Married Mom vs Single Mom

Getting distracted by the titles, these women pin themselves against each other like the “Housewife” vs. the “Homewrecker.” But despite all the animosity, jealousy, insecurity and scrutiny between them, there really doesn’t need to be this distinction.

The older I’ve become, the more obvious this one – now writing this, it struck me: what is was that my mother simultaneously hated and envied in the lives of her married counterparts. What all Single Mothers probably feel the absence of… what they nearly have to convince themselves of its overrated, stupid, unnecessary qualities to cope with the very loss of it.

The reason for the contempt and envy between the Married and Single moms (besides an overwhelming Grass is greener on the other side mentality).

One word –Partners.

Single Mothers are alone in the game of life. Married Mothers have partners.

Yes, yes, yes… there are thousands of unhappily, downright terrible marriages in the world – for the sake of this article, I’m discussing the ‘good’ marriages. Furthermore, the fact that I am discussing marriage as a partnership should have already excluded ‘bad’ marriages!

The real difference between these women is NOT their relationship status!

My mother had to convince herself she could and would do it ALONE because she had to. She had to convince herself that partnership would fail… that it wasn’t necessary or even desirable because otherwise the vision of the married couple at the park just hurt too much. She couldn’t allow herself to feel the longing – because longing is weakness – weakness is failure – failure would hurt us – and because she Couldn’t. Do. That.

Watching the couples around me- as a child, as an adult, as an uncle, as a friend or son- I think I understand or at least feel confident enough to make the argument that the distinct difference between the lives of Single Moms and Married Moms isn’t the extra income or anything really of the sort.

As a married couple, and especially as a married couple with children, we are able to provide solace for our spouses: comfort, freedom, challenge, happiness. We are each others’ backup plans. Whether that is two challenge and push each other when we have become distressed or content. When I have to work overtime on a pressing project, my wife is there to cover my back at home. When my wife has the flu, I can handle dinner, or running to the store or just popping in the bedroom with a fresh glass of ice water.

My mother never had that.

If she lost her job… or even if she got a promotion, there was no one there to have her back: to cover the bills while she found another, to congratulate her hard work. When life came barreling down on her, there was no one to help bear the weight.

In my marriage, it is not always 50/50. For weeks on end, one of us may find ourselves taking on extras; we’ve hit 90/10 or 30/70. Whatever damn ratio it is, it works in the long run because the favor (the support) is returned – It is equal. It might be tiresome for me to work all day, come home to make dinner and clean and cover baths and bedtimes for a week while she’s stressed with end of the year accounting. Yes, I’d rather have watched the game or relaxed at all. But it was necessary, and we are lucky enough to have each other during these times.

Single moms aren’t.

They don’t long for your extra income, your house or your bank account. They don’t want to screw your husbands. You have something they aren’t sure they can ever get. Something that is sometimes easier to hate than to feel the want of.

Single parents have just as much capacity to be wonderful parents.

Married couples can be terrible parents.

Rule #4 She is Head of the Household AKA: Strength and Independence Are Only Flaws if You’re Weak.

This rule follows suit with many of the classic one-line clichés: “You can’t change someone;” “Can’t teach an old dog new tricks;” “The grass is always greener on the other side;” “You always want what you can’t have;” “You only want something until you have it.”

Cliché after cliché after cliché saying the same damn thing… novelty is both attracting and short lasting.

The men who don’t pursue single mothers because they think their ‘easy lays’ tend to be attracted to their fierce independence – the capacity to manage and figure life out on their own. They’ve become jaded in their own right to dating clingy, dependent, and greedy personalities.

These men are attracted to women like my mother because they know how and when to refill or change their oil and to pour water into the cracked radiator to prevent the engine from locking up or overheating. Single Mothers are refreshing because they take care of their own needs, work, go to school, have families and lives to tend to.

My mother could patch her own flat tires and strap a couch to the top of a beat up Ford Taurus. She’d learned, like almost all single mothers do, that she had to do for herself. She couldn’t wait for someone to come help her, for someone else to have time. She couldn’t wait to be rescued.

