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'Fallen woman' and other single mother stigmatisms

(91 Posts)
SnoopyLovesYou Sun 05-May-13 13:58:43

Hi everyone I'm new on here. I know I shouldn't care less what idiots think but now that I'm single and happen to also be a mother, I haven't been able to help but notice just how stigmatised the role of 'single mother' is. I'm having a little difficulty with it. I know it's just blatant sexism and all and that I can't change how society is but loaded questions like 'You're a single mum aren't you?' (which felt in the context more like I was being asked if I spend all my day on the sofa, shouting at my kids and eating crisps in front of Jeremy Kyle- in which case I'm definitely NOT a m'single mum!) and automatically being thought of as inferior because of this DRIVES ME BATTY!
Anybody have a similar experience?

SnoopyLovesYou Sun 12-May-13 20:08:42

I mean one of my single mother friends was criticised by her own mother almost a year after breaking up with ex for talking about a new man she had just started dating. The mother said 'But what about Sam?' My friend replied 'What do you want me to do? Wear black?'

AvrilPoisson Sun 12-May-13 20:19:08

Snoopy- we aren't allowed to make personal attacks on here; people are allowed to disagree with your opinion, it's a talk board!
We're also allowed to say 'fuck', we're grown-ups, swearing's okay.

FWIW perhaps you live in a small town or something, but round here no-one cares whether you're a lone parent, certainly no stigma attached. Some of the best parents I know are LPs, 2 of my friends in particular say they love living by themselves and raising their children, no hassle from a partner, they can make the decisions as they like, and would never live with some-one else again!

girliefriend Sun 12-May-13 21:46:45

I live in a small town and am constantly surprised at the prejudice there still is against single mums.

I think some of the mums have given me a wide berth and even avoided me at toddler groups etc I have been asked a few times if I know who the father is?! FFS like it is anything to do with them and for the record yes I do!!

Now dds at school its a bit better and there are lots of other single parents that I know of.

bohoec Sun 12-May-13 22:02:16

Oh OP ignore them!

I'm a new mum and my OH works away quite a lot. I didn't have a negative opinion about single mothers (or fathers, for that matter) before, but my teeny bit of experience of coping by myself while my OH is away makes me think YOU ARE A SUPERHERO! Sod what anyone who thinks otherwise says x

P.S. before anyone lambasts me, I'm not suggesting being along for short stretches of time comes anyway close to being the same as a single parent, it's just made me respect single parents even more is all

LouiseSmith Sun 12-May-13 22:39:51

I had a male friend once say to me "Dating a women with a child, is like playing another mans save file." and that offended me.

The thing I find, is single mums seem to attract the wrong type of men. Men seem to think that your easier to get into bed.

BlackeyedSusan Sun 12-May-13 23:26:15

yes to my home being more broken when he lived here, (literally put his fist thougha few things and figuratively with the dv) my home and children are gettting fixed now...

the most patronising was, well done for getting the children to school on time... errmmm most people do.

C999875 Mon 13-May-13 01:49:34

I do not think it is anyone's place to pass judgement as they do not know why people are single parents, do they. let us just imagine a horrible senario here a women is raped and falls pregnant she decides to choose life for her baby so what is she to do marry her rapist. A women is bereaved. A father walks away from his responsibilities however I never see any criticism towards the absent parent.
I am a single mum through choice I have my reasons which I do not need to go into and nor will I apologise for who I am to anyone inclusive of smug married women who see fit to look down on me. Sadly prejudice will always exist and the only thing we can do is not care and worry about ourselves and our children. xxx

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Mon 13-May-13 02:14:43

Snoopy oh good, thought I might have gone off at a tangent with the archetype stuff!

Yes, I do get the pitying glances but would rather have them than the suspicious or blamey ones! I also can deal with them better, as I can turn it around to be pitying them for not realising how easily life can come crashing around your ears. So I can cope with it. If they think I got left cos it was my fault / I got fat & ugly / I drove him away etc... It makes me really really upset. If I get the suspicious looks and the you're rabidly after a man to fill the horrible void in my life I also get really upset... So it's the better of those 3 options for me whilst I lick my wounds and regroup.

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Mon 13-May-13 02:21:24

To the few people who are shocked and astonished that there is still meanness and stereotypes about single mums... It's not everywhere but it's definitely still around.

Friends from years ago are not like this, from school and Uni etc, are more open minded, or know me better, not sure which. It's acquaintences and newer friends. I got shunned and excluded by half my nct group, who id seen several times a week for a year. That really, really hurt.

equinox Mon 13-May-13 08:48:15

Well at least we have the guts to do it whereas many married women aren't happy with their partners, I would argue a good one third of them, and either cannot afford to turf them out and go it alone, or are too scared/not ready to take that step.....!

SnoopyLovesYou Mon 13-May-13 10:35:49

AvrilPoisson I didn't make a personal attack. I just told her to f&%! off because she suggested I am imagining all of my experiences shared here. It is also my own choice what language I wish to use. End of story.

SnoopyLovesYou Mon 13-May-13 10:42:40

DoubleLife haha! Yes it's similar groups of people for me here too that have been the worst culprits. Ah well!

