Being a single parent is hard AF. Seriously. When I became a single mom, I had no idea what I was in for. I also had no idea how much stigma and discrimination I would face. Then, of course, there's the double standard to contend with. I was expected to play the role of both mom and dad, while there are tons of things people worship single dads for that single moms do literally every day. Literally every damn day.
Fore example, there's simply existing. Just being a single dad is seen as this huge accomplishment or asset. If you Google "single dad," most of the results are reasons you should date one. In contrast, if you google "single mom," you will get to read statistics related to poverty and negative outcomes for children of single mothers. Grrr. Being a single parent makes you badass, not broken. When I was dating, I heard, "no thanks" so many times once people realized I had kids, which was infuriating because I stated it in the first sentence of my online dating profile. If only people read those things.
I realize that this is the epitome of sexism and an example of how the patriarchy changes the way we view both women and men and their roles in society. When it comes to parenting, women are expected to know what they are doing and do it all, well, all of the time. Men are expected to fail, so they are accepted when they inevitably do and praised when they get through the day and no one dies or starts the house on fire.
This is unfair for both single moms and single dads. We all deserve credit for doing the hardest job imaginable and to be seen as rock stars when we succeed. We all deserve help (and lattes) to make it through the day and to be cut some slack when we fail.
Single dads get praise simply for existing. They are seen as desirable and deserving of not only praise, but a ton of help. I get it; single parenting is freakin' hard, but let's hold everyone up to the same standard and offer the same amount of praise and help to single moms.
"I can't believe that [insert dad's name here] dropped his kids at school and came to work. He's so amazing."
Women are expected to cook, clean, change diapers, kiss bumps and bruises, and wipe away tears and be great at all of those things. Single moms are expected to literally do it all while people give them the side eye. Single dads are exalted for having to do the same damn routine that women have been expected to do for always.
Every time I see a dad alone at the park with his kids, I hear someone say how "hot" or "amazing" he is. Meanwhile, us moms are doing the same exact thing without anyone so much as noticing. Personally, I did occasionally hear comments about my kids' behavior and how that behavior was "clearly" a result of me being a single parent. Ugh.
The same goes for the grocery store, doctor's office, school drop-off, or out to eat. I remember one trip to a restaurant where I was advised that my kids were being too loud and told that maybe I shouldn't bring them places. I guess single moms should just stay home and feel ashamed for existing.
Disclaimer: I suck at doing hair. I never really learned, and I hate hurting my kids. I heard tons of comments about my daughter's messy hair, and I was so glad when she asked to get a haircut. Contrary to popular belief, women aren't inherently great at doing hair. So, it really sucked when I saw single dads receive praise for a crooked pony tail, because, "look at how hard he's trying."
Every time my husband attends school events or meetings people literally seem shocked and genuinely pleased to see an "involved father." Every time I attended meetings or school events as a single mom, someone would ask me where my husband worked and give me the stink eye when I told them I was single.
I had to work to support my family as a single mom. No one asks a single dad why he works instead of staying home.
But, if a single dad does stay at home or work from home to be with his kids? You would think that he was a damned unicorn. While single moms who stay at home are lazy. That's bullsh*t.
Being a single dad makes a man more desirable to potential dates, while being a single mom makes women seem damaged and unwanted. It's ironic that doing things like cooking, parenting, and diaper changes that are traditionally associated with being a woman, makes single dads seem like great catches. Yes, single dads are awesome, but single moms make great dates, too. Being a single mom made me way more badass, gentle, forgiving, and fearless in all aspects of my life.
Let's give all the single parents credit for doing the toughest job imaginable. They deserve it.