To put it plainly, men were attracted to her because she was a nice change of pace from the typical damsel-in-distress routine. Unfortunately, like any other novelty in life the appeal wears off quickly or men are left wondering where they fit into the life of a single mother.

Now, before we digress into feminist revolution, a discussion of gendering or all out man bashing, let me clarify – This is a real and even a rather justified problem. It is hard to understand how to “be a man” in a household that doesn’t have or has never had one. A household that has adapted to be functional, successful and happy.

Men, when you date or, Hell, marry a single mother you’re not completing a puzzle. You’re not filling in a gap. We don’t need you to be our ‘Daddy.’ Our Single Mothers worked hard to already fill in the gaps.
I was raised by a woman who could do anything and did everything. I came of age and grew to Manhood under the supervision of mostly women.
I learned how to be a Man from a woman.

For my mother this was probably a very difficult issue… a revolutionist and traditionalist, she was determined to endow me with the attributes she believed we should have – strength of character, determination, intellectualism without the loss of hard work, family first, loyalty and above all the “buckle down, pull yourselves up by your bootstraps” mentality that got her through life.

She didn’t care if I was a straight man or gay man; a blue collar or white collar. She cared that I was a good man.

She understood that she was raising sons that would one day grow up to be men. That’s a hard task. Here she was a woman raised in a Single Mother household herself and obviously slightly jaded and completely ignorant of married relationships. She was living in a constant state of going-without to pick up our dad’s slack. She was smiling and cheering beside him at our games, knowing that he hadn’t given a penny to get us there.

My Grandmother might really have done everything – she worked construction, bartended, had two college degrees, cooked creamed eggs over toast and put Baileys in Christmas morning coffee. She put my uncle in check more than once during his rebellious journey for self discovery. And my mother adapted, learned and depended on her to forge a life for her own family. We grew up seeing very capable women doing it all every day.

Our mothers taught us to hold doors open for others not to get laid but to be polite, to catch footballs and take out the trash.

We never really got to see where men fit into this… and as men we find it hard to figure out just where the pieces of us fit into the mastered chaos of a single mother family. They don’t need a Knight in Shining Armor – I’d argue that women as a whole are beyond this concept but that is not my topic here.

This is a reality for the men, like me, taught by our mothers. Single Mothers have to literally teach from the “Do as I say. Not as you see” method of parenting. They feel a responsibility to the families, lovers and children that their children will have someday. Responsible for the way we treat them.

It’s hard to figure out your place when you don’t have a guide

Single moms don’t need NEED

They’ve proven themselves and their ability to survive. Some have even learned to find humor in babbling children and broken cars. And grace through living on the verge of disaster.

The point is a relationship with a Single Mother is never going to be the same as dating a woman without children. They’ve both been able to explore life in completely different ways. Single women have had the chance to experiment, travel and develop into complete versions of themselves.

There might not be an obvious gaping whole in a family labeled “Future Daddy Issues” but that doesn’t mean our mothers and our families can’t make room for you.

*A Further Note to Single Mothers*

Don’t let a man make you feel bad for being strong and capable. Don’t feel flawed or broken because you’ve guarded and cautious.

But, yes there is a BUT, don’t become so absorbed in being strong that you become too stubborn to ask for help; too afraid to let someone in on the responsibility. Don’t become so focused on the“preparing for the worst” that you stop “hoping for the best.”

If the man you’re seeing is genuine and decent:

Let him fix the car when he volunteers – it doesn’t make you’re weak.

Let him remind you how beautiful you are – you’ve forgotten about it too long.

Let him make you laugh and enjoy a drink – it doesn’t mean you’re failing us.

Let him see you’re soft – it doesn’t mean you’re not still strong.

Understand that this is might be unfamiliar ground for him too.

You can do this. You can relax. You can let someone see the bumps and bruises. The scars and struggles. They aren’t failure; they show you’ve survived.

Rule #3 Just Because She’s Settled Doesn’t Mean You Can Settle in, Settle Down or Saddle Up.

