"You're a single mum?!!"...... what did you expect, Vicky Pollard? <<rolls eyes>>

(48 Posts)
Meglet Thu 18-Apr-13 20:25:23

Does anyone else get this? Not a rant, just something that amuses me every so often.

People seem amazed when they find out I'm a single parent. Other parents + collegues often comment on it when I mention it. Do they think I'm hiding a husband on my FB profile hmm.

Yes Society, single mums hold down respectable office jobs, turn up on time, go to the gym, take our kids to the library and they do well at school.

Despite what some areas of the Media would like everyone to believe the last time I looked all the single parents I know weren't rolling around in the gutter, drinking vodka and neglecting their children.

Yes, I have had this too. Used to find it a bit irritating, but now it amuses me lol.

Yes. I also get the 'lets find you a nice man,' patronising comment. I'm ok thanks!

BlackeyedSusan Thu 18-Apr-13 21:26:04

apparently, I am doing well getting my children to school on time. hmm is that not what you are supposed to do?

Fleecyslippers Thu 18-Apr-13 21:33:32

All of that AND then they wrap arms protectively around their hubby just in case I steal him away grin

elastamum Thu 18-Apr-13 21:41:54

I used to get a lot of raised eyebrows from the other school mums. Two DC in private school, full time job and no husband. Lives on her own out in the sticks in a huge old house with just the DC and a few large dogs!

I think they have just got used to me now grin

lostdad Thu 18-Apr-13 22:26:10

Works for dads like me too - my ex abducted my son from the family home while I was at work.

It was assumed by a lot of people a) I beat her b) I abused my son c) I was screwing around d) I was a deadbeat dad e) `There's no smoke without fire is there?' f) I'd go to court and it'd be over in a couple of months g) I had as much a say in my son's life as his mother did.

When someone used to describe me as the `visiting father' I used to ask how I was visiting considering I hadn't moved anywhere and was still in the family home! grin

lostdad Thu 18-Apr-13 22:27:07

elastamum - I get that too. I tend to describe them as `the coven'....wink

Wolfiefan Thu 18-Apr-13 22:36:00

I am sorry but any parent could end up being a lone parent. Why waste time judging?
To be completely honest tonight I came on here intending to start a thread declaring all single parents as HEROES! DH buggered off all week for work. Juggling my work and two kids (one of whom picked up a bug and spent the whole of one night vomiting!). Seriously how the bloody hell does anyone manage?
<superhero emoticon (yes with a cape but knickers over tights optional!)>

Meglet Thu 18-Apr-13 22:36:02

I've never felt anyone look down on me for it mind you.

They're usually baffled at how I cope juggling the kids and work though. I tell them I shout all the time and do very little housework grin.

SirBoobAlot Thu 18-Apr-13 22:51:18

Oh yes.

I'm also a young mum and disabled, so get much judging.

Yes. Some women look at me accusingly almost as if they were thinking 'wow, what did you do to make him leave you?!' angry

Meglet Thu 18-Apr-13 23:22:01

daydream sad . They just sound insecure.

What I do find reasurring is knowing that 2 parent families struggle if they are both working. Makes me feel less hard on myself when I feel like I'm going under with stress which is most days.

VelvetSpoon Thu 18-Apr-13 23:29:41

At work, people assume all the time I am married, apparently because if you're in a professional job, and you have children, you can't possibly be a LP hmm

People also never 'get' why I left my Ex. Possibly because I tend to avoid telling them all he was a physically and emotionally abusive arse, and just say he made me unhappy.

Me me me! I get this (the bafflement, no judging).
Own business, professional job, child with middle class name dressed in Monsoon tank tops...

BlackeyedSusan Thu 18-Apr-13 23:57:31

I don't do paid work at the moment, so obviously less than average iq.

equinox Fri 19-Apr-13 08:33:35

I have been married 3 times prior to the 4th man who is the father of our 8 year old son.

We split up when he was only 5 months which was my decision due to his controlling violent behaviour.

