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does anyone else feel they get treated diffrently now they are single mums?

(42 Posts)
emz83 Fri 05-Sep-08 13:53:26

hi am new to mumsnet! my family support worker told me about it after i finally decided to stand up to my violent ex p and raise my ds and dd on my own. im 24 and was with my ex for 6 yrs and when we were together no one seemed bothered that i was a young mum but since i left him almost a year ago my friends have drifted away and new people i meet are lovely until a tell them im a f/t single mum, has this happened to anyone else?

allgonebellyup Fri 05-Sep-08 14:01:30

hmm, not really, but you do find people looking at you with such pity in their eyes, well i find that.

Katiekins83 Fri 05-Sep-08 14:44:14

hi! i sometimes find that people watch what they say around you, but if the friends have drifted it doesnt seem that they were real friend to begin with...time to find new ones!

it must be very strange after all that time, but try and put a positive spin on things and look at it as a new start for both you and Dcs, do somethings you want to do. im now about to go into the final year of my dont let anyone elses opinions count.

you and i are the same age...the world is yours!

MascaraOHara Fri 05-Sep-08 14:58:22

I was 24 when I had my dd so not paricuarly 'young' I been on my own with her since she was 6months, my choice.

I find that I did get judgemental looks sometimes but just ignore them and carry on regardless.. without sounding patornising I often think it's the age rather than the fatc you are on your own.. people naturally make assumptions/judgements but if you just be yourself people soon realise that they were too quick to judge.

I'm 30 now and have a successful career.

People can judge harshly just hold your head high and be proud of your achievements.

I'm very open about the fact I am, single parent.. I don't hide it like it's something to be ashamed of, it isn't..

I'm proud when I look at my dd and her achievements and I know I can look at her and think "I did that"


JodieG1 Fri 05-Sep-08 15:49:01

I've only been single for about a month now but I've noticed the pity looks too. Even my dad asked how I was getting on and when I said I was fine and doing well he replied with well I couldn't be fine. I really am though and so much happier than I was before.

I have 3 dc's aged 6.7, 4.11 and 20 months and I was with my husband for 10 years, married for nearly 7.

JodieG1 Fri 05-Sep-08 15:49:34

Forgot to say that I'm 29.

SpandexIsMyEnemy Fri 05-Sep-08 16:05:52

I choose not to tell them tbh - it's my private business. I think folks assume that XH works away a lot as he comes here every other w.e to see hte boy -0 what they don't see is me leaving while he's here thou.

it does annoy me sometimes - but then I think well I never asked for this - so make the best of it.

AMAZINWOMAN Fri 05-Sep-08 16:33:15

One of my work colleagues looks down upon single parents as she has just got married (she has no kids) She is very judgemental, and looks down on me, as it makes her feel good. But that's her problem, that she is son insecure in herself she has to compare herself to others.

Most people though admire me for it. A professional recently said to me, "I hold my hat out to you"

emz83 Fri 05-Sep-08 17:02:02

Thanks so much, i am proud of the fact that i am raising my kids alone and so far im doing really well but sometimes it gets to me when people give me funny looks, i left my ex because of violence and it isn't easy but i am so much happier in myself. I just wish people would get to know me before they made judgements against me!

SmugColditz Fri 05-Sep-08 17:07:38

I am 28, a single mother, live on a council estate, and yes, I do get treated differently. Noticably different to the way I was treated when exP was here.

I went to a MN meet once, and the first question out of one woman's mouth was "What does your partner do?"

it was fairly soon after the breakup, and I just blurted "I don't have a partner".

Faces froze. I don't know whether it was dismay at the faux pas or dismay at finding a Single Mother in their midst, but I felt awful. It's too easy to feel judged when you feel isolated already.

