

6. Encountering people who think their pity for me is going to somehow make my life better – Really?!?!? I don’t need pity and I don’t ask for it. I can do that all by myself. What I want it someone to mentor me and show me how to make a million in the next two years.

7. Listening to people say, “I can’t see how I do it all” – I believe everyone can rise to the occasion. Single parenting is no different. Some people are stronger than others and can handle the stress better. The single mom life is not something I dreamed of living one day, but this is where my choices led me so I suck it up and do it all with very little help.

8. Ignorant men who assume I make my money from being a stripper – This is a biggie for me. Again this is ignorance at its finest. Too many movies and HBO documentaries I suppose. There are probably a thimble-full of single moms who strip for a living but the entire demographic gets the label. Ummmm…think again genius.

9. Those awful “I Support Single Moms” t-shirts with lady dancing on a pole – I have no words for these. No words.

10. The uncomfortable silence in the air after I mention I am a single mom during an otherwise lovely conversation with someone I’ve just met – Why is my marital status such an issue? Instead of asking me a few intelligent questions, automatic conclusions seem to be drawn about who I am, my character, etc. Most annoying.

11. Dating (or considering dating) a man who thinks I will or should sleep with him just because I’m a single mom – This mentality is the very reason it’s important to be selective about whom you date. After a hearing this conveyed (in so many words) one too many times I stopped dating all together. I took a look at myself to see what kind of vibes I was sending out. After checking myself I decided to test the waters again. I still encountered a few jerks, but overall things improved because I raised my standards by refusing to speak further with any man that talked about or focused on what he could do for me sexually or talked about his past exploits in the first conversation; even under the guise of “just joking”. Whatever!

12. The disbelief when people find out I’m an unmarried mother who is successful and actually happy – This is really funny, but kind of sad too. Most people have believed the lie that all single moms are lazy, depressed, welfare mothers. If she’s not, then she can only have a job at McDonald’s, a gas station, or some retail store. The idea that single moms don’t go to college because they got knocked up in high school and never finished is very one dimensional. Despite being an unmarried mother/divorcee/widow, most are still very determined to be successful and have the good life for themselves and their children. So I say to the unbelievers, “get over it”, and move out of the way of that single mom who’s doing her thing.

13. Married women who tell me I’m lucky to be single and don’t have to deal with the headache of being married – This has to be one of the most irritating things I hear. Again, I try to be patient but I just want to shake them. Too many fail to understand the power she has to create the kind of loving, responsive husband on the planet. Men are not that complicated (Thanks T.). Most just want to be appreciated and feel significant in your life. Unfortunately the demanding, needy wives get nothing but grief because they haven’t learned how to make the needs of her man a priority. So I listen to this and say to myself, “If you only knew, I’d trade places with you in a heartbeat”.

So those are the 13 Things I Hate About Being a Single Mom. What are yours?

33 replies to this post
  1. Whew!!! Some of these I would not have thought of, but of course you make excellent points. My fave, because I can’t stop laughing at the ridiculousness of it: “Smug married moms who think I’m after their husbands.” People…

    Thanks for this list. I believe you are speaking a lot of moms’ truths!

    xo,
    ~Deesha

  2. Deesha that should have been at the top of the list, but I didn’t want to come out of the gate on such a touchy subject. It is quite laughable though and show how insecure many people are. The truth is it’s the last thing on my mind. I just may need someone to clean the gutters or check out my car!

  3. I don’t have a bunch of those gripes, but I understand them anyway. Believe it or not, I speak to more single mothers than I do married mothers. Maybe that’s cuz I live in the south (???). No, really, that was a joke! LOL Anywho the one gripe I can agree with you on is #1–I WISH I could have more grown up talk on a more regular basis than I have now. My child is 13 (soon) and MAN CAN SHE TALK! But, talking about movie stars and music stars gets on my nerves after awhile. And #11–that sometimes creeps up on me…and catches me off guard!
    Good posting

  4. LaShanta thanks for your comment and welcome to the site! I completely get having a teen and really wanting to talk about more than the latest song and artist (most whom I have no idea what she’s talking about :-)). My son talks more than my daughter so by the end of the week I am desperately searching for some adult interaction.

