What Defines a Single Parent

I read an article on the Huffington Post about the definition of a single parent. I find it interesting and sad that people are arguing about what makes a single parent. Is it really that important to convince others that your life is harder than mine? According to some of these people, since my ex occasionally takes custody of my kids, and sometimes pays his child support, I’m not a single mom. Wouldn’t that be nice?

It does bother me a little to think that people believe the small amount of help I get disqualifies me for the “status” of single mother, but I find it more disturbing that it has become a status at all that people are fighting for. If I had a choice, having someone around to help me make decisions, pay for things, and dole out punishments would be the route I’d take. So, why are people fighting for the right to say they don’t have that? And why does it bother me that people try to claim I don’t qualify?

I remember when divorce was a dirty word, and being a single parent was something people were ashamed of. I can’t say I’m ashamed of being a single parent. I’m glad I got myself and my kids out of that situation, and I’m proud to be doing this on my own.

I think it bothers me when people say I’m not a single mother, because I feel like I’m doing this all on my own and that should be recognized. I could understand people saying I wasn’t when I was still married and my ex sat around the house all day doing little more than drinking and smoking pot. Let’s face it, if you’re raising your kids and your spouse, you are a single parent. However, for me, he’s gone now and it’s all me making the day-to-day decisions. It turns out though, not having him around dragging down the program has made parenting easier (by A LOT). My kids are happier, I’m happier, and my finances are under control. So, meh. I believe that if you feel like a single parent, then you probably are a single parent. (No matter how much the other parent “helps”.)

So, instead of focusing on what does or does not make your situation worse than mine, let’s instead focus on how we can help each other feel a little less alone no matter our situation. After all, the only reason we feel like a single parent is because we feel like we’re the ONLY ONE who does the raising. So, whether you’re raising kids by yourself, or raising a spouse who refuses to grow up, know that there is someone out there willing to lend an ear if you need to vent.

Do you feel like a single parent? Do you care if others want to label you that?

About MJ Sims

Single mom who plays Assassin's Creed for the exploration more than the killing.
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