I’m just going to jump right in. As a single parent, I have learned to keep a very strong poker face in the light of rude questions or thoughtless statements.
I am not a sensitive person to most of the questions my married or non-parent friends ask me about being a single mom. Being a nosy by nature person myself, I know that most questions do not come from a bad place but rather genuine curiosity and I don’t usually mind because I am not ashamed of my lifestyle.
One of the worst comments that I have received this year was when I was discussing finally getting a pre-approval and looking to buy a home in a better school district for my girls.
Your kids will probably be the poorest kids in school no matter where they go.
Like I said, I am not sensitive but this was said in front of my 4 year old, and it stung a little. I worked HARD as a single mom to overcome the fear and guilt that I will not be able to give my kids the life that they would have in a two parent household. I work hard so that they do not ever FEEL that they live in a one income household.
Do two parent households have more potential to provide a better lifestyle for their kids? Absolutely. But this is not the reality for every family.
I THRIVE as a single mom and I am doing better for them than I thought possible. This is the 21st century and there are so many single mamas out there who are killing it every day.
So here is a list of questions that I have personally been asked as a single mom:
Where are the girl’s dad?
This is a weird one to me that I have even heard from people I’ve just met. Do you ask married moms where the girls’ dad is if you see them out at the park? No. And I would not dream of going up to someone and asking them casually the details of their divorce or something like that, so please, if you are not close to the person, do not ask this question.
Are you getting child support?
This question can bring up bad feelings. This can be followed up by “How much child support do you get?” or “How do you spend it?”. Know that IF a mom does receive child support, how much and how it is spent is nobody’s business if her kids are well cared for. Also, if you would not go up to a married mom and ask her how much her and her husband bring home a week because that would be rude, consider not doing that to a single mom.
And if a mom is not receiving child support, you just opened a big old can of worms. Back away slowly.
Don’t you want your kids to take marriage seriously?
Of course I do. But I also want them to know that it is not world ending to leave a relationship that drags them down or is harmful for their health and well-being. Also, insinuating that because a marriage failed means that the party did not ‘take their marriage seriously’ is insulting on its own. You can try everything and have a relationship fail. Even in ‘good’ marriages, people and circumstances grow and change and that is ok.
Other follow ups to this that I have received are “Oh but (ex-husband) seemed like such a great guy! Did you try counseling?” And “I’m old fashioned, I believe in fixing a marriage.”
Let me break down a few reasons why people don’t fix a marriage.
There was infidelity on his part. There was infidelity on her part. One party decided they didn’t want to be a parent. There was abuse. Parents grew into different people. Whatever the case, it is none of your business.
So NO. Just, no. Ever.
How do you afford your kids?
Uhm, the same way everybody does? This is usually followed with, Oh, you must be on government assistance? This is a low blow you guys. Needing government assistance is not usually something people want to openly discuss. And also, just because someone is a solo parent does not automatically mean that they are struggling. This question will never have a good outcome.
It must be so nice to have a break to relax while your kids are gone.
Keep in mind, some single parents don’t have an ex that sees their kids, some have an ex that take their kids sporadically and intermittently. Some parents do look forward to getting a ‘break’, if you can call it that and, and some are heartbroken and sit around and just miss their kids, especially when the divorce/split is fresh. This is my biggest pet peeve question (Ok, it’s more of a statement), especially when the kids are nearby and can hear.
No matter how a single parent uses their time while their kids are away, I wouldn’t call it relaxing.
These are just a few of the real things that have been said to me, most of them within ear shot of my kids, in inappropriate places such as friends kids’ birthday party, by a person I just met at a dinner with a mutual group of friends, strangers at the park, at holiday functions.
Once again, I am not a sensitive person. I don’t mind answering (some of) these questions in the right context or atmosphere, especially for people who are considering divorce or think they will soon become a single parent themselves and are curious.
There is a stigma attached to single moms (and dads) and it’s not always true. So to anyone with a solo parent friend, no matter what circumstances led them to this lifestyle, THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK.
And if you don’t, get ready for the clap-back and to be asked some things you would rather not be asked in return.
Have you ever been asked inappropriate questions as a single parent? I’d love to hear from you! Contact me.