Yesterday I read a blog post that has me thinking, not just about what she said but about how divisive our society has become. The post was called “Single Parent vs Single Parent” and can be found at the link below:
By posting the link to the article and not talking about it in general terms I do not mean any disrespect. Rather, I respect her opinion and I am not here to say she’s wrong. My intention is to post my point of view to see what everyone else here thinks. I also want everyone who is interested to be able to see her point of view without any bias, so I did not attempt to summarize her views. After a Google search I’ve discovered this is a popular view so I don’t mean to call her out specifically, but it was her post that led to mine and I want to give credit where credit is due.
While I’m not going to say she’s wrong, I do want to say that I respectfully disagree with her opinion.
According to her I should not call myself a single mother. According to this post only parents who are raising their child/children completely without the involvement of the other parent should call themselves a single parent.
Does it offend you if I call myself a single mother? Is there value in labeling those of us who have to share custody of our children something different? I honestly want to know.
Is this because single moms who have sole custody of their children have it harder? If this is basis, lets compare two situations. First, a single mother who has sole custody, whose parents babysit for her one night a week, who makes more than enough to pay her bills and sets money aside to help pay for college when her children are older. Second, is a single mother whose ex is verbally abusive, who sometimes “forgets” to pay his $100 a month in child support because the price of cigarettes went up again and who takes them every other weekend, or at least on the weekends he feels like complying with the custody agreement.
The label of “single mother,” in my opinion, should not attempt to universally describe a plight. For me it is a way to unite women together, not divide or label them. They may be single by choice, they may be lesbian, they may have adopted children, they may have a super supportive ex, or they may not even know the name of the father.
I have learned that there is no universally accepted definition of the term “single mother.” In my opinion, single mothers are women, or people who identify as a woman. Single mothers have children, either young or grown. Single mothers are not in a relationship with the father of their children, but they may be in a different relationship, or possibly even remarried. Single mothers may even still be in a relationship with the father but consider themselves “single” for a variety of reasons. Whoever considers themselves a single mother should be allowed to do so, without judgment. This isn’t an exclusive club and it’s not high school.
As I posted last week regarding what I felt children were learning from the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, there is power in joining together. You can accomplish more by uniting people than by dividing. I’m not sure why our society keeps going down the path of “you’re not like me” or “we’re too different to be labeled the same.”
I actually read an article in a major publication from the UK a couple years ago that said it was offensive to people who are born as a female but don’t identify as a woman to use the term “mother.” It was offensive to me to think that any group of people might try to take that word away from me.
When I started writing this I had actually considered maybe changing the name of my blog to be less offensive. After all, I do see her point. However I’m going to keep things the way they are. I am going to continue to call myself a single mother. I do this not to offend, but I do not apologize for it.
Photo by Levi Guzman on Unsplash