Can We STOP Recreating the Definitions of What Makes a Single Parent?
Stepping on my pink soapbox…….
Your personal presumptions on a topic, do not make it the gospel. As much as we would like others to see with the same sainthood as Mary of Magdalene, many Single mothers are not afforded that grace. There’s no need to recreate the definition of single parent and redraw the lines because you don’t want to be looked down upon.
Stepping off the pink soapbox….
I understand that the world has stereotyped the single mom as bitter, angry, struggling, and with a deadbeat father. I understand that this does not describe you. I get that you have released the bitter, angry, struggling mindset. I applaud the fact that you and your child’s father are working together to raise your child aka “co-parenting”. I think it’s AMAZING that you are out here building your future, and opening yourself up to love again. Those are ALL the things that I want every single mother on the planet to do! Here’s what I need for ALL of us to STOP! STOP recreating the definition of single parent because you don’t fit the stereotype or because you feel some kind of way about the phrase.
When they (the government, society, etc.) started to categorize people as single parents they were simply researching parents who were single; that’s it, that’s all. They didn’t care if you were dealing with a deadbeat or a one of a kind amazing co-parent. They didn’t even care if you guys were still doing the nasty, shacking up or sometimes friends with benefits. The question was simply are you a single or married parent? Now divorcees and widows may sometimes find themselves in a gray area because they want you to check a divorced or widowed box without any clear definition on how long that box stays checked. But even the divorced and widowed at some point become single parents regardless of how much the other parent is or isn’t parenting and definitely regardless of the child support being paid.
If we are all going to be honest, our biggest issue with being labeled a single parent is the stereotype that comes along with it. If history has taught us anything about labels and stereotypes, it should be that there is a 50/50 chance of them being WRONG!
African-American, Black, Negro, Colored (whatever word makes you happy) people are stereotyped as being lazy, uneducated, thugs with crab in a barrel mentality. There are so many that can refute and dispel these silly misconceptions.
Asians are stereotyped as being super smart especially in math, but again I bet we all can find/ know some Asians who simply do not fit this stereotype either. We have also learned throughout history that pretending we aren’t something doesn’t make people stop stereotyping one as such. History has taught me if you want to beat a stereotype then you should just show them something different and the more of us who show them something different- the more we beat the stereotype.
Now, I personally love the term “co-parenting” and definitely am pushing for that to be the new normal; but it doesn’t exclude you from being a single parent. I will admit that when the term single parent originally came about it was bestowed upon the parent that had the child most of the time, and today we are seeing a lot more 50-50 parenting time relationships. Again, I am all for 50-50 parenting plans and think joint custody is what we should all strive to have.
At the end of the day though no parenting plan is truly 50-50 one parent has the child more than the other; heck it’s that way in married households. So if you are a single, unwed parent who has your child for the majority of the time even if it’s just an hour more…..YOU ARE A SINGLE PARENT!
I encourage us to change the way people view single parents. Continue knocking down the stereotypes and changing the world instead of trying to separate ourselves off based on silly differences such as who’s got more help, gets more child support, has a better co-parenting relationship aka who’s better or worse off? Let’s just hold hands and break down the barriers together!
XOXO Your Favorite Baby Mama Whisperer aka The Single Mom Sage