Honestly, I can't relate to the stereotype of the depressed single mom, struggling to make it while trying to find a man to rescue her. I don't see myself when the quirky "best friend" mom or dowdy divorcée — who also, of course, need a man — or the aging professional who decided to skip the man and have a baby anyway, are portrayed on TV shows or in movies. These stereotypes give people the wrong idea about single parenthood, and perpetuate those damn myths about single moms that need to die, like immediately.
Being a mom is hard. Being a single mom is the hardest thing I've ever done. It doesn't help that people judge the hell out of you for having the audacity to parent on your own. It might be hard to believe, but being a single mom doesn't automatically mean that someone is poor, depressed, or struggling. If I stick to the truth, I have to admit that at times it was freaking amazing. Being a single mom didn't mean I couldn't keep a man, was always actively looking for a man, or even like men in the first place. In my case, I left my ex-husband, not the other way around. He couldn't keep me, and for the longest time I was in the least bit interested in dating or being around men in general.
It seems like single moms can't win or that society thinks they should apologize for even existing, which is pretty crappy considering how hard they have to work to juggle the responsibilities of motherhood, maintaining a home, going to work, and managing to get some "me time" once in a while. I think it's about time we bust some of the worst single mom myths, because enough is enough.
We Couldn't "Keep A Man"
What in the fresh hell is this bullsh*t? I mean, not only is this assuming that we had or wanted a man in the first place, but it also negates the experience of badass moms like me, who left our partners because we didn't want to "keep them." A single mom's worth as a woman and a mom is not defined by the guy on her arm, for the love of all things that make sense. To claim otherwise is sexist.
We Don't Love Our Kids
In my case, my decision to leave my partner wasn't a selfish one. I left my ex-husband so I could give my kids a better life, and I actually think I am a better parent for it. But even if I left just for me, my kids deserve a happy mom. Besides, plenty of people who have been raised by single moms go on to do amazing things.
We're All Poor
When I left my ex I actually had a great job. It was hard to adjust to my new budget and lifestyle, but we weren't poor. I actually had people refuse to rent to me because they were afraid I wouldn't be able to pay the bill each month. Which, in addition to being totally illegal, was completely unfair and untrue. And while some single moms are poor, maybe we should start looking at why — lack of jobs, unaffordable child care, failing support networks, dads refusing to pay child support, and inadequate public assistance — rather than blaming them for being poor.
There Is Something Wrong With Us
The idea that a mom who is no longer married to her kids' other parent (or was never married in the first place) is somehow defective is so 1950. There's nothing wrong with me. I chose to become a single mom. It wasn't always perfect and it was hard AF, but there is nothing inherently wrong with me. Enough.
We're Always Sad
Now, I am not saying there aren't days when you cry, scream, rage clean your crappy apartment, because those days exist. I'm not saying you won't cry while you dream about the home you can no longer afford on your own, because you probably will. Sometimes it seriously sucks to be a single mom, but other times — like when you realize that you can do it and that you all are going to be OK, or when you realize that you get to parent the way you want to parent and without arguing with someone else — being a single parent is pretty freaking awesome.
We're Gold Diggers
This sexist misconception is just plain wrong. Believe it or not, most single moms are too busy being single moms to spend time thinking about how to "land a man." When I started dating again I was looking for fun, not commitment, so the last thing I wanted was another long term relationship. Besides, I can take care of myself and my kids.
It's not selfish to want to raise your kids in a happy home, or to want to have kids on your own without a partner. In fact, going it alone, and giving up so many things to raise your kids as a single parent, is pretty much the definition of selflessness. And single moms deserve time for self-care, too, and arguably needs it more than most.
Single Moms Have "Broken Homes"
Single parent homes are whole, not broken. Please, let this myth die in a fire. While I eventually remarried, I didn't have to have a partner to be enough for my kids. My kids were happy and well cared for with one parent, thank you very much.
We're Bad Parents
Contrary to popular belief, leaving my ex-husband didn't make me a bad mom. In so many ways I was a way better mom once I left him and was able to parent my kids the way I always wanted to and by only one set of rules.
Becoming a single parent actually made me a better mother to my children, not a bad one.