LittleDorrit Fri 05-Sep-08 22:35:33

Yes, I do feel that some people look on me with pity. I guess it's probably all tied up with my loss of confidence too, and how I perceive people see.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about this issue, and I think it's the difference between comments from people which express their empathy (that is, comments which show that people may understand your difficult situation and want to show you their support) and comments which purport to offer "sympathy" but are really quite smug and superior...

emz83 Fri 05-Sep-08 22:44:52

i know exactly what you mean thats exactly what i was talking about, i have been in a few situations just lately where ive met new people and as soon as i mention that im on my own with 2 kids and that my ds is almost 5 the looks on their faces, it makes me feel almost ashamed but then i look at my kids and i just think i dont care but deep down it hurts. i always wanted the fairytale life and here i am, at 24 on my own with 2 kids. at end of day i didnt ask for things to turn out the way they have and im trying my hardest to make things better for me and my kids. It isnt easy walking away from domestic violence and the last thing i need right now is people judging me!

bethoo Fri 05-Sep-08 22:45:27

i havent noticed tbh but then i am too happy being a single parent to notice smile
alot of my mates admire me as they say they couldnt do it on their own.

mypandasgotcrabs Fri 05-Sep-08 22:48:03

When I first split with xp I was expecting the looks, the comments etc, but I really haven't found that at all.

He was never really around much anyway (he was here, but was too stoned/interested in his mates to bother with us), so I was often out with the boys on my own anyway.

I've recently got back in contact with a lot of old friends that I had drifted away from over the years (one in particular that I actually emailed & told her I no longer wanted to be friends with shock).

I'm also a lot more confident than I was a year ago, and can now strike up conversations with random people when I'm out which I never would have done before.

Maybe I'm going off on a tangent here, but what I think I'm trying to say is that since splitting I've got more friends, speak to strangers a lot more easily & have really never found anyone looking down on me because I'm a single parent. I think that is because of my outlook on it, I'm happy, confident, my children are happy & (when in public!!!) brilliantly behaved.

At ds1's old school, I was actually the only single parent in the whole year (it was only a small school, but of 22 children, he was the only one from a single parent family) adn didn't find that difficult at all.

stripeymama Fri 05-Sep-08 22:52:47


I am a sitting duck for games of political football.

I am a drain on the taxpayer if I stay at home to raise my child, and a Bad Mother raising a sociopath if I work full time.

I am feckless and irresponsible. Oh and lazy.

Mind you I'm sure I deserve it seeing as I am obviously Not Good Enough to keep a man.


stripeymama Fri 05-Sep-08 22:54:25

Actually I enjoy it btw and would never ever want the git back. I am just being belligerent tonight [pmt]

Among my family and friends I feel I get treated with plenty of respect, and they are the people whose attitudes really matter.

oldraver Sat 06-Sep-08 00:41:39

I have found on several occasions people including those who have known me a while ask me ..."how do you manage for money" I'm not sure if this is a way to find out if I'm 'sponging' or what.

I mean would you ask financial questions of a non single parent ??

solidgoldbrass Sat 06-Sep-08 01:16:26

Well I have found in the past (I was not young when I had DS) that people were a bit funny about me being single. Quite a lot of (stupid) people think that couplehood is a natural state.
Remember that anyone who treats you differently because you are a single parent is a fucking idiot, quite possibly one with insecurities about his/her own precious couple status.

allgonebellyup Sat 06-Sep-08 07:53:42

too true, solidgold.

i have a friend who i hadnt spoken to for ages, so plucked up the courage to ask her for a night out (with one other girl), she said thanks, but no thanks, i only really go out with other couples these days!

Seems since ive been on my own she doesnt want much to do with me.

