Listed below you’ll find 10 of the most offensive things someone has said to me as I’ve experienced single motherhood. It’s like a public service announcement and a declaration all-in-one.
1) You must be exhausted! I don’t know if I could do it!
This is a double-ended stick of suck, and I’ll tell you why. It’s really a set up and hopefully the single mom hearing it is able to brush it off, and hopefully it’s never said again.
On one end of the suck stick, you’re reminding the single mom that you’ve got help and she doesn’t, and yeah, she could really use a night off, or a few hours to call her mom/best friend/therapist, or really just someone to take out the trash. Believe me, she indeed does not need this reminder. This statement is the classic backhanded compliment, and nobody enjoys being backhanded.
On the other end of the suck stick the single mom is wondering if she indeed is exhausted. Maybe she’s not. Maybe she’s hit her groove and is making the best of things. Maybe she’s chosen not to focus on the negative, but to cling to the positive and be the best role model and mom she can for her child. Perhaps the most exhausting part of single-mom’ing is the commentary on her perceived state of being.
3) So….where’s the father/baby daddy?
Ask this and be prepared to answer the following questions: “Well where’s your baby daddy? For that matter, where are your parents? How about any siblings? Oh, you only have 1 or 2 of your kids with you – well, where are the rest? Are they wearing jackets? – because it’s kind of chilly today.”
This question can never be good and it feels like you’re fishing for information which will be later used in a judgey kind-of-way with judgey kind-of-eyes. Please avoid it at all costs.
4) Where’s [Insert Child’s Name Here]?
Unless you’re truly interested, don’t ask. For clarification, please reread number 3.
5) So what happened?
The single mom hearing this is never sure of your intention, and quite honestly it feels gossipy which is very boring.
At any rate it’s none of your business. If she wants to tell you, she’ll ask. Your best advice, if you truly want to know, is to try getting to know her on a level other than “Cross-Examiner”.
6) Are you worried about telling the guys you date that you have a kid?
I’ll answer this one directly: not at all.
I’m also not worried about telling my boss, my co-workers, new friends, members of any religious organization, perfect strangers, the person next to me in traffic, and anyone who will grant me an audience that I am a mother to one amazing little kid.
7) Wouldn’t it be great if the next guy you marry has kids too – then you’ll be like…the Kardashians!!
Somehow along the way I suppose pop culture replaced The Brady Bunch with the Kardashians. And while that may just be the way of social evolution, it’s not cool to compare anyone’s family to a reality show family.
Know this: families come in all shapes and sizes and so long as there is love, there is home.
8) It must be nice to get a break.
Please do not be offended if you say this to a single mom and she accidentally spills her drink on your face. Most likely this faux pas occurred because she was moving too quickly while trying to escape this rude comment and simply couldn’t hold on to her beverage.
For a single mom lucky enough to have her child’s father in the picture and share custody, it is NOT “getting a break” to be away from her child. It is, however, painful, lonely, and isolating.
9) If you’re lonely you can totally have my husband!
This is like saying: “Oh, you don’t have a car? Well have mine! It’s old and rusty and makes really loud noises and smells funky!”
You’re doing no one a favor.
10) Does this make me look like a soccer mom, hot mom, or single mom?
If you are questioning the way you look, I have a suggestion: look closer than the reflection and find out what’s really not working for you.