    Yes, #11 is very creepy. It’s sad, but a very real part of dating as a single parent.

  5. Great article!

    Although I haven’t encountered all of your irritating issues, I have come across one or two.

    One thing I wanted to comment on is the use of the term “single mother.” Yes!, it has been stereotyped! I seldom use it. It is like all other terms that started out as a label and ended up as a pigeon-holing separator.

  6. Judith I was just admonished last weekend to stop using the term “single mom” or “single mother”. Not just because of the negative connotations but because all mothers are single mothers in the literal term. There can’t be two mothers (unless it’s a lesbian couple). The term single parent is probably more accurate and carries less negativity in general. Some use the term solo parent as well.

    I agree that overall the label has become a pigeon-holing separator even though single parent moms have been around for centuries. I have many theories about why in the last two centuries it’s become so negative. Many reason are obvious, but others quite subtle.

    I appreciate your comment and presence on this site!

  7. Interesting. I haven’t encountered many of these but I concur. I hate it when married women have a job, a husband, a child and then say, I have to bring snacks for the team, I’m so busy. Really? Your husband is home with the child while you go to the store. Trying doing it alone.

  8. T. Marie Thanks so much for your comment!

    Admittedly, I haven’t encountered these very recently but each one has happened over my 13 years as a single mom. Being older and wiser I simply ignore people and make better choices. What happened to me occurred mostly in church settings.

  9. I have to say that #13 is the best! My sister is married and complains about her husband all the time… Before I moved away, I was recieving assistance and she once threatened to leave her husband. Then she came crying to me asking me how she could get assistance. I told her to take her rear end home(to her great husband!)and stop thinking I live a glamorous life!

  10. @Kim I totally understand! Sometimes we simply have to give people a dose of reality and ask them to think about making a drastic permanent change just because they are temporarily upset.

  11. I can definitely relate to number 7, “I can’t see how you do it all.” I cringe every time hear those words to me. Another one I hear is, “how can you afford that?” Or hearing, “do they ever see their dad?”

    If we were to focus on what seems to be impossible to others in our roles as single parents, where would our children be?

  12. Those questions are so annoying at times. Depending on my mood I may just smile and walk away or use it as a time to educate them. That’s why I love writing about my experiences because it educates people and helps them see that single motherhood/parenthood is not all doom and gloom. Sure, it’s stressful a lot of times but for the most part there is a good balance.

    You are so right about our focus impacting our children. We create the life we want for ourselves and for them. Thanks so much for commenting!

  13. I’m a 37-year-old widow with 6-year-old twins. I prefer “lone parent” to “single mom” — the term used in the U.K. to describe widowed parents raising children. You think married moms think you’re after their husband when you’re single? You’re got nothing on the stink-eye they give you if you’re a widow. And while nobody would mistake me for a stripper, they do ask if I deal pot, thanks to “Weeds.”

    In addition to 1) having zero time to myself without paying someone else to take care of my kids and 2) accepting the drastically lowered standards of only have one parent’s income and time, I really hate people who assume that remarrying will make me happy. I’m already happy. I’m employed. My kids are great. We’re healthy. I will only bring a partner into my life if he complements what we already have, not fill in some supposedly “missing” pieces.

  14. Great comments ladies!

    Samantha, I am loving your energy. I am a “divorced” mother of two who was sick and tired of living paycheck- to- paycheck and decided to take charge of my financial situation. On my journey I realized that I have the right and the power to live debt-free. I also realized that the poor financial choices that I was making was keeping me broke. I am looking forward to adding rich to my title in the near future.

    http://Thejourneytowealth.blogspot.com
    Lucille Baldwin
    Author of: Sick and Tired of Being Broke”

  15. Wow! Selling pot. Now that’s interesting. I’ve never seen “Weeds” so I don’t have a good point of reference. The media plays such a big part in people’s perception. It’s sad so many believe that fiction is a reflection of real life.

    Good for you about not giving in to the pressure of feeling like you have to be married. Being happy with life is more important. But if a good man comes along and can integrate into your life, that’s just the icing on the cake.

  16. Hi Lucille. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. The energy is purely because I love motivating people and want them to live their best lives. I love the title of your book. I look forward to reading it soon.