And whats that wankerish saying ive heard that some women find single mothers/women a threat, ie they are predatory and planning to flirt/take away someone elses husband?
what a load of shite.

solidgoldbrass Sat 06-Sep-08 09:27:19

AGBU: some women are that stupid. Mind you some men are just as bad - they think that 'single' women must be desperate for sex and will therefore drop their knickers for any man who asks.
I have always had a mix of single and coupled friend - even though most of them are childfree I still manage to socialise with them, but don't really do the making-friends-with-other-parents thing as many of them do seem to be a bit tediously couple-obsessed.

singledadofthree Sat 06-Sep-08 10:02:17

have had a mix of responses over the years - pity, social leper, drain on society (as i should have left them with ex and gone back to work), but the best is still seeing the cogs turning and the thoughts 'shit, how bad must you be for her to clear off without them?'

beansmum Sat 06-Sep-08 10:14:40

I have always been single, so have nothing to compare with, but I have noticed that I don't get invited on girly nights out, I suppose people assume I can't get a babysitter. It is difficult, but if I had a bit of warning I could sort something out. Or maybe they just don't like me much.

ShyBaby Sat 06-Sep-08 12:38:03

Not sure what to compare it to really.

Before I was a single parent I was a young parent. I always found people were shocked that we had two cars, a mortgage on a brand new house and two full time jobs! They actually used to assume I was one of those single mums and their attitude towards me would change drastically by the end of the conversation.

Sometimes when I get into a conversation with someone through work say (suppliers/customers) and we're chatting about kids, they always tend to assume im married and the silence at the other end of the phone is embarrassing when I reveal that actually, I dont have a partner.

One thing I have noticed is that face to face people seem to be much more forthcoming with their opinions on parenting than they would be if I were part of a two parent family. They seem to think that they should be giving me advice because im obviously clueless about raising kids. Ive been in a room where colleagues have openly been discussing feckless single mums on benefit and I have reminded them that before I worked there I was claiming benefit for a while and they only have a snapshot of someone's life. "Oh but we dont mean people like you". Well yes actually you do mean people like me.

One colleague made a remark that there is never any excuse for an accidental pregnancy. I reminded her that A: Married women can get pregnant accidentally for all sorts of reasons, B: A single parent's child was not necessarily conceived accidentally and they weren't necessarily always a single parent!

I then went off into my own office as it was a conversation I didn't wish to explore further. She later came in and asked if she had upset me. Truth was, she hadn't because im used to attitudes like that. As a parting shot I nicely reminded her that it was not so long ago she was doing a pregnancy test in the toilet. It wasn't mentioned again!

SmugColditz Sun 07-Sep-08 10:10:08

oldraver has made an interesting point. Ds1 started recption last year, and as usual I had to say the w3ords "Actually his dad and I don't live together."

And so many people asked me how I pay my rent, how I manage, do I ever get to go out, and I found it very uncomfortable and intrusive. These were people who would normally never be so rude - I certainly didn't notice them asking anyone else how hard it was financially when they were pregnant - the presumption being I have always been single.

I mentioned once that I used to have a dishwasher. "HOw on earth did you afford that!!!?"

Er... we were a double income houshold with one child, low rent and no car. We had what we wanted!

And it made me angry. they saw a snapshot of my life and the had written themselves a Daily Mail article on what happened. They are nice people, but their brains are divided into boxes. I have been firmly put in the "Young single mother with no job" box - if they'd known me 3 years ago, well, my life wasn't like that. They'd have seen a nice couple (because the older partner's age does kind of mask the younger's) with a nice little boy and another on the way, both working in nice little jobs.

I'm still the same person.

PersephoneSnape Sun 07-Sep-08 10:53:38

if anything i find that people don't really discuss it around me because they don't want to get into an argument they will lose

one thing i have found is that some people - particularly female childless bosses have absolutely NO idea of the energy that i have to find to bring up three children single handed, deal with their dad and work full time and that there are never any allowances made for me not wanting to excell at work, but to do the minimum to get by. My energies are directed towards my children, my work keeps a roof over our heads but I'm not evangelical about it - although i sometimes suspect that these women are probably similarly disenchanted with women who have children and who are in relationships. I do get the feeling that life would be a lot simpler for them if I didn't work. never mind, eh?

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