15 Things NOT to Say to a Single Parent
Take it from a single mom: If you meet a single parent, here are a few things better left unsaid, whether because they're rude or just plain nosy.
I'm a single parent and sometimes people can (unintentionally) say the rudest things to me. (Where is his father? Why isn't he around? But, don't you need him?) It's like people don't realize that single parents are completely capable of raising and caring for children on their own. Also, it's not 1850 and I don't plan on wearing a scarlet letter on my t-shirt announcing my single mom status. Because we live in the 21st century, here's a sampling of other things you might not want to say to your single parent friends.
1. "Why aren't you dating?"
I understand that you mean well when trying to hook me up with that nice young man from your church. But I really do mean it when I say that I am perfectly happy and content being single. If someone comes along, great! If they don't, that's fine, too.
2. "You must be so happy and get so much done when your kids are with their other parent."
In my experience, the time single parents spend when they are childless usually involves lots of doing nothing—you know, lying around, eating ice cream and watching Netflix—in an attempt to decompress from all of the things we have to put up with alone on a daily basis. Then, there's the mad last-second scramble to clean up the house and finally fold and put away that massive pile of laundry in the corner. So no—we don't get as much done as we'd like, and we always miss our kids when they are gone.
3. "Who/where is their other parent?"
This is one of the worst things you can say, because honestly, that doesn't even matter. As long as our kids are happy and well taken care of, who cares who and where the other parent is?
4. "All of your kids have the same father/mother, right?"
When you see a single parent with multiple kids, it really is the rudest thing to ask if they have the same father or same mother. It's really none of your business.
5. "You've got your hands full!"
The fact that a parent is operating solo doesn't need to be called out every time he or she leaves the house to go and do perfectly normal things like grocery shopping or attending community events.
6. "How do you do it?"
This is literally the equivalent of asking how you go to work every day. There is no rhyme or reason. You just do it. Also, have you heard of that little saying "It takes a village to raise a child?" Well, my village is my family, so I do have help and I'm not completely alone all the time.
7. "It must be hard being both parents."
No, actually, it's not hard because I am my son's mother. Why would I pretend to be his father? That's ridiculous.
8. "Now I know what it feels like to be a single mom! I can't wait until my husband gets back into town. This is exhausting!"
Your significant other going out of town for a couple of days can not even begin to compare to how I feel daily as a single mother, so please stop trying to make this comparison work.
9. "Do you ever wonder where you'd be in your career if you didn't have a kid?"
I don't think about or dwell on what my life would be like without my son. In fact, I can't imagine life without him. So, nope. I'm not worried about nor do I sit and ponder over the status of my career as a single mother. Everything has (and will continue) to work out just fine.
10. "Does your child see his father/mother? Is he/she involved?"
Asking if the other parent is involved in the life of a child from a single parent household is pretty pointless. Once again, as long as the child is happy and well taken care of, there is no point in wondering whether or not the other parent is around or involved in that child's life.
11. "Why can't you ever hang out?"
Whenever there is a free moment of my time—which, by the way, is very rare—I like to take naps and long, uninterrupted bubble baths. I enjoy my own company very much when my kid isn't around. I would much rather do this when he's asleep than spend hundreds of dollars on a babysitter just to go out. Just know that it takes a lot of time and energy (and sometimes money) for single parents to hang out, which is why (unless it's you coming over) we usually don't.
12. "Where are your kids?"
And, if you do happen to see me out anywhere without my child, please don't ask me where my kid is because why does that matter?
13. "Do you ever regret having kids?"
Lots of people assume that single parents are sad all the time and must regret being "stuck" with their kids. In most cases (especially mine) this is so far from true. I love my son and there's absolutely no regret.
14. "Just deal with it."
Being a single parent can be very hard at times, as we juggle a lot of responsibilities all at once. So, yes, there are moments in which we might need to vent, just like any other parent. Please don't tell us to just "deal with it" if we happen to come to you about a problem or issue. Single parents are human, too.
15. "Are you getting child support?"
Not every single parent receives child support nor should you judge that person either way. The child support process can be very rigorous and time-consuming (trust me, I know from personal experience) and not every single parent wants to go through that. Once again, as long as the parent is providing for the child, bringing up the topic of child support isn't necessary. Most single parents work hard and take pride in caring for their children. Please don't assume that because a parent doesn't get child support that they aren't adequately able to take care of their child.