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What Not to Say to a Single Mom

Single Mom
Source- Larsen & Talbert

Becoming a single mom usually happens due to circumstance or by choice. Unfortunately this brings on a number of misunderstanding about family dynamics and regardless of marital status motherhood is hard.

Single moms just may have a bit more difficulty when it comes to certain situations, though not for the stereotypical reasons. More often then not it’s about making decisions and at times getting judged by others for no longer having a spouse. Here’s a look at statements never to utter to someone who is a single mom as in most cases it’s hurtful and predicated on ignorance.

  • How do you do it?” We do it because it has to be done. We want to provide our children with a stable, healthy, and nurturing household. This is a rhetorical question that can make the mom feel very inadequate.
  • You look tired.” Seriously? More often than not we’re working full-time, running a household, and taking on all parental duties on our own. However exhausting it may be, it’s very fulfilling to be able to balance this on our own.
  • I’m so proud of you.” Thanks, do I get a gold star? NO. Are you saying that you’re not proud of moms in a relationship with their child’s father? It sounds very demeaning.
  • What happened with the child’s father” That’s none of your business. We don’t want to recant the story time after time.
  • You need some alone time” If you’re going to ask this, you better be prepared to then say “I’d love to babysit for you this Saturday night.” If you don’t ask, it sounds like you’re rubbing it in that you get to have alone time.
  • You must be so lonely” No, not all of us need to be in a relationship to be validated or feel less alone. We have our children.
  • It must be so hard to date.” Considering that we rarely get time to ourselves, do you really think we have time to fill it with someone else? We will date when we’re ready and when time allows.
  • How do you afford to be a single parent” We work. We work very hard. No matter how a single mom pays for her expenses, inquiring for specifics on how she does it is over the line. You wouldn’t ask how a multi-income family affords their lifestyle, right?
  • Children need fathers for male role models” Not all fathers are role models. It’s the quality of the relationship that the child has with the participating parent that matters the most. There are uncles and grandpa’s that can step in for male role models.
  • My husband goes out-of-town a lot, I know exactly how you feel.” No, you don’t know how we feel. Being a single mother is a 24/7 responsibility. If you’re not a single mother or have ever been a single mother, never say this. It’s very offensive.
  • It must be nice to have a break while your kid is at their dads” There are mothers that look forward to a break for a day or two. However, it’s very tough being forced to be away from your child. It can be very isolating, lonely, and sad.

Being a single parent isn’t a walk in the park, it’s more like a blindfolded maze. You don’t get a manual on how to be a parent, raise kids, or separating from the child’s father. It’s a live and learn situation that is plagued by stigmatization. Single moms aren’t always on government assistance, strippers, or gold diggers. They’re just like any other mother out there. Single parents, in general, aren’t given the amount of respect they deserve. Next time you find yourself in a conversation with a single parent just ask “How are you and (insert childs name)?”



Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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