Looking back, I can see how it was so easy for men to see our home as a refuge from the chaos of dating: dinners, movies, dancing, vacations, shopping and surprises. These were things our mother just didn’t seem to need; and, let’s be honest, if she’d had most of society would have been ramming her as irresponsible. Because as a mom, especially as a single mom, our society has decided those things are inappropriate and irresponsible.
She was calm…domesticated to her own rules. She’d not only grown accustomed to buying her own drinks but enjoyed the financial freedom of it and the independence of saying “I’ll buy the next round.” She just wasn’t the type of woman to wait for someone to buy her a drink. My mother offered the confidence of a Cougar, the comfort of a Housewife alongside the youthful vibrancy of a good looking 20something.
Yes indeed, Single Mothers often do pay their own bills, have her own place, make their own way and work full time or more, usually more, to achieve it all. That does not mean they are the ideal women for the perpetual unemployed Professional Gamers or Talentless Musicians of the world. They work so hard because they’re maintaining a family by themselves. As my mother would say, Single Mothers already have “humans that depend on (them) for their emotional, physical, financial, and social well beings. (They) don’t want another.”
Let me paraphrase: Just because a Single Mother takes care of her own shit doesn’t mean she’s going to take care of yours!
Don’t go chasing after a Single Mother simply because you’re burnt out on the whole dating scene and ready to settle down. Single mothers aren’t an end run past dinner dates and meeting the parents. They already have families; they doing at least a sustainable job of taking care of it. Not only is she going to take just as much courting but she’s probably going to me more cautious of the whole relationship – after all, she knows the stereotype just as well as you do. Don’t expect to avoid all the typical dating nonsense just because you’re pursing a Single Mother who is already living the responsible adult/ family lifestyle.
Again the simple version: Just because she settled down, doesn’t mean she’s ready to settle down with you.

Finally, I have no story or witty anecdote to convey for the last part of this rule. Frankly, I’d be disturbed if I had either… Single Moms aren’t Sluts or Whores or Easy or Loose. Most likely, if I have to tell you that you’re just an asshole and you wouldn’t be worth my mother or any other badass single mom out there.

This Guy Said It Pretty Damn Good – The 3 Types Of Amazing Women This Single Dad Wants To Meet

Maybe, I should make up for my lacking Monday post with two today… Or at least explanations of natural disasters and the plague but I’m not going to.

Instead I am sharing this awesome piece from a Single Dad. Take a minute to read it and realize that Single Dads and Single Moms are really all just Single Parents… ALL JUST SINGLES.

A little more bruised. A little more broken. Definitely more guarded. But possessing the honest heart and fighter’s mentality that comes from being truly tested, and beating the odds.

https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/the-3-types-of-amazing-women-this-single-dad-wants-104246487428.html

More Than Just a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

I was seven and in the last few months of first grade. We were living in a large, newly remodeled house walking distance to school with custom cabinets and golden oak trim throughout. The landlord could have charged over a grand in rent – and usually did – but he’d taken a shining to my mother’s grace and humble arrogance.

She’d picked us up from daycare in a particularly fake happy mood. At just before closing on the last day of the work week, we were some of the last kids to be picked up that day. An instant failure for my mother. My brothers complained about her being late “you said you’d pick us up at nap time.” The comment was harmless but it stung like a knife to her. It always did.

I was old enough to pick up on the tension but still not able to fully understand the depth of her mood.
At home, it was the natural routine: we slipped off our shoes and piled our book bags by the stairs. She walked straight for the kitchen filling the coffee pot with water, letting the sink fill with soap and steam while she let the dog in and filled the bowls. She grabbed the broom from the laundry after switching out the loads.

She did anything to shut out the voices in her head.

A smoke break later and it was time for supper.

We were determined to have Mac and Cheese but my mother explained she was tired and was not making macaroni and cheese. We pressed. We pouted. She offered Spaghetti O’s and peanut butter and jellies but not the explanation of expired milk or why she looked on the verge of tears. We pressed harder and her voice cracked as she plead her case.

