There is nothing that irritates me more than someone who asks me “What’s your excuse this time?” when I turn down plans or forget to reply to a group chat message.
Don’t get me wrong, I have used this as an excuse before. What mom hasn’t used their kids as the fall-guy to get out of going to an event that they just didn’t want to go to? Guilty.
But 99% of the time, “I can’t, I have to (bathe, feed, clean, bond with, drive around, shop for, etc.) the kids.” is not an excuse for not attending an event or forgetting to text you back about your wild weekend or that bitch Sharon at work– it is a reason.
Parenting is so many great things but it is also exhausting, relentless, and strenuous at times.
And as a single mom, I lug around the weight of responsibilities meant to be shared between two people alone. I don’t have a partner to fall back on when I need a girls night or dinner alone. I have a very happy life, but it is hard sometimes you guys.
So it irritates me that I get anxiety whenever I have to turn someone down because the clap back to why I can’t come is usually inevitable.
Don’t get me wrong, I still like to be invited. I like receiving texts checking on me or a funny meme, even if I forgot to reply to the last one. I like to know that in my business, in the days or weeks that I am swept up in responsibility and maintaining the best life possible for my kids, my friends have not forgotten me.
I cherish the friends that I have who ask me every week when I’m free for dinner, the ones who don’t send me a snarky comment when I reply to a text they sent three days ago, but instead carry on the conversation like they didn’t notice. The ones who don’t push me when I say I can’t come out, whether it’s because I can’t get a sitter, want to spend special time with my kids, or I am just too tired.
I cherish the coworkers who understand that I love them so much and want to stay after work and celebrate but sometimes I just can’t spend an extra four hours away from my kids when I’ve spent 40-45 hours away already. I appreciate you more than you know.
But to the people who shame me because I don’t have the time to reply to every single text, answer every single phone call, or make it to every event, I’ve had enough.
I’ve had enough of the comments about needing to ‘prioritize’. Between waking up at 5 am on weekdays and juggling work, making lunches, bath time, meal prep, dinners, and my kids multiple activities, I don’t always have energy left over to do anything besides exactly what I want to do, and sometimes not even for that.
I’ve had enough of the memes shared about ‘If someone says they’re too busy for you don’t believe them. It takes 10 seconds to text someone back.’
One, in this digital age, who decided that just because we have access to communicate constantly and instantaneously that we should be required to do so? Who decided that I have to be readily available and alert to reply and hold conversations despite what I am doing IRL at the moment just because I have the means available to?
Two, whoever made this meme and those who circulate it have never been a single parent, or if they have they are juggling better than I am myself. Kudos to you.
I do not like to rant, and I don’t want to bog anyone down with negativity but I do feel like this is an issue a lot of single moms (parents), and even parents who aren’t single but just mind blowining-ly busy face. And I want to cause perspectives to shift.
So next time you’re about to make a judgy comment, or use some other way to make a single mom feel bad about not being able to make an event, here’s what you can do instead of lashing out:
Put yourself in her shoes and be compassionate
Frustrated that your friend is too busy and swept up in daily life that she doesn’t have a free night to hang out? I imagine that she’s even more frustrated than you. Be understanding. Personally, whenever I turn down plans I brace myself for backlash and a snide comment in return. It’s so nice when someone replies and is actually genuinely understanding and not offended.
Show her with actions that you are there for her
Bring over a pizza. Ask to hang out at the park. At a kid friendly restaurant. I am happy when my kids are happy, and when I don’t have to plan dinner or be distracted with cooking or cleaning when I’m trying to visit with friends.
Do something nice for her kids
One of the hardest parts of being a single parent is feeling the weight of keeping my kids entertained. I am always ecstatic when a friend or family member wants to do something special for them like play a favorite game or get their toes done or even just spend an afternoon getting ice cream and window shopping. It is so appreciated.
Try to plan a day out that fits her schedule
I have windows of time that work better for me to hang out kid free than others. It’s often harder for a single mom to carve out time away from kids, so asking what works best for her is a great place to start.
Bring her wine
Or vodka. Or beer. (No, seriously just bring it.)
Having a baby is the female version of a rich man losing his inheritance. Now you find out who your real friends are.Sh*tty Moms A Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us
So here’s to the friends who put up with our ghosting, our last minute change of plans, our sporadic phone calls with a smile on their face. The friends who go the extra step to show that they’re along for the ride and do not take it personally when we sometimes take 3-5 business days to reply to an IG message. Who whole heartedly enjoy (or pretend to) the day trips to the zoo over day drinking.
We are thankful for you.