It’s not secret that single mums have a bad reputation. Let’s just be honest here, we can cry all we want but that’s the reality. It’s the whole reason I created this blog, to escape the stigma that surrounds us every day. I can’t take another assumption on my morals, my character and my integrity based upon my status as a single mother. Why should I? Why should you? The fact that we have successfully procreated and not ended up in marital bliss with a perfect husband does not reflect on our core personality. It just means we had a failed relationship. Which the majority of the population can relate to- correct? I see people’s faces drop when I tell them. It’s subtle but it’s there.People may SAY the right thing but they are secretly glad it’s not them in our situation. They secretly think that they would never be so stupid or reckless. They think they will have the fairytale, until it happens to them.
People will whip out statistics that show the rate of career success related to single parenthood. The rate of child abuse in single parent families. I’m not a statistic. I’m an individual. We could vomit statistics on anything and make it look good. But that’s what computers do. We aren’t computers. Statistically my children are more likely to have
behavioural problems, do poorly in school and have low self worth related to their lack of father figure. None of these things are a reality for me. Not a single one. Raise your hand if you feel the same. I will not rest until I am seen as an equal in society, and neither should you. I will not be swept under the carpet until I “prove myself” worthy. I don’t want people to say “she’s done well… FOR A SINGLE MUM”. I don’t want to feel accepted in the club when I finally find a nice man to settle down with so I’m more acceptable to those who judge me.
But there are several things we are doing that don’t serve us. I’m sorry to say it and I’m going to be blunt. If we want to kick the stereotypes we are going to have to stop doing these things. We are going to have to stand up and be counted. We are going to have to lead by example. I hope this hits a nerve. A few years ago it would have hit my nerves too. I’ve DONE these things. In this over-offended, social media run bubble I’m bound to upset someone. But guess what? I don’t care.
1. Stop bashing your ex. It’s toxic and there are no winners. Yes he was a bastard, but move on. Deal with him in a businesslike manner. Speak only of maintenance payments and visitation. (See how to deal with a ridiculous ex the classy way) Bashing him makes you look pathetic. It lets him win. It makes you look crazy.
2. Stop playing the victim. “Oh this is so hard” life is hard. It feels good to moan but there’s a point where it has to stop. You don’t serve yourself or your children very well if you are running around bleating like a sheep with three legs. Take it in your stride like a lioness.
3. Stop playing the martyr. Yes you made a sacrifice. Yes it hurts to be wiping up shit while the rest of your friends are downing Tequila. Yes it hurts to see your ex and his new woman parading around the town like Jack and Rose from Titanic. You aren’t Joan of Arc, you aren’t going to win any medals for Martyrdom.
4. “No one wants a single mum” this kind of attitude will land you with a low quality man who takes you for granted. (I say this from experience)
5. Thinking you are being “strong” when you use the kids as a weapon. You aren’t, this is a self serving move that does nothing but hurt the children.
6. Staying with an abuser for the “sake of the children” again this is self serving. It only allows you to stay in a situation where you are brainwashed into believing you partner is a good guy.Your children will grow up more damaged than if you were on your own.
7. Talking to your 2 year old about “how bad Daddy is”. I’ve actually seen this. It’s not cute.
8. Pretending to hate your ex when you are still head over heels in love with him. Just admit it, then you can get the right support and move on. Again this is damaging to the children. They pick up on your confused feelings.
9. Moaning about not finding work/education/ how it’s impossible with kids. Again I speak from experience. Keep trying. You are the CEO of your life, don’t give up. Government funded childcare has risen, university students receive childcare grants. If you don’t get an interview, try again. If you want to start a business-do it.
10. General negative attitude. What can you achieve with it? Laugh at the bad times, cry on the floor if you have to. Then dust yourself off and get over it. You are a Queen, act like one.
If you don’t do any of these things, that’s great, this doesn’t apply to you. If you do, learn from it. Build your life as YOU want it. Start from the bottom rung. You will fuck up many times, we all do. Whatever you’ve suffered whether it be abuse, drug addiction, cheating- you can move upwards from it. Don’t stay static in a cesspool of self pity and misery. Obama out.