SnoopyLovesYou Mon 13-May-13 10:45:21

Blackeyed Susan yes my home was definitely more 'broken' before but unfortunately he's still a greater influence than I'd like him to be in the children's lives... manipulating and brainwashing them... :-(

SnoopyLovesYou Mon 13-May-13 10:54:53

Yes C99 you are absolutely right. I am keeping so many balls in the air that I really shouldn't bother about these idiots and keep looking after my family

SnoopyLovesYou Mon 13-May-13 10:57:06

Thanks bohoec I'll remember that I'm a superhero in times of need. It's a shame there's noone around to cook a nice meal or make a cup of tea for this particular superhero ;-)

SnoopyLovesYou Mon 13-May-13 10:58:43

LouiseSmith what is a 'save file' anyway?

SnoopyLovesYou Mon 13-May-13 11:01:23

Girlie friend they are infuriating aren't they?? Honestly I just sometimes want to laugh in their smug faces! And then some of them will ask purposefully inflammatory or just insensitive questions.

SnoopyLovesYou Mon 13-May-13 11:05:51

Equinox you know I actually really feel sorry for those ones in those unhappy relationships with no guts to make the break!!!! Destined to years and years of misery. Trapped in unpleasant situations because they're not brave enough to change their lives and make things better. I feel so sorry for them that I wouldn't dare pity them. They've got enough on their plates! I'm so happy now to be single and able to do all the super-productive things I couldn't do when I was living with an abusive layabout :-D

equinox Mon 13-May-13 15:22:37

Yes you are right Snoopy I used to think that couples were lucky to have each other but over the past few years at school reading between the lines I have noticed a number of them can only be overcompromising ....

Wishing us all happy lives as single parents with our lovely children!

bohoec Mon 13-May-13 17:25:44

Ah. I know it's not the same, but here you go brew x

SnoopyLovesYou Mon 13-May-13 22:02:11

Yes happy lives for all of us indeed! :-D
And... you make a great cup of tea bohoec thanks for that ;-)

russetbella1000 Mon 13-May-13 22:39:43

Just a quickie...

I was single for the whole of my pregnancy (by choice-I did not think the father was worthy of my soon to be beautiful daughter...-he found responsibility tough...My daughter was too precious, no man is-I know not everyone thinks this)

I also attended NCT groups. I was the only single mother there, although my sister sometimes popped along. I will probably get shot for being so judgemental myself(we're all human) but I honestly felt most of them were much more 'emotionally vulnerable' than me. I think that they felt comfortable exactly because they were a couple and could not comprehend (possibly) how I could be comfortable because I was pregnant and single...The whole NCT idea is sometimes all about just being part of some middle-class club....In some respects I went along to deliberately prove a point I suppose, that I was actively choosing to do this and could be part of something if I wanted to. More women should do this too!

Don't act like a leper, educate people!

Of course they didn't actually say anything directly to me and of course everyone was nice enough...We still meet but no big friendships which is exactly what NCT is for (a certain amount of competitiveness helps cement the group-such a cynic)...Anyway, I am myself projecting here a bit but while I could understand where they were coming from (us all being 'conditioned products' of the same society) - so for example I could see practical benefits of two adults involved in the pregnancy-It could have irritated me, I suppose, that others could not also see different but still valid benefits of what I was doing in going it alone.

Neither situation is perfect but the superiority which some people think they can hold in certain situations is not only unfair but in some cases actually just wrong. I could go on about how fantastic it was to just have me and my baby to worry about/enjoy as I saw others rowing about who should get up and feed the baby etc...I felt lucky that I didn't have the expectation of the father which to be honest was far too high in most of the couples I witnessed and in fact was where resentment began to grow too...

I can only speak personally but I had an amazing pregnancy and birth because I chose to...I didn't believe anything anyone said but rather had my very own experience and it was wonderful. If some people want to concoct untruths about I might cope that's up to them-I mostly knew this was to make themselves feel better and if they need to think negatively about someone else to do that, I can't control that.

On another point I do think there's a danger of single parents themselves feeding the cliches. We need to be much more confident about saying how things are rather than agreeing with sometimes just untruths..
...Whoops that was actaully b****y long!

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Tue 14-May-13 00:23:16

I think it's a problem when the value of a person is wrongly equated to the situation they are in

Eg 'successful' middle class couple = highly valuable people
Single mother / broken up couple = failed in relationship = failed as a person

And there is also some kind of idea that striving = failing to be successful and effortless / seeming effortless success = naturally deserving (I have to say the current government echoes that sentiment very strongly)

Whereas a single mother doesn't even mean broken up couple anyway, and besides, I'm a bloody hero! smile

equinox Tue 14-May-13 12:38:22

I don't wish to get into political hot water too much but David Cameron is very pro marriage pro couple so his stance to families over and above single parent families is not helping matters much either.....!

Making us sound like the social vermin of modern society somewhat hurrumph.

Fairygen Tue 14-May-13 16:37:59

Unfortunately, I think sometimes other single parents are our worst enemies! There used to be a mum at school who was like a whirlwind, rushing here, there, everywhere, because she was soooo busy and had sooo much to do because she was a single parent, (and didn't everyone know it!!)

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