I belong to a fabulous single mums forum where we often talk about the things people say to us. If you think people are rude during pregnancy, you should try being a single mum. Actually, don’t try it. It’s pretty hard work. In no particular order, here are the five myths about single mums that I take great pleasure in busting.
1. Dad isn’t in the picture. Frankly, I find it insulting when my ex is assumed to be absent. It’s true a lot of women out there are pulling double duty as both mother and father — and likewise with some fathers! But the assumption that my ex’s responsibility or desire to be with our kids ended with our marriage is mind-boggling. Even friends who knew us as a couple — and knew him as the devoted father who woke up at 3 a.m. for nappy changes — asked me if he were still “involved.” Just because I’m a single mum doesn’t mean my ex has disappeared. Which leads me to…
2. We must have so much free time while the kids are with their dad. Excuse me while I laugh hysterically at that one. Sure, my kids are with their dad three nights a week, but while they’re away, this cat isn’t always at play. All of those chores that you might bug your husband about? I do them. From taking out the trash and fixing a leaky faucet to doing the dishes, paying the bills and raking the leaves. Basically everything involved in running of my home falls to me. Which means on those “free” days, you’ll often find me typing away at my freelance work or cleaning out the chicken coop.
3. We hate men. I don’t. Really. Sure, I got a bad apple (or at least a bit of a spoiled one), but that doesn’t mean I hate the male of the species. An image of a bitter divorcee drinking her cocktail while sneering at a good-hearted man who is trying to get her number seems to be popular — especially if said divorcee is on the dark side of 40. Although I’m a bit more leery in my dating interactions, there’s no hate in this gal’s heart.
4. We are desperate for a man. Show me a single mum desperate for a man and I’ll show you a single mum in her first year after separation. That first year is a doozy as you try to find your feet and rediscover that yes, you are good at killing spiders. Then, slowly, as you regain your footing, and you realise you might want a man in your life, but you certainly don’t need a man in your life. (Ahem.)
5. There must be something wrong with us. One of my girlfriends was actually told by a guy whom she was dating that she was flawed and that’s why her marriage didn’t work out. Needless to say, she kicked him to the curb. Still, there’s this idea that there must be something wrong with us. Well, there is. But it’s no more than what’s wrong with anyone else out there. We’re all flawed and sometimes those imperfections don’t go well with another person’s imperfections. Just because it didn’t work out with our marriages or former relationships, doesn’t mean it won’t work out with someone new.