Just Us Girls

Just Us Girls

...one SMC's adventures in single motherhood.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dear Anonymous Commenter,

This was an anonymous comment left in response to yesterday's post:

"I'm curious as to why a comment such as "I'm a single mom this weekend" gets you all so riled up? You CHOSE to be a single mom. I CHOSE to get married and have kids and not be a single mother. I respect your choice completely, but it was YOUR choice. My husband is a very present father but there are times when he is traveling that I complain "I'm tired of being a single mom" or "This single mom gig is tough." I complain, because I didn't choose to be a single mom and when I am one for a few days not by choice, I feel the pressure. I appreciate having my hubby as my co-parent. And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a single parent, I think you are being way over-sensitive and judgmental toward those of us who are not single parents. We still get exhausted by parenthood too - especially when we are used to having a partner to help and he's not around for a few days."

So here is my response:

First of all, why are you anonymous? Why don't you own your comments and sign your name to them? I'll never understand why some people choose to comment anonymously. To me it's a sign of...at best, insecurity, at worst, cowardice.

Dear Anonymous,

You are absolutely right that I CHOSE (your capital letters) to be a single mom. I don't regret my choice for a single moment, especially when I look at my much-loved, amazing daughter and I feel proud that I made my dream come true. But the point of my last post--one of very few vent posts I have written, by the way, in the nearly three years I've been blogging--was not about the choices you and I have made. As you stated, you respect my choice, and I definitely respect yours. With no judgment or hostility about it whatsoever. Unlike you, I know that it's not an "us versus them" kind of situation. Our goal is exactly the same: to raise happy, healthy, thriving children.

You claim that I am "being way oversensitive and judgmental" towards people who are not single parents, which could not be further from the truth. I have many, many friends and family members who are happily married and are fantastic parents, and yes, they do feel exhausted at times, just as single parents do. Every parent, regardless of how he or she became a parent, has the right to feel exhausted. I wouldn't dream of saying otherwise.

But there are also some core differences between being a married parent and being a single parent--not just exhaustion--which was the point of my post and apparently the part that you missed. For you to flippantly refer to yourself as a "single" parent just because your partner wasn't around for a few days (oh! the horror!) does a disservice to every single parent out there, whether by choice or by circumstance, who is living the reality of not having a partner indefinitely, not just for a few days. You are absolutely right that I CHOSE to be a single mom, but don't equate your reality with mine, choice or not. It's simply not the same. As I said in my post, you still have emotional support from a partner, financial support and resources, input for making important parenting decisions, and even just simple company after the kids are in bed. These are HUGE differences. And just because I chose to be a single parent doesn't mean that I don't have the right to miss those things. Given the choice between having a child and never becoming a parent, yes, it's still completely worth it to me, no question. I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. But even though we share the same goal of raising happy, healthy kids, our day-to-day reality is not the same. This doesn't mean that I resent married parents, because I don't. It just means that flippantly referring to yourself as a "single mom" just because your partner is away for a few days is patently untrue and offensive.

The other aspect of my frustration with my FB friend, which my post may not have made clear and which has been building up a bit over time, is the intensity and duration of her complaining about her pregnancy. I feel a strong affinity towards those in the infertility community, and I don't have much patience with someone who doesn't seem to appreciate the fact that she's able to easily get pregnant in the first place. Does that mean that I am "being way oversensitive and judgmental" towards all pregnant women? Not even close.

Is this a big deal, in the grand scheme of things? Nope, not at all. It was just a vent post, about one person on Face.book. Best case scenario, Anonymous, you'll understand a little more about how many single moms--not just me--feel about privileged married moms casually tossing around the phrase "Oh, I'm a single mom!" at the least provocation. Just read the other comments--written by people who actually signed their names--and perhaps you'll understand a bit better.




  1. Thank you, SurlyMama. :)
    (love your name!)

  2. Heather I totally agree with you!!! There is a big difference from being a true single parent than one parent is away on business. There can also be a big difference of a single parent where the other parent is around. Then a single mother by choice. Someone using the word single parent for simpathy when they really don't understand the struggle is insulting to those in the struggle. It is like a man saying he understands being a woman. There is no equal. Reguardless how much there partner contributes by definition they are not single. I also didn't like the whole word of choice. Most people do not choose to be a single mom. Reading a lot of these blogs they wish the man for them showed up. He didn't so they had to make the hard choices. I can accept the fact of not being a wife. I cannot accept the fact of not being a mother. It is so easy for people that are wives ans mother's to make light of those feelings. I have been in many debates concerning my desire for children reguardless of my martial status. You were not be overly sensative. I think you hit the nail on head. To me maybe she could have gotten something totally different out of that. Such as appreciate your blessings. Stop trying to get sympothy for things others would be beyond greatfull to have. :-)

  3. Great response! I have one too:

    Dear Anonymous Commenter:

    As long as you have a spouse you are never a single parent.

    The End.

  4. Excellent response...I think Anonymous needs to learn that a few days on her/his own does not a single parent make.

  5. Thank you! Someone needed to say it.

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Heather, for this incredibly well written response. I was so mad when I read anonymous's comment, but when I read your response, felt completely validated. So again, thank you. And a Big BIG hug to you and K!

  7. Heather, Thank YOU!! You couldn't have said it better.

  8. Dear anonymous,

    It's really tough to interpret tone on the interweb so I'm going to ignore the CHOOSING and CHOICES (that part of your comment came across a bit defensive and judgey) and just go with you asking the question because you're honestly hoping to understand why such comments get us all riled up.

    When other Mom's say that they feel like a single mother because their partner is working/traveling/deployed/imaginary or invisible it ruffles my feathers for a few reasons.

    1) You're implying that being a "single mother" is something negative and deserving of sympathy and pity. That is just not my reality. Parenting is tough as a single or a married. Parenting with a partner brings about it's own unique challenges that I don't have to deal with (Thank God). It doesn't mean that I moan about feeling like a "partnered mom" when say my mother is staying with me for a few days and questions my parenting decisions or wants to just give my son one more cookie before dinner. It's just not the same thing because eventually she will leave (please!) just like eventually your partner will come home.

    2) When you say that you *feel* like a "single mother" you really have no idea. It's really more of a single parenting lite that you've tried on like a halloween costume. You are not parenting solo in the truest definition of the term. As Heather said you still lots of the
    team paranting perks available to you. To me it almost always comes across as condescending. You wouldn't say that you felt like a different race or religion.

  9. OK, so I didn't see this post until today and OMG. Well said Heather, and I couldn't agree with everyone else more. Whoever anonymous is is simply not a single parent. And has no idea what it is to be one. So, anonymous - you know not of what you speak...

  10. As far as I'm concerned "Anonymous" lost whatever credibility she had left when she CHOSE not to sign her name. And I LOVE Meg's comment about how trying on single parenting "like a Halloween costume" does not even come close to our experience.

    People who throw the "choice" part of our parenting status in our faces (a coworker did just yesterday!) clearly do not want to have a pleasant interaction or relationship, so why do they even bother speaking with us? I, for one, do not have time for their provinciality.