Lately, every magazine I’ve read is chock-full of articles and stories on why being single rocks and how to embrace your single self. It’s socially acceptable for a woman to live her own life and NOT be focused on finding a relationship or a husband. Nobody bats an eyelash if I, a seemingly normal girl creeping towards my late twenties, say I’m single. It’s the word that comes after “single” that gets all the tongues wagging: “mother.” That’s right. My name is Cassi, and I am a single mother. But you know what? I am one Badass Momma, and I am here to bust through some of the single mom myths that are associated with being an independent chick raising a kid.
Single Mom Myth #1: I’m a slut who got in “trouble”.
When a gal says she’s a single mom, nobody’s first thought is, “oh, that’s awesome…I bet she’s a badass momma.” No, the first thing that usually comes to mind is that she must be easy or loose, because only sluts get pregnant out of wedlock. Either that, or she must be trying to trap a man because she’s crazy and can’t keep one around any other way. Being of sound mind myself and obviously not married, I can tell you firsthand that this is total bullshit. Accidents can happen to anyone; condoms break, birth control fails, or sometimes you just aren’t as careful as you should be. None of those things mean a woman is a slut or that she was trying to tie some poor schmuck down with parenthood.
And what about all those single moms who chose to have their little ones on purpose, without a relationship or a ring, for their own personal reasons? Having a baby is ridiculously hard, pregnancy is grueling, labor is excruciating, and raising a child is frustrating, expensive, and a lifelong commitment never to be taken lightly. Yeah, those ladies deserve some serious applause for choosing to embark on that journey solo!
Single Mom Myth #2: We are hungry for child support checks.
Single moms are always chasing that support check. I hear this one all the time. In fact, that’s always the first question I’m asked when someone finds out I’m a single mother: “Have you gone after child support yet?” I’m never asked if my child’s father is paying child support or supporting the baby or helping with the baby- it’s always whether or not I’m “going after him” for support. As if a single mom can’t provide for her own family! I’m not some money-hungry fiend chasing a payday. Every last one of the single moms I know is gainfully employed and doing their part (and more) to give their kids the best lives possible, and many of them are continuing their educations in order to advance in their career fields. Badass mommas don’t always have a lot of free time or get a lot of sleep but they definitely aren’t afraid of hard work, and they don’t see their children’s fathers as cash cows.
Single Mom Myth #3: We can’t stand our child’s father anymore.
There are some of us that call our kids’ dads friends (or, at the very least, we don’t imagine strangling them with our bare hands every time we have to talk to them). That’s right, no Baby Daddy drama here! Single mothers, while being self-sufficient enough to run a household and raise children on their own, know that having a father in their lives can be a big plus for kids. We have enough class to put aside our differences and have a respectful co-parenting relationship with the big lugs that helped us make these totally amazing, tiny people. Romance doesn’t always last but having a kid together is forever, so why not make it as painless an experience as possible? Plus it can be pretty awesome to know that we can have some time to yourself and your baby will be with someone who loves and cherishes him or her as much as we do!
Single Mom Myth #4: If we give priority to our needs we’re selfish bitches.
It can be hard for a single mom to actually get time to herself. Even if her child’s father has shared custody or there’s a doting grandma who’s more than willing to take the grandbabies for a few hours, the on-her-own mom still gets crap for having interests outside raising her family. The chick that takes Crossfit classes a couple of times a week is vain and self-involved; the one that goes dancing with her friends is a party girl who’s shirking her responsibilities to get drunk. I call bullshit!
Any mother knows that to be able to give her best to her babies, she has to take care of herself both physically and mentally. That means a bubble bath behind a locked door every now and again. We don’t stop living when we have kids, whether we are single or attached. I know this one badass single mom who’s finally going after her dream of becoming a writer! We still have the same hopes, goals, and interests we had before we had our bambinos. Our priorities may be different and our kids are always number one on our lists, but we still like to have fun and be passionate about the things we love.
Becoming a mother on your own isn’t the life-ending tragedy that people seem to want to make it out to be. Even though our culture in this country is supposed to be a more progressive and open-minded one, there is still a whole lot of Judge-y McJudge-ing that happens when somebody dares to do something outside the traditional scope of things. It wasn’t really that long ago that girls who ended up “in a fix” were sent away to have their babies in secret so there wouldn’t be a permanent black mark on their reputations.
There is nothing shameful about creating a life no matter the circumstances under which it was done. Remember, just because a woman doesn’t have a partner doesn’t mean she doesn’t have an endless supply of love, affection and wisdom to give to her children. I want all of the responsible, hard-working single mothers out there to know that they are fabulous, and to own their single-parent status in the face of whatever life has to throw at them. It’s a tough job and you gals are rocking it! You are badass mommas, and you have every reason to be proud of that.