Parenting is parenting, plain and simple. It really doesn't matter if someone is single or married. I am a person, a well-educated woman with many interests and a multitude of passions and talents. One of those many things is being the best mother that I can possibly be. But I also love music and art, films and books. I love to see my friends and talk about world issues or just crack jokes back and forth for a few hours over some food and a nice glass of Pinot Grigio. I am a whole person. Look, I really want to like you and I don't want you to sound like a complete dickhead. Here are some tips on what not to say to a single parent. Then, maybe we can see each other's perspective a little better and we won't have those cavernous awkward moments that can fill a room when someone said something stupid or offensive.
- "How do you do it all? I wouldn't be able to do it." Yes, you would. Any of us would. You love your kid; you take care of your kid. That's it. Like Tina Belcher says, " I'm no hero, I put my bra on one boob at a time just like everyone else."
- Please address me as a person. Ask me how I am doing. Yes, I know, you want to know how my child is doing, too, and that’s great. I really do appreciate it. Ask me how I am doing. It's not very often that someone will actually care how or what I have going on outside of parenting, but can you just pretend? The list is long and I kind of really want to talk about all of that stuff. As much as I would love to talk about potty training, preschool germs, sleepless nights and temperamental toddler tantrums…give me a break. Just ask me how I am doing.
- "I can relate." No, you can't. Just like I can't relate to your issues. I don't live in your house. I don't know what you're going through, so please don't assume you can relate to all the shit I have going on. It's a delicate balancing act of emotions and circumstances, at any minute it could all crumble. You can't relate to my situation, just like I can't relate to yours. But I can empathize and I can lend an ear or a shoulder to cry on if you need it and if you offer the same, that would be greatly appreciated.
- "You should start dating again." Thanks for the opinion, but I'm really good alone right now. When the time is right, it will happen. Dating isn't a fix to single parenthood. I don't want to fix it. This is working for me, so please keep your opinion on my love life, or serious lack-there-of, to yourself.
- Back off of the ex. It's none of your business. If you aren't in my very, very tiny circle of trust, please keep any and all opinions of the ex to yourself. Don't make drama where drama doesn't need to be or exist. We don't have time for that mess. Move along.
- I can't stand the terms "baby daddy" or "baby mama." We have names and identities. At the very least you can call me "Boo's Mom." Its disrespectful to address either of us in such a fashion and I mentally check-out when it happens…so more than likely I have probably ignored all the words that came out of your mouth after "baby mama."
- "Make sure to take care of yourself first." Yeah, I get it. The reality is that when you are a single parent taking care of yourself has to take a back seat to taking care of the kid, the house, the dog, feeding the fish, making dinner, running baths, doing your own laundry, etc. Sometimes I just can't take care of myself first. I forget to eat, or shower, or take my vitamins or apply my wrinkle creams, but I try to take care of myself the best I can and I don't need a reminder of priorities. Mine are straight. Thanks.
- "I bet you really need a vacation right now." This may be difficult for you to understand, but the minute you are away from your tiny terror you miss them and the thought of being away from them for too long makes every bone in your body ache with a pain that is so indescribable you often just opt for a weekend at Disney World rather than a spa weekend away with your girls. There is no vacation from this life. And I don't need one. I love the chaos and crazy.
- Don't give me parenting advice unless I ask for it. Just don't.
- "I feel so sorry for you." Really? How rude! Why would anyone feel sorry for me? I have an incredible life, an amazing child, a warm home, a full heart and the best and most amazing support system in the world. Never feel sorry for me. I got this.
It takes a village to raise every child and every village is different. I chose this life and I don't regret it. My child is loved beyond measure by both of his parents, all of his grandparents, and aunts and uncles, cousins, babysitter, neighbors, friends, and teachers. Are some days harder and longer than others? YES! This can be said for all parents, not just singles parents. Please don't presume to assume that I'm alone or lonely, or sad and pathetic. I am not…and even when I am feeling that way. I'm not. So lets be friends, shall we?