Being a single mom was pretty much the most difficult period of my life. Without a parenting partner, I had to do everything for my kids and be "on" all of the time. It was exhausting. Plus, I had to deal with the common, infuriating misconceptions about single moms, all of which only made me feel more alone. In fact, people seem to be so used to looking down on single moms that they'll pretty much say anything to them. The list of inappropriate, rude, and well, creepy things people said to me as a single mom is so long, you guys. So long, and so enraging.
The creepy comments pretty much fell into three categories: sexist assumptions about my character or my "failed relationship," comments about my kids, and gross pick-up lines. I had no idea how much stigma and discrimination I would face as a single parent. The end of my marriage happened so fast, that I honestly didn't have time to worry about what it would mean to be a single mom, or how others would perceive me now that I was raising my children on my own. So the first few times I was on the receiving end of some creepy comments, I was floored. You would think that people would view single moms as badass warrior goddesses, considering everything they do every damn day to make things work, but I realized that is not the case.
Then there was the double standard. The double standard that would attempt to eat away at my self-worth. You see, being a single dad is seen as this huge accomplishment or asset, but people assumed me being a single mom meant there was something wrong with me. I was asked why my husband left me, (spoiler: I was the one who left him), and was told I would never find a new man to want me because I was damaged and had kids (spoiler: I'm married now). At the same time, guys I met thought it was appropriate to offer to be my kids' new daddy, which was unbelievably creepy and gross.
Read on for some of the creepiest things I actually heard as a single parent. I shudder just thinking about them.
Oh look, gross and creepy at the same time. Look, it's not a woman's job to "keep her husband happy" or even have a husband. And he didn't leave me, I left him. Why, you ask? Well, it's none of your business, but he was an abusive, lying creep. So you figure it out.
Nope. No. Not a chance.
The idea that single moms are looking for a man to solve all of their problems is as problematic as it is false. Besides, I was looking for a person to spend time with, not parent for me or in place of my kids' father. Women, including single mothers, are multifaceted human beings with multiple needs, people. Maybe I just wanted to enjoy a nice date with some lively conversation?! Jeez.
I totally don't understand why people cared about my marital status? It just felt so odd and low-key creepy — like they wanted to know if they should hate me the regular amount they hate all single moms, or the special amount reserved for those who "sinned" more egregiously.
This one always stumps me. Like, is this rude individual trying to imply that I was a slut or that I didn't know how birth control worked? No matter what their motives, though, it's hella creepy to inquire about my family planning choices or sexual history.
This was frustrating, because I actually had a great job and didn't need anyone to support me, thank you very much. It seems more rude than creepy, until you consider that no one ever says these things to single dads.
When my landlord found out I was a single mom, he promptly told me that he would be stopping by frequently to check in on me and my kids. It just felt so creepy. I sort of appreciated his offer, but I am also pretty handy and self-sufficient. I didn't want or need a creepy stranger stopping by whenever he feels like it, especially one who had a key to my house.
Like, I know these individuals weren't serious, but this was pretty creepy as a pick-up line. Seriously, you guys, if you want to sleep with someone, I highly recommend you don't bring up their kids or motherhood ability. Worse, though, was the fact that the dude who said this hadn't met my kids and wasn't a parent himself. I know he was trying to be funny, but it totally fell flat.
If you really want to pick up a single mom, try offering her something she really wants, like eight hours of sleep.
This is even more creepy considering that this comment was made by a male co-worker who thought he was "being nice." No, I don't find comments like that to be nice. Besides, I didn't look any differently. Yes, that one ring on that one hand is missing, but I'm still me.
Comments and questions about my vagina are inappropriate and unwelcome from anyone except my OB-GYN.
But people, please come to understand that vaginas don't work that way. I wish the myth of stretched out, post-baby vaginas would just die. It's so creepy and misogynistic to assume that my vagina — and by extension, sex with me — is now undesirable, all because I had kids.
So, here's the deal: every woman is not looking for a man. Period. End of story. Sorry to burst your bubble, but a woman's entire existence does not revolve around dues. But, even if I was in the market for a new lover or date, I wouldn't pick someone for a long term relationship who thought that me being a mom made me damaged or undesirable.
Check out Romper's new video series, Rompevr's Doula Diaries:
Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.