“Mama, Can I please have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

I broke off our laughing screams for MAC AND CHEESE. Somewhere inside I recognized the pain in her face; I still don’t know what was wrong, but somehow I understood without really understanding at all that this was important – that she just couldn’t handle any more today.

The relief on her face was mixed with an emotion I had no concept of. We continued playing at the table while she silently made our sandwiches and crackers and cheese.

When she put my plate down she wrapped her arms around me.

“Thank you.

“I know you don’t understand this now. You don’t even know how great you are. Someday you’re going to be a good man and I’m so proud of you.

“ I love you.”

Taking on the Assholes (Part 3) – JudgyBitch Returns

My comments and witty retorts are marked in BOLD ITALIC block quote! I warned you that the JudgyBitch blog would return for a second round of this. Remember, according to JudgyBitch dating a single mother is the basically the WORST decision a man can make but:

Dating single fathers? Just say YES! A note for all the single ladies.
printed April 4

Website:
http://judgybitch.com/2014/04/04/dating-single-fathers-just-say-yes-a-note-for-all-the-single-ladies/

My just say no to dating single mothers post remains one of the most popular on this blog, with over 50K views and 3K+ Facebook shares. I probably trash about 75% of the comments that post generates, since they all tend to be along the lines of “oh my god you’re so judgy and such a bitch and even though other single mothers are total slags like you say, I’m not and you should just die already”. Yeah, yeah. Whatever. It always amuses me when commenters get outraged at what a judgy bitch I am. Uhm, you clicked on a website called JudgyBitch! What the fuck were you expecting?

I don’t have much to say here… The point of my writing is the exact opposite of JudgyBitch; otherwise, I might completely dig her unabated opinionated sarcastic humor.

— Complicated

Another frequent comment I get is “oh yeah, well what about all the single dads? What about them, huh?”, so let’s talk about them.

Single fathers have all the virtues single mothers do not, and they should definitely be on your radar screen if you are looking for some solid, husband material. Let’s talk about why.

First and foremost, every single mother chooses parenthood, as she is legally entitled to do. Facing a positive pregnancy test, she has the option of evicting Junior from her womb long before any need to buy itty bitty shoes arises. And even after Junior arrives, she still has at least two options in front of her: She can refuse to identify the father and place the child for adoption, or she can surrender the child under safe haven laws and walk away from all financial, social, legal and ethical responsibilities.

The argument that women should be able to choose parenthood because only women get pregnant is nullified by the fact that even after a baby is born, a woman still gets to decide if she will assume responsibility for that child. She does not need to have any reason whatsoever for refusing that responsibility. If she doesn’t want the baby, she doesn’t have to keep it.

Men have no such rights. Men cannot force women to have abortions, nor should they be able to. They cannot surrender their paternal rights. They cannot refuse to assume responsibility for the child. They will, in fact, be imprisoned, if they cannot pay the woman whatever sum the courts have determined is appropriate. and let’s not forget that for some women, tricking a man into a pregnancy is just “normal“.

I suppose JudgyBitch does not agree with the phrase “it takes two.” However let us not forget: abusive and otherwise insecure men often find pregnancy a sure fire way to secure a relationship/trap a woman. Most of the kids I know like me – bastards from unwed mothers, I think JudgyBitch might call us. Most of us, Bastards, were produced in long term relationships – we’re not all from one night stands, broken condoms, entrapped lovers, and careless Johns on the street corner.

— Complicated

Men are not allowed to choose parenthood.

I choose to agree fully here.

My father told my mother to get abortion. She told him to go to Hell and she’d do it alone.

My grandfather told my mother’s mother to abort her. They were married but each had children from previous relationships.

I’d dare you to ask my Father or Grandfather is they hate my mother and grandmother for their decisions. I know firsthand that both have repeatedly thanked them for being so stubborn and obstinate.

— Complicated

It is therefore safe to assume that a single father had fatherhood thrust upon him. Single mothers make a conscious, deliberate choice to make the one decision most likely to guarantee their children live in poverty with little chance of escaping. Single fathers have not made that choice because they are not legally entitled to do so.