These days for the past 8 years since being a single parent I have realised how needy and dependent I was in previous relationships and sadly how dependent many of these women still are with their marriages and boyfriends.

A happy relationship must be interdependent not codependent and in many cases I have not witnessed this and I say this with some experience and without hopefully too much judgement!

Strange world huh.

JollyPurpleGiant Fri 19-Apr-13 08:43:51

I admit to being baffled at how single mums manage. I have a DH and my house is still a bomb site far from tidy and I don't even work that many hours. I'm very impressed by the single mums I know. I don't think I could be as competent and together as they are.

JakeBullet Fri 19-Apr-13 08:44:11

Society LOVES to stereotype. As a health visitor I used to visit a young couple (both 19) with their gorgeous DD. The Mum had lost count of the times people assumed she was a lone parent and the Dad got fed up with people assuming he was out of work (he wasn't).

acceptableinthe80s Fri 19-Apr-13 08:56:39

I get the bafflement too. I find it really quite patronising, though not enough to bother me. When some of the mums at ds's nursery found out i was a single parent and ran my own business/house/life they couldn't hide their amazement hmm. Wait till i tell them i'm about to start a degree grin. Probably best not tell them i'm a dab hand with flatpacks/diy, they might just faint.

kittycat68 Fri 19-Apr-13 10:16:09

i think society is at fault and has not moved on in beliving that women should be attached to the kitchen sink. I think it will take years before people realise that women are just as good at men and sometimes better. My children call me "superwomen" smile

lostdad Fri 19-Apr-13 12:41:12

kittycat68 - `i think society is at fault and has not moved on in beliving that women should be attached to the kitchen sink'

I agree...it's amazing the number of people who think that when a couple separate that children of separated parents should `live with mum, visit dad' - that includes both men and women, judges, solicitors and barristers.

One of the things FNF seeks is default shared parenting - but there is a hell of a lot opposition from various people and organisations - including ones with feminist ideologies. Which confuses me because to my mind it is unfair that men are free to pursue a career while women are left caring for the kids!

CharlieUniformNovemberTango Fri 19-Apr-13 12:47:55

If I had a pound for every time some idiot well meaning busybody has said "Oh but they're lovely kids considering" or words to that effect I'd be able to pay a full time actor to accompany me out in public so they could all feel comfortable I'm "normal".

Sometimes I think it's a misjudged compliment but the sentimant is the same - it's amazing that the kids of a single parent are mostly polite and well behaved.

CookieDoughKid Fri 19-Apr-13 12:51:42

I actively try not to disclose to anyone at work I'm a single parent. I don't want them to have any preconceived ideas or any point of blame. So far, they all think I am still with my partner (we've split up for a year now). I'm doing OK. I have a live-in Nanny, have 2 under 5, work full and just trying to enjoy (somewhat stressful) life I lead.

I suppose work does not need to know about me being a single parent. It's just that I don't know ANY single parents at my work please. At work, we talk alot and thinking of positive ways to support working parents. I just wonder if they ARE single parents working in real life because I don't know any!
[Obviously there are on mumsnet smile)

equinox Fri 19-Apr-13 14:14:33

CharlieUniform what on earth did this person mean by the word 'considering' how patronising where does this joker get off I mean REALLY!!

Stunningly stupid choice of words if you ask me by them!!

Cookie well done for keeping it to yourself that's not something I could do but yes I have noticed there are a sorry lack of us around.

In my son's class for example out of 32 children there are only 3 single parents, it isn't fun feeling socially 'different'.

itwillgetbettersoon Fri 19-Apr-13 16:55:07

I'm taking my kids to Italy and we are back packing for a couple of weeks. I was saying this to a couple who I did once class as friends(!). Anyway the husband said" I suppose in your circumstances that is probably the best holiday to do"!

Hello why? Very odd comment!

CharlieUniformNovemberTango Fri 19-Apr-13 19:57:22

I have had it a couple of times equinox - I gather it means that considering I am a single parent my children are well behaved. I think that there is an assumption that single parents let their kids run riot and never teach them to say please or thank you! It is incredibly patronising.

