You’re not a real single mom

You’re not a real single mom
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You’re not a real single mom.

I am a single mom. I have never been married and my son’s father is not in the picture at all. I don’t receive child support and I do it all on my own. I bare all of the financial responsibility and am the sole provider for my family. I am a real single mom, at least that’s what I’m told.

Real single mom

I was recently mansplained how there are real single moms and then there are single moms who claim the title. Ya know the type of single mom I’m referring to? No, you don’t? That’s ok, because I didn’t either.

Apparently, women who:
1. Are not currently in a relationship with the father of their child, but who have an involved and supportive baby daddy, are not allowed to call themselves single mothers.
2. Are not in a relationship with the father of their child and receive child support are not allowed to call themselves single mothers.
3. Have a positive relationship with the father of their child, regardless of his level of involvement, are not allowed to call themselves single mothers.
4. Chose to conceive without a father or significant other are not allowed to call themselves single mothers.

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I don’t know about you, but I guess I wasn’t aware that ‘single mother’ was synonymous with ‘struggling alone.’ I didn’t realize that being a single mom meant I had to be struggling at all.

This explains quite a bit though, really. I was wondering why the first thing out of people’s mouths is, “I’m so sorry to hear that,” after they find out I’m a solo parent. I was wondering why I received the sad, pity-filled looks as I spoke about my life. I now understand that this is all because I’m a real single mom and being a single mom equals pain.

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Newsflash! I’m pretty freaking happy with my life. I didn’t think I needed to shout it from the roof tops, but I guess I should at least once for people to truly see I’m good with my circumstances.

But what’s most concerning is not that I’m looked at with pity, no the real concern is that all of these single mothers out here are being treated like trash for claiming a title that other people don’t think they have the right to hold.

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I’m sorry but when did being a single mother become some medal of honor that women are jumping at the opportunity to call themselves such? If a woman is single and also a mother, then I truly hate to break it to you, but she is a really real single mom and she doesn’t need your approval to say so.

I don’t care if she splits her parenting time right down the middle and shares all of the responsibility: financial, emotional or otherwise. If she is single and raising a child, she can refer to herself as a single mom.

I don’t care if she gets $2000 or more a month in child support and treats herself to a pedicure every other week. If she is single and raising a child, she is a single mom.

I am so incredibly tired of the stereotypes women are placed into relating to the type of mother they are. You are not HER so stop judging her.

And if you need anymore proof that being a real single mom comes in all forms and fashions… here are just a few real life, real single moms:

Rose is a single mom to a 16 month old. She has a great friendly relationship with her daughter’s father and he helps out financially whenever he can.

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Photo submitted by Rose Evans

Stacy is a single mom. She is a widow of Correctional Officer Joel Ramos.  They have three beautiful children Joel Jr. 10, Natalie 8, and Alexis 2.

Photo submitted by Nicole Diele with permission by Stacy Ramos. Photo taken by Kayla Tapley of Merced, CA.
Photo submitted by Nicole Diele with permission by Stacy Ramos. Photo taken by Kayla Tapley of Merced, CA.

Jennifer is a single mom. Her son’s father is in active duty in Korea and has never met his son nor does he wish to.

Photo submitted by Jennifer North
Photo submitted by Jennifer North

Are you convinced yet? We are all real single moms and no man (or woman) is going to tell me we aren’t. #allmomsrule whether they have a good man helping them raise their children or not.


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25 thoughts on “You’re not a real single mom”

  • I am 33 weeks pregnant, and me and the father are not in a relationship. He has said that he wants to be in our sons life and will pay child support. Until this article I honestly felt weird calling myself a single mom. Thinking that there are so called “real” single moms out there, who would look down on me because the father of my child will be paying child support. But this article has really helped me realize that I am a single mom, and well this blog has helped show me that i should be proud of that fact. In other words, thank you.

    • Anyone who looks down on you for raising your child is the one who is low. You are amazing and you will be an amazing mother and however you choose to call yourself, be proud of it and own it. No one can tell you what type of mom you are except for you!