Here, you are incorrect. My younger brothers were conscious mutual, perhaps reckless, decisions. Both my parents wanted more children together. They both choose parenthood.

— Complicated

Single fathers are the exact opposite of single mothers: they are the embodiment of responsibility. A man raising his children alone has assumed full responsibility for someone else’s choice (the choice to have a baby), and even if the decision to have a child was nominally mutual, in actual fact, he had no say. Mutual agreement to have a child is merely pleasant conversation to disguise the fact that men have no reproductive choices, other than complete celibacy or permanent sterilization, choices we would never accept as the only birth control options for women. And rightly so.

Being a bad parent is being a bad parent. If you’re a bad human being you’re a bad human being.

Are you choosing to ignore the countless examples of men with 10+ kids by 8+ women?

Just because a man has children doesn’t mean he’s taking care of them ore has “full responsibility.” Whoever the Residential Parent is is taking on the responsibility of two people’s decision. My father was a great dad- he played with us, he was proud of us, came to our games and bragged about my grades. But my mother was the reason we we’re in sports, she was the reason I did all my homework and didn’t play games until midnight. This is not to say that my dad wasn’t able to do this for the children he had after us but prior to them, he didn’t understand and had no compassion for the stress and financial burden my mother dealt with from having 3 sons.

He’d never drove an hour home after nine hours to drive back another hour to the Children’s Hospital ER. He’d never maintained 3 children under the age of 10 years old in a hospital waiting room until 3 am only to be at work by 9 am.

And my mother didn’t know the heartache that my father felt. She didn’t understand the sadness of driving us home on Sundays. She’d never felt the emptiness of losing the closeness she had with us.

— Complicated

Single fathers are also a good financial bet for potential relationships because even though they bear the brunt of the cost of raising their children, they are unlikely to be paying out alimony to the mother’s child, and obviously are not paying child support. They are unlikely to be receiving child support, either, and it behooves any women considering a single father to consider the fact that women are far more likely to be delinquent in paying child support than men are. Don’t count on the baby mama kicking in any cash. It’s highly improbable. And don’t count on the courts sending the woman to jail for failure to pay. Ha! Yeah, right. Even without support from the other parent, single fathers still tend not to be poor because they have made entirely different life choices than single mothers.

So Single Mothers will use men and drain their bank accounts. If you date them you’ll be stuck fronting the bill for a bunch a heathen bastards that aren’t yours….

But…

Single Fathers are a “good financial bet for a potential relationship” even though mothers rarely pay child support….

OKaaayyyy….

— Complicated

Dating a single father is also an excellent test of a woman’s own personality. Can you deal with the fact that a child will always supersede you in his father’s affections? I think women who don’t have children are taken by surprise when confronted with this reality, because they don’t understand that children almost always take priority over adults and adults are expected to be mature, self-assured and accommodating of the needs of others.

Mature?

Self-assured?

Accommodating?

Dating a single parent is an excellent test of anyone’s character. But I also don’t believe that inherently being unable to deal with this situation or ‘failing’ makes someone a BAD PERSON.
It is hard. It does take STRENGTH and MATURITY. And guess what, us kids aren’t going to make it any easier for you.

—  Complicated

You can see why this is a problem for some women. Check out these letter to Dear Prudence, in which delightful Princesses of The Special Snowflake begrudge their partner’s love for their children. I’m so confused about that whole wicked stepmother trope! It’s just patriarchy, right?

Dear Prudie, I’ll be spending New Year with my boyfriend of two and a half years. While this would normally be lovely, I’m not looking forward to it. I feel bummed out by it. We’ll be at his parent’s, which is out in the sticks and he has visitation with his daughter for the holidays first time since she was a baby. I’m conflicted. On one hand this should be about the time he spends with his daughter and she with her grandparents. On the other hand I cannot stand the way he rewards/gives in to her tantrums and end up angry and isolating myself. I’m also 27 and feeling a little resentful that for the second year in a row my New Years, which should be fun and carefree, is dictated by his family plans. Even if I did ditch them, which is essentially what I’d be doing, that also feels terrible and it’s not like I have many other friends or options. I’m not sure what to do or how to manage conflicting feelings of guilt & resentment. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. -Conflicted.

