by Lisa H.
I’ve been doing the solo parenting thing for many years and I keep hoping for the Age of Enlightenment in which people stop stereotyping single mothers as desperate, sex-starved, lonely women. I promise you, nothing could be farther from the truth. Here are seven myths about single moms that need to die a swift and permanent death.
We want your husbands– Many single moms I know are regularly shunned at Little League games, school functions, and other places where parents gather to do stuff with their kids thanks to the ridiculous perception that we’re on the hunt for a new husband — and we’re coming for yours! That is just patently ridiculous. Most of us have been married before and are in no particular rush to do it again anytime soon. When we are, we’re not going to go scouting the married men at our kids’ baseball games for prospects, so don’t freak out if you see us talking to your guy. We’re just chatting about how to teach junior to choke up on the bat when he swings or something similarly boring and innocuous.
We hate men – Sure, there are plenty of women just out of bad relationships that would sooner castrate a man than give him the time of day, but single moms don’t have the market cornered on that. Lots of us understand that men are, overall, fantastic beings whose company we enjoy. We’re smart enough to know that one lousy ex-husband doesn’t typify an entire gender.
We’re looking for a meal ticket – We’ve all known single moms who seem obsessed with finding someone to take care of them for the rest of their lives so they don’t have to “go it alone” but, by and large, single moms are an independent and resourceful bunch — and we like it that way. Lots of us have left controlling situations where we had to fight for the slightest bit of autonomy and we take pride in being able to create a good life for ourselves and our children on our own.
We’re desperate for sex – This myth really needs to die a quick and flaming death. It’s human nature to crave intimacy, but I can promise you many of the single moms you know are doing just fine in that department. We’re not sitting around waiting for someone to show us a little attention so we can jump right in the sack to ease the pangs of loneliness. In fact, some of us have more active sex lives than our married friends. Since we’re on the topic, here’s another newsflash: Single moms aren’t counting the minutes until someone sends them a picture of their johnson to “keep her company when she’s alone tonight.” It happens to us more times than I can count, but it’s disrespectful and rude. If you wouldn’t send it to your mom, don’t send it to us — unless you’re asked.
We’ll jump at the chance to date anyone – Of all the stereotypes I can think of pertaining to single women, this is the one that makes me laugh the most. Men, I guarantee you, you’ll work harder to land a date with a single mom than you will with anyone else on the planet (but it will be worth it). When a potential suitor asks us out, our brains instantly engage in the Worthiness Application Process. Do I want this date enough to cover the cost of a babysitter? Will he hassle me about the time I spend with my children? Is he willing to understand he doesn’t come first in my life? Will he freak out if I cancel at the last minute due to a sick kid? If the answer is yes to these questions, we’ll accept your date invitation — if not, we won’t. As you can see, we aren’t looking to date anybody with a pulse. You’d better bring something to the table (humor, graciousness, intelligence, etc), or don’t bother asking.
We are a group to be pitied – If I had a dollar for everyone who looked at me with sadness over “how hard it must be to raise my kids alone,” I could buy a Maserati. Look, parenting is hard work, no matter what the circumstances. While I may not have someone with me to co-parent my children, I have a wonderful circle of friends — both online and in real life — who I can lean on. Sure, I don’t get sick days or any time off from my responsibilities like women in two-parent families, but I also don’t have to contend with a lot of the hassles that married parents do (my kids playing one parent against the other, for instance).
We’re lonely – One of the biggest assumptions people make about single moms is that we’re miserably lonely. There’s a big difference, however, between being lonely and being alone. I spend a lot of time by myself to recharge my batteries after 80-hour weeks of full-time parenting, homeschooling, and work, but I don’t feel isolated or alone. In fact, if I didn’t have that downtime I’d be certifiably insane, and I know lots of my single-parent friends feel the same way.
The next time you meet a single mom, don’t assume she’s unhappy, lonely, or under-sexed. Chances are, she loves her life at least as much — if not more — than you do.