  • I love this post! I’ve actually seen some pretty nasty comments in this area myself. It’s the new wave of mommy war, if you ask me. I have an acquaintance on Facebook who is a widow and goes out of her way to make sure everyone knows she’s a REAL single mom. I think she uses the term “sole mom” as if that means something higher/mightier than single mom. Ridiculous! My mom was a single mom who worked her rump off and took care of two kids without child support, and she’s every bit as bada$$ as the “sole mom” from Facebook. Actually, more so because she wasn’t making up terms to deal with her situation, she was just dealing with it! Stop it with the “real” single mom nonsense already, folks, and I love that you said that being a single mom doesn’t mean you’re struggling or unhappy. Good for you! Great post.

    • I don’t know this woman or how she refers to herself in comparison to others, but I do know we should support her however she chooses to title her mommyhood. Maybe she uses solo parent or sole parent because she doesn’t think of herself as single. She is, in her mind, still married to the man she lost and single doesn’t feel right to use. Maybe she feels that explaining her situation as a solo parent helps her cope with the sudden burden of having to care for her family alone, and she may be struggling with this both emotionally and in her day to day. It can be frustrating to you as an acquaintance because it may appear that she is putting herself on a pedestal (and she may be!) but hopefully you can support her during this struggle. What she (most likely) wants to know, is that she isn’t in fact alone. She has her friends and family and even acquaintances to be there for her on her new journey as a solo parent.

  • Totally feel ya there. Only funny part is that someone mansplained it to you! What I encounter more often is the infighting between single moms… like, are you a “choice” mom, a “circumstance” mom (ugh I’ve been called that twice. rude.), a welfare mom, a mom with drama…etcetcetc It has been such a bummer.

  • We should all be building each other up instead up pulling each other down.
    Thank you for saying out-loud what many of us wondered about.

    I am not a single mom.

    I have been happily married for nearly 27 years. Two of those years were spent without my husband as he was working overseas. I was alone with 4 kids ages 3, 7, 9 and 11. Not an easy thing to do.

    I have a lot of respect for women who raise their kids alone.

  • Looking down or sniping about another mother – single or otherwise – is just lame. And it should stop. It’s crazy to me that you get snarky comments like that or sad looks when you say you’re a single mom.

    EMPATHY I can understand – I think us moms can all empathize with one another when we’re tired or burnt out or worrying about failing – but telling a mom how she can or cannot define herself? Sounds like someone needs to reevaluate her own situation.

    Thank you for sharing, especially the pictures. Though “tots2travel” was right – Stacy’s picture. Ooph. 🙁

  • This is a great post. I was a “real” single mom to my 1st, in a similar situation as yourself. She will be 9 at the end of the month, and her biological father has been gone since I was 5 months pregnant, never paid child support, but fought me for years in court while I racked up $7k in legal bills only to end up terminating his rights in the end.

    Now I have a partner that I have 1 additional child with, plus another on the way. I am no longer comfortable calling myself a single mom, and I hate always being asked about my marital status, and that legally I still am one. I agree that any mom raising their child alone, no matter how often, should be able to refer to herself as a single mom. However, it does bother me when married moms refer to themselves that way when their husband is out of town for a short period of time.

    • Yes this also bother me. I think women who’s husbands are deployed can relate to other women who’s husbands are deployed, but not necessarily single moms. They are only solo parenting for a period of time while their husbands are away, but they have a husband. BUT in the same respect, it is not my place to determine how any mother chooses to refer to herself. It’s one thing to whine about taking care of the kids on your own for a day or two while your husband is on a business trip compared to the year or longer that military wives endure. Single moms can date and maybe even find a significant other during that time frame, but a military wife is waiting for her partner to return. There are ups and downs to everyone’s version of motherhood this is why we get into trouble when we start comparing each other, no matter what our circumstances are!

  • Great thoughts! Single is single..period. As a single mom myself, I respect all single moms, regardless to if they receive child support or have a relationship with the father of their kids.

  • Say what? I didn’t even know or realize that there were different forms? I am with you on this. Women placing other women into ridiculous boxes. It does need to stop. It is true, if she isn’t in a relationship with the child’s father, she is a single mother.

  • A great post and thanks for saying what needed to be said. Being a single mom is by no means an easy job, even when it’s made easier by support, be it financial or emotional, from the dad, friends or family. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart. It makes you stronger, more resourceful and if you’re lucky, better at juggling that home/work or me/kid balance that eludes so many.

  • Thanks for sharing Nikki!, beautiful post. Nothing else to say…beautiful and amazing your story.

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