I’ve been married for a little over a year. I met my husband several years ago when we were neighbors; he was married at the time and had a young son. He moved away, got divorced, and I didn’t see him for several years. Then we reconnected, dated, and got married very quickly. His son is now 10 and I’m having a really hard time getting to like the boy. This might sound mean, but I can’t stand him sometimes. I know he’s a child, and that he gets his bad manners from his psycho mother, but everything about him just grosses me out: the way he eats; the way his mother dresses him (like a little rapper); that he’s too lazy to even clean his room. I try so hard to hide my feelings, but my husband senses it sometimes. I take his son to buy school clothes or toys, but he can’t behave and it’s driving me insane. I really don’t know what to do, especially now that we have him every weekend. I asked my husband if he can give me “me” time at least once a month, but his excuse is that he hates leaving his son with his ex-wife. I really can’t take sharing my husband with his son. What should I do?

Ugh. Completely horrid women.

Single fathers are clearly capable of accepting responsibilities, even when they had no say in creating those responsibilities, and they will always have priorities over and above the women they partner with. I can imagine the snarls and contemptuous huffing coming from those women who cannot abide, for one second, that a mere child will take precedence over her, and those are just the women you want to avoid like the plague.

Let me make something clear. There is a difference between a Single Parent and an Every-Other-Weekend Parent. They deal with completely different emotions and responsibilities or lack thereof. To say a Single Father is the same as an Every-Other-Weekend Father is insulting. Single Fathers like Single Mothers take full time responsibility for the children involved – they deal with sleepless nights, after school activities, homework, bedtimes, parent-teacher conferences, punishments, doctor’s appointments and missing work. Weekend Parents exist free of these Monday-Friday parental responsibilities but in exchange suffer the emotional strain of lacking relationships with their children, missed moments, lost time and yes, the financial burden of child support.

— Complicated

If you are one of those women, then steer clear of the single dads. They really don’t need another child. But if you are looking for a man willing to commit to something greater than the sum of individual parts, and that is what marriage is, then a single father might be just the man you’re looking for.

Meh, she’s right here. Although the concept applies to anyone pursuing a relationship with someone with kids.

— Complicated

I’m reminded of a Rita Rudner joke that I always find quite amusing:

“I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They’ve experienced pain and bought jewelry.”

We can spin it a bit and say:

“I think men who are sole parents are better prepared for marriage. They’ve experienced powerlessness and accepted responsibility”.

Note here that the term SOLE PARENTS is used!!! This is important and this is true…for SOLE PARENTS

— Complicated

Now the real question is why the hell would a single father ever want to complicate his life and open himself up to even more exploitation by taking on a wife? Or another wife?

What’s in it for him?

Until men have the legal right to choose parenthood, not much. Just more responsibility. How fascinating that it’s mostly feminists who demand the right to choose parenthood for themselves, but refuse that right to men.

Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.
Sigmund Freud

Is that because responsibility is the natural consequence of freedom? As long as men are not free to do something as fundamental as choose parenthood, they can be forced into assuming responsibilities. And let’s be clear, the responsibility single fathers have assumed is not for the children.

It’s for a woman’s choice.

If feminists really wanted to tackle women’s oppression, they would insist that men and women are equally free to accept or reject responsibility for their life choices. But that’s not what they want at all. They want the right to shift the burden accountability of onto men (how oppressive!), many of whom accept that treatment willingly. Like single fathers.

Why do they accept the burden?

Because they have no choice. And because they put the needs of their children first.

NOT ALWAYS. Ever heard the term Dead Beat Dad…

— Complicated

Exactly what single mothers refuse to do.

After this article I’m convinced that there is a reason JudgyBitch hates Single Mothers…. I believe consoling may be in order there Ma’am.

— Complicated

Single mothers? Just say no. Single fathers? Hell, yeah!

Those are men worth working for.

Lots of love,

JB