  17. The “You only have one child” comments really tick me off. Yes, I have one child and I am ONE person with a job, mortgage, child and NO TIME at all for myself and no help from anyone. This comment came from a housewife whose kids go to their GRANDMA’S house after school while she sits around all day sleeping and watching Jerry Springer. Wow.

  18. Thank you so much for this list!I have experienced all of the items on this list…I used to get irritated, now I just laugh. Has anyone ever gotten this one…you are having a regular everyday conversation with someone and the conversation is flowing smoothly until they find out you’re a single mom and then they start speaking really slowly and loudly like you need help comprehending what other people are saying? I usually answer back really slowly and loudly until they get the hint and stop. Or I just ask them point blank what they are doing.

  19. OMG, this is a hilarious article and so true at every level. I have heard is all. Infact I have another one that is very annoying and would like to add to yours – here goes …” I don’t know how you do it a single parent”!!! Really? Unfortunately this usually comes from girls that are not even married but are just co-habiting with no ring on their finger and to make it worse, their own relationships are so messed up. I always wonder if they throw comments like that out of their own fears or hatred that the single parents are holding their own???

  20. I am so glad I found this article . I was starting to think I was the only one experiencing the discrimination of single moms. I am a single mom of 3 kids 13,9,6. I have owned my own home for 9 years and have been alone that amount of time except for a reconcilation with the dad 6 years ago for about a year. when I did get back with my ex 6 years ago I actually missed being a single mom and doing it all alone. BUt that is not why I broke up with him. I have a professional job but I do get the comments all the time as listed above. The one that drives me crazy is The “I dont know how you do it” comment because it is stating that my life must be hell compared to the married womans life and that I am so deprived/.When you really doing it alone all the time as I have. You want to be recognized for the happy family you have and feel normal in this sometimes difficult life and sometime I feel people want to show you their disapproval of your life by these type of comments instead of seeing the positive.

  21. I wish us single moms could band together and show the world that we do raise wonderfully happy kids and that we can be happy without a man. as the divorce rate is sooo high and so many people stay in unhappy marriages with unhappy kids. Its too bad that we cant get more pats on the back from society for wanting our kids to be happy by caring enough to get out of a bad marriage or relationship.

  22. Someone saying “I don’t know how you do it,” I imagine, is someone who is saying “wow you probably barely get any alone time, you’re likely working twice as hard as the average parent trying to cover both roles and put food on the table, that’s amazing.” I never realized that could be construed as a negative comment. I think a successful single parent who can raise a child to be well behaved and productive is amazing!

  23. This article was fantastic and just what I needed. Im also a single mom. I think I laughed out loud about the “Uncomfortable silence when you just tell someone you are a single mom.” I told my sister the other day (who doesn’t have kids) that sometimes I just want to avoid that convo altogether because I am not awkward but people get so uneasy. But if you really think about it, there are plenty of single parents out there. I also agree about the marriage thing. I ran into 2 girlfriends one time that said their husbands were at home with their children. I had to take a step back and think whoa, so you get to go out and do stuff! I told them to never take their husbands for granted because they are a huge help. Another thing that personally bothers me (may just be me…): I was told one time single mothers complain too much. Oh and someone wrote the “You only have one child” That is annoying and people who say that obviously don’t have children.

  24. Ooops, I accidentally hit submit :D

    For the most part, I think when people say ‘Wow I don’t know how you do it’ they are trying to give you kudos for a hard job, because it IS a hard job and guess what, you DO rock at it.

    Someone who says that really, literally doesn’t know how you do it all or can’t imagine that they can do it themselves.

    You are mummy and Daddy while raising great kids, and not just getting by, but doing a fantastic job :)

    That’s my2 cents on that topic anyways.

  25. Hi! I’m a newlywed 22 year old with no kids but I just wanted to say, bravo on this article! You vented without sounding bitc*hy :)

  26. I am just sick of doing everything myself….from being the breadwinner…. To making dinner…. Cleaning out the garage… The yard…. The house…the homework…..the sports…. The discipline…. The grocery shopping…. You probably get it. Can’t stop… Must keep moving…

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