I've once been told that my children are so lovely compared to my sisters and she's married...who'd have thought it!

kritur Fri 19-Apr-13 20:13:47

Yep I get this... University lecturer, child with middle class name... Can't possibly be... Apart from that I just seem to get admiration that I'm not completely dolally and manage to keep going every day.

Kiriwawa Fri 19-Apr-13 20:18:11

Holidays are the funniest. I get 'Did you go on your own?' as if taking a child on holiday (to another part of the UK) is an almost insurmountable task, akin to climbing Everest within oxygen or something.

mumandboys123 Fri 19-Apr-13 20:19:22

ah yes, I recognise the 'you do a wonderful job/you are a wonderful person/your kids are wonderful...but/considering/if only...comment. Single mothers are not allowed to cope, earn their own money, or be happy. It's the Law. Apparently grin.

Kiriwawa Fri 19-Apr-13 20:22:07

And brave! Don't forget brave.

Not battling insurgents, but getting children to school/taking them on holiday/other random entirely ordinary life event which is clearly impossible without two adults wrangling.

Brave is the one that always winds me up the most.
And regards the 'I don't know how you cope' comments, well, sometimes I don't! Then I call my friends, rant and rave about it, and then get on with it.

CharlieUniformNovemberTango Fri 19-Apr-13 22:01:54

I'm baffled with Brave comments too. What's the alternative? Run away? Keep them locked in a room and throw food in twice a day like they are bitey hamsters?

I rarely tell people because it isn't something that defines me. If someone asks about a partner I will tell them but if not I don't.

One friend has told me I use 'we' alot when talking about my family so people just assume I mean a partner.

Someone once asked me if I was in a gay relationship because I'd used she/her meaning my daughter when talking about making a decision to move away. hmm

Meglet Sat 20-Apr-13 12:08:28

Actually, I use 'we' aswell. So it would be easy for someone to jump to conclusions.

I was a teenage single mum. People are often really shocked at how old DS1 is, particularly as I don't fit their stereotype (I have a PhD, a good job, a nice house in a great area, kids who do well in school etc). I suspect some of these people put my not doing whatever it is they think my lifestyle should be down to H's influence (but I had a job, my own flat, was nearly finished my PhD, etc before I even met him).

Startail Sat 20-Apr-13 12:17:00

Yes, hold respectable jobs, run guide units and have the nicest DD you could ever wish to meet.

IneedAyoniNickname Sat 20-Apr-13 12:38:48

I told someone once that I was a single mum and their response was "oh, but you seem so nice, and your dc are some of the nicest best behaved boys I've ever met" confused

50shadesofvomit Sun 21-Apr-13 09:30:45

I get this too.
It's usually followed by a question about if I am dating or how I financially support myself. Grr..

50shadesofvomit Sun 21-Apr-13 09:38:46

I also get comments about how my children are so happy/popular despite me being a lp and amazement that they are well behaved/dressed properly/never late for school/doing well academically/don't live on takeaways etc. They have always been like that!!

MissPricklePants Mon 22-Apr-13 12:27:55

I get this! I have been single for nearly 4 years and have a nearly 4 yo dd. I have had comments off the other parents at the birthday parties we go to, from the staff etc. Its ridiculously funny as they seem baffled that I work, I volunteer, I spend loadsa time with my dd, I take her to the library and swimming etc and that my house is reasonably clean and tidy. Obviously I am knackered and just getting on with it! Also had the response of 'I'm sorry' when people realise I am a LP!! Often get asked if I live with my parents (I don't) and do they have dd lots (Nope, if she isn't at nursery she is with me!) as I am in my late 20's but look younger so people assume I can't fend for myself...idiots!

happybubblebrain Mon 22-Apr-13 12:42:23

I'm proud that I'm a single mum and I do all the things I do. I have no help or support from anyone and my dd is the most amazing child -happy, confident and doing really well at everything.

I don't give two hoots if someone prejudges me; although I've got pretty good at picking nice people to associate with so I haven't really experienced it that much.

