Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I was thinking today about the time you referred to me as a single mother and how that bugged me, how it felt kind of insulting. That I am a single mother made it more irritating. I don't like the way this term feels, but it's entirely true.

I don't mind being called single. There is freedom to being single and being called single doesn't feel negative at all.

I don't mind being called a mother. I'm proud of being a mother; I love my kids and view parenting them as a privilege...even if it is stressful and tiring at times. I am the mom that my own mother was not, and that feels good.

So either part of this term, on its own, isn't offensive to me. Why does "single mother" sound so degrading? Here are things I think of when I hear that term:

desperate for a man, pretty much any man will do.
low class
OK to fuck, but not to keep
stressed out

The connotations are definitely insulting, but I'm not sure whether these are an echo of my fairly privileged Republican childhood or if they're shared by most other people as well. I think of the single mothers I know. Some of them have matched up with all of these words. Some of them haven't met any of them. Some meet some of it, especially "stressed out".

For comparison, words I think of in association with "single father":

jilted, unfairly
committed to family
How much of this is just me and how much is societal?

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