I’ve been a single mom for close to 3 years now and continue to be astonished by the misconceptions many people have about this gig. Complete strangers form detailed conclusions about my life within seconds of learning that I’m a single mother. Some of these false assumptions make me cackle while others might land me in prison for aggravated assault one day.
So to avoid causing bodily harm to anyone and finding myself in a real life setting of Orange Is The New Black, I want to dispel some of these myths. And here they are, some of the top 5 myths about single moms I’ve come across thus far:
1.We Detest Our Baby Daddies And Men In General
A random stranger, upon hearing that you are a single mom, will launch into a tirade against “the useless men of today” and immediately start consoling you about how much better off you are without a man in your life. This, having not a clue what the nature of the relationship between you and your baby daddy is! The assumption here is that single mothers, having been abandoned by men and due to a searing hatred of them, would gladly have all men flogged to death.
Well, the truth is, many single moms have wonderful co-parenting relationships with our kids’ biological fathers. For many, the decision to part ways was mutual. We continue to love and respect our baby daddies even though we are no longer romantically involved with them. And yes, there are some douchebag deadbeat dads that may need a good flogging, but we do not judge the entire lot of men for the sins of the few.
2. We’re Financially Desperate
Earlier this year, a sleazy older gentleman said to me, “I prefer to hire single mothers because they would do anything to keep their jobs”. I was aghast. Putting aside the disgusting way in which he stressed the word anything, his assumption was that a single mother is never qualified, educated or financially stable enough to quit an unsuitable job position.
Newsflash for you, sleazy old dude: Women have come a loooong way since 1952 when you were in your prime! Single motherhood does not equal destitution.
3. We’re Tougher Than Nails
Yes, as single moms, we do hold down the fort by ourselves. Yes, the full responsibility of childcare and financial well-being of our families rests squarely on our shoulders. Yes, life does get tough for us sometimes. But that doesn’t mean we’re the stereotypical angry black women you see in Tyler Perry movies!
Don’t act surprised when we turn out to be soft and mushy marshmallows. We cry unabashedly when we need to, we get our feelings hurt when we shouldn’t, we giggle uncontrollably with girlfriends, we feel. Life may have made us a bit tougher, but not as tough as some of you seem to think.
4. We’re Looking For Stepdad
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Please stop assuming that single moms are frantically looking for a man to play daddy to their kids! Just like everyone else, we date with the intention of finding a connection with a suitable partner, NOT with urgent determination to find a stepdad. We don’t show up with our kids on first dates, we won’t ask you to supervise school homework after week two of dating and your bank statements won’t be requested at our 6 month anniversary to determine if you can afford fees at Braeburn.
We’re in no desperate hurry to “escape” single motherhood by throwing every Tom, Dick and Mwaura into the Father role. In any case, “Mwaura” has to prove that he is boyfriend material first before we even get that far.
5. We’re Embarrassed About Our Lives
I grew up in a religious household so I know that for many, single motherhood is synonymous with shame. And this may be why it comes as a surprise to some, that there are single moms that chose this life and even for those that didn’t have a choice, they carry no burden of shame having found themselves here! There are single women who have adopted children, mothers who have willfully left toxic relationships with their children’s biological fathers and women who have been abandoned but have moved on triumphantly despite the cards dealt to them.
We don’t shrivel up in embarrassment when meddling folk stick out their bottom lips and use them to point towards our kids then ask, “what happened?” We tell them what happened as matter-of-factly as possible, or casually tell them where they can shove their intrusive questions.
So there’s really no need to whisper “she doesn’t have a husband” to your fellow Chama members when we meet you at church. We’re fine. We’re not ashamed. These are our lives. And we own them.