I have to work really hard, every single day but I still love being a single mum, I much prefer it to the alternative. I usually feel sorry for people in crap relationships and there seems to be quite a lot of those about.

Prozacbear Tue 23-Apr-13 23:17:41

I sometimes think of myself as a single mum - it really isn't true as ex-DP has DS 50% of the time - but I would agree withe the perception.

People at work have assumed I'm a 'single mum' because ex-DP is a deadbeat/abusive/horrible. He's none of those things, he's a great dad and a good person, it just didn't work out. They aren't judgemental just ... pitying? Even though I am with DP now, it doesn't fade.

Mostly it's in public. I am quite young-looking (still get ID'd everywhere despite it being quite a while since that was necessary), mixed race, etc, and have had looks and even comments - some drunk man about how 'his taxes' were paying for my 'children'. I soon set him straight - I have a ridiculously thorough education which I am not wasting, and which is serving me very well, thank you.

Used to be embarrassed at people's assumptions, now I just get annoyed. For any woman who has to deal with this stuff because she has the temerity not to be tethered to the father of her child/children, when she doesn't want to be.

Piemother Tue 23-Apr-13 23:34:04

I get the - I don't know how you cope....followed by 'my husband wax away for one night and it was chaos' and it makes me think they need to grow a backbone and learn to cope in case they have to for a dozen different reasons.

Wallison Wed 24-Apr-13 21:17:15

Oh, I've had loads of comments over the years along the lines of "Really? I wouldn't have thought it" etc. It's funny; lots of children end up being raised in households headed by one parent at least for some time; I mean, it's hardly unusual these days, is it?

Also, I don't think of my marital status as being something that I need to announce, just as most married people don't either. It doesn't define me or tell you anything about me other than that I'm not married.

wonderstuff Wed 24-Apr-13 21:35:57

I think the media is part of the issue, when did you last see a got my shit together successful working single mum on telly.

SingleMama Thu 25-Apr-13 20:59:44

So glad to see this thread- the very topic I wanted to rant about tonight!

Yeah so I'm single nearly 2 years. My LANDLORD (who clearly presumes my ex left me, that I'm a loser, don't do anything with my day) was complaining to me that I was texting his wife in the morning, when they are busy with work. I thought that was so rude and replied 'yes I was busy too- on my way to college.' He asked me what was I studying. I should have told him to mind his own business & that he's rude but told him what Im studying and he looked shocked and said 'Oh! I didn't know!'
Because I'm a student (doing a second, unrelated degree), I often get asked (by hairdressers and ppl) Do you work? In a certain tone. As if you have to be doing some shite job or other to be deserving of any respect. This REALLY winds me up!

I am finding being a single parent really hard! And my kids sometimes aren't on time to school. (Although all the food I cook could be served in a restaurant lol) It's just so hectic! I have so much going on at the moment it's crazy. I know next month won't be so busy but sometimes it's so tough!!!!

And then on top of the pressures we already have, we've got society looking down its nose. And that means almost everyone!!! So little respect!!!

Misspixietrix Mon 29-Apr-13 12:25:32

I use 'we' when I talk about me and the DC's too. Why not? we're still a family. Just one that no longer comes with a physical and emotionally abusive twat ex grin.

I don't get all the "You're so brave!" "I don't know how you cope!" comments neither. Strangest one recently was a patronising comment from an old fashioned friend, "It's a shame it all fell through MissPixie". It really isn't. My kids are happier than they were a few years ago and so am I smile

I would like to know how a lot of people manage to look stunning on the Morning School Run though, I only just manage to get my kids looking presentable wink ~

lizzie479 Mon 29-Apr-13 13:31:14

Single mama I can totally identify with what you wrote. I used to have a very judgemental landlord who used to make comments such as 'oh the TV is on again' etc. Now I have an ex who tells me repeatedly that HE 'works for a living' the implication being that I don't even though I run the house, look after the kids and work part time. Sadly too many people read the daily mail and watch awful reality and daytime tv shows that stereotype single mums as lazy good for nothings! And yes I use 'we' when I talk about me and DC's too, we are a team and a family.

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