Why I don't like being called a 'single mom'
Does it always have to sound so...negative?
Swap in “cancer survivor” where you see “single mothers,” “single moms,” or “single mother” in any of the following headlines:
“Single moms are strong, courageous”
“Justin Bieber releases ‘Turn to You’ to benefit single mothers”
“We care: Single disabled mother needs vacuum cleaner”
See what I mean?
Most of the “single mother” headlines sound like this. Single moms are noble and strong, but in desperate need of vacuum cleaners.
Newsflash: Being a single parent is hard. It’s exhausting. It’s financially challenging, and for some people, impossible. It demands everything of you when you having nothing left. And it leaves little time to regroup and recharge.
Dinner with friends is a luxury that requires precision tactical planning, not to mention extra cash. Most of the time it’s just easier to dine on peanut-butter sandwiches with a companion who laughs at her own poop jokes.
But it’s not a cancer diagnosis. That would truly suck.
More from MSN Living: Why we love single parents
And that’s why I describe myself as a “single parent,” more than I do as a ”single mom,” mostly because it makes me feel less pathetic, less like one of these headlines.
The great debate
While that conversation about women “having it all” has been going on, I’ve been paying attention to the other one about all the bad, horrible outcomes children of single parents can expect. Jason DeParle outlined the significant inequalities in social class that exist between children with two parents and children of single parents in “Two Classes in America, Divided by ‘I Do’.” He chronicles the very different choices and opportunities available to families who have two parents in the home and those that don’t–and how more money basically translates into a better life.
Bella DePaulo took him to task on Psychology Today for, among other things. not examining policies and laws that place single parents at an even greater financial disadvantage than their married counterparts.
Just think about the discount you get on car insurance when you buy more than one policy. And how much more likely it is that you’ll be able to buy a home with two incomes–and then get a nice deduction at the end of the year for owning the home that you wouldn’t have been able to to afford on your own.
I’m oversimplifying the many good examples she offers to make her argument, but you get the point.
But if the biggest factor in the equation of how well children of single parents fare is economic, and the number of single-parent families is increasing, then why aren’t we doing more to help single parents?
We could, for example, make quality childcare affordable to everyone. We could offer paid leave for hourly employees so they can care for themselves and their children without losing pay. We could let single parent households deduct more of their living expenses since they often have no other option than to rent. We could make it easier for them to purchase a home.
There’s much we could do, but it’s not an issue anyone cares enough about yet. And the group that needs protecting isn’t yet well-organized or wealthy enough to do much about advancing their cause.
And if you’re juggling a full-time job while raising kids on your own, you really don’t have time for this.
Single mom needs . . .
If the statistics about children growing up in single parent households are to be believed, then maybe I should start feeling sorry for myself and my daughter. Coming from a single-parent family means she has a greater risk of dropping out of high school, substance abuse, and getting pregnant as a teenager.
I don’t want to think about my daughter as being “at risk,” but she is. Her risk is significantly reduced by the fact that she lives in a home with a mother who makes a very good salary, owns a home, and is in fairly good financial shape–if you don’t count the number of times I’ve had to borrow money from my mom. My economic stability alone reduces her risk of being prey to the host of problems children of economically disadvantaged single mothers are. But if I lose my job, I’d need to sell my home. My daughter would need to change schools. I’d lose my health insurance. I’d start draining my already depleted savings.
And in no time, I’d need a vacuum cleaner.
Read more from Kristen Kennedy at her blog!
Want to contribute to MSN Mom to Mom? Email the editor
More from Mom to Mom
10 things all moms do at Target
Worst end of school mom ever
The perks of autism
"I'm a stay-home mom with a nanny"
"My mother-in-law is my BFF"
first you are a mom. once you have a child it's not about you. except for the fact you have to take of yourself first in order to take of the child.
second you are single.
make time for you n don't fret if it's only once in a blue moon.
some don't even get that.
instead of whining. be thankful.
if you look around you probably have more than you need.
n most certainly more than those in countries less fortunate than ours.
I feel sorry for all of these women that bought into the Feminist agenda: they are paying the price now.
Women, you better run from Steinem, Boxer and the like; they are a bunch of J_e_w miscriants!
They want it, so they get it!
Women wanted their independence and now they are crying in their beer.
Why is this woman single? hmmmmm......
Independence comes with a price!
I'm having trouble with this article.
On the one hand, the writer is trying to plead her case, to gain empathy.
Readers are supposed to come to the conclusion that "single mom" is an inappropriate term.
On the other hand, she's calling out couples who combine their income to build a life together. So what? I can't knock people who have a supportive partner, did planning, and happen to have a more solid life.
And in the same breath she goes on to say that these are the people who should dedicate themselves to "her cause" because she has "too little time".
I wasn't won over.
News, stories, tips and laughs for moms & dads
6-year-old has rare brain condition
He wanted to know if woman was pregnant
Did your state make the grade?
A new dad finds an Epcot Center's worth of innovation after expecting none at all.
Alcohol and tattoos are not meant for the pre-teen set
But Debra Harrell now has custody of daughter again
I am probably not the first to tell you this: Kids come with lots of stuff. Even if you try to be as minimal as possible, the little creatures require an awful lot to keep things running smoothly. Here's a master-plan slideshow of ways to cut corners on space in every room to accommodate all the things that come along with kids.
You never know for certain what type of parent you'll be until you've actually become one and your parenting style, as it becomes evident, may surprise you. Here are 4 parenting books to help you figure it all out.
Sunshine! Camping! Pool parties! BBQs! The sunny season is here and to help you make the most of it, we've hand-picked 7 great products to make this summer the best your family has ever had. Click through for our list to inspire your sunny day fun. From our sponsor: Walmart
We all love a picnic. But do one quick search for 'picnic ideas' on Pinterest and you're instantly teleported into a land of overachieving home chefs clearly looking for their big break on Food Network. Well, never mind that, we say. Scratch the 25-ingredient recipes and the incessant trips to the craft store for that perfect tablescape. Here are 5 truly simple picnic ideas that will look great, taste great, and make you feel like the winner you are! From our sponsor: Walmart
Admit it — you do these things, too! And that's OK. But maybe — just maybe — it's time to think about changing things up a little bit, for the sake of your sanity, your relationship with your kids, and because life's too short.
We asked veterinary experts and readers which breeds they think and if it is OK to shave longhaired pets in the summer.