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A mum at my sons school said to me today in a patronising way i might add, i dont know how you cope on you own...

(35 Posts)
mumnotarobot Fri 10-Jul-09 19:02:28

I cant understand why its bothering me but i just cant seem to shake it off. I answered her and said just because im a single parent doesnt mean i should be pulling out my hair.
And it helps that my son is fantastic and i have a great family.
But i found the way she said it so rude, and if im honest judgmental. What do you think?
Is it just me? Because parenting has it moments but i would never say to someone i dont know how you cope.
Perharps she felt that because i was a lone parent my son would look unkept.

RealityIsMyOnlyDelusion Fri 10-Jul-09 19:04:27

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RealityIsMyOnlyDelusion Fri 10-Jul-09 19:05:17

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ChasingSquirrels Fri 10-Jul-09 19:08:01

maybe she doesnt feel she is coping, and she has a partner, so is in awe of you.
Either way - don't let it bother you.

RealityIsMyOnlyDelusion Fri 10-Jul-09 19:09:27

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dizzydixies Fri 10-Jul-09 19:09:38

maybe she's not coping and she's looking for some advice

I get told that all the time but I think its because I look like a right state and am always late/unorganised etc

piscesmoon Fri 10-Jul-09 19:12:32

I don't think you should analyse these comments-she was just trying to be nice.

mellifluouscauliflower Fri 10-Jul-09 19:16:05

I would have thought it was meant as a compliment. I guess she won't try that again!

Mamazon Fri 10-Jul-09 19:18:08

i once replied to the same comment with "its easy because my child isn't a brat like yours"

i must admit i had had the worst day and i did apologise, a lot, later.

mostly i think they are just trying to be supportive and nice. it is patronising but its just one of those things you learn to live with

OrangeFish Fri 10-Jul-09 19:19:23

If it makes you feel better, I invited 2 kids to play with DS after school, the mother of one came to talk to me and told me she was not happy about me inviting the other one, first she talked about bullying, then complained the other child was a single child who had no idea how to relate to other children in groups, and finished by saying "He is a child with no father!" then reminding I'm also a single mum, she said "I mean, a child with no father presence", burbled out things about protecting her child from the other child who is a tiny delightful thing. I told her that if she was so bothered I wouldn't think bad of her if she changed her mind at allowing her child to come to my house.

And the children played nicely all the afternoon.. both children are lovely, if anything hers is a tad sensitive but still a lovely boy... the mother however... mighty %&!

I was so stressed up when it happened, that I decided to make the huge effort not to think about it, and with a cold mind decided I didn't need to please/convince/whatever such nasty people that our family situation is not a bad one... especially as I could see so clearly that even with a husband, perfect children, and career.... well, she is still a miserable unhappy woman. So, in my mind, I looked down on her and went to spoil my single child with no father absolutely rotten grin

mumnotarobot Fri 10-Jul-09 19:25:00

,elli... i didnt show offense, infact i wasnt at first. But it later did play on my mind. I guess its not what was said but how it was said. I wont loose sleep over it, but i dont hear her asking one of the married mums the same question. I get the some other parents paying me an outright compliment on my son and the fact that im raising him alone and i assume thats more direct, and no hidden meaning. Which i think is great.
If anything, there was no positive comments backed with her patronising comment.
(maybe hormones are playing into this thread) lol who knows

mumnotarobot Fri 10-Jul-09 19:28:50

Ofish, omg. are you serious. What a crappy thing to say to someone. What makes some of these married mums thinks they have the better end of the deal?

bran Fri 10-Jul-09 19:45:14

I've come to the conclusion that most judgey comments that people make about other people are actually about themselves. As Chasingsquirrels said perhaps she feels that she doesn't cope as well as you do, that she wouldn't if she were alone or possibly she even fears that she might be a lone parent in the future and wouldn't cope.

FWIW I find life more difficult when dh is away and wouldn't fancy having to do it all on my own without him forever. It doesn't mean that I'm surprised that others do cope very well with lone parenthood, just that I don't think I would.

mumnotarobot Fri 10-Jul-09 19:49:21

Thanks for your honesty bran. I know what you mean. But its like i always say. You dont miss what youve never had. Some lone parents have been lone from the get go and others have have lone thrust upon them. The saddest ones i find are the ones that arent actually lone, but might as well be. Cos they are bringing the kids up alone although dh is there.(but not) if you get my drift.

OrangeFish Fri 10-Jul-09 22:54:28

Yes, that's the thing, how many married lone parents are there? I bet many mums are already single parents in practice. I was one of them, and didn't notice until ex and I split.

And, against my expectations, being a single parent was easier than being married (I still have all the responsibility but one less person to take care of, iykwim)

hatesponge Fri 10-Jul-09 23:14:45

OF, know exactly what you mean - my life now is much easier as have realised I have far less housework washing etc as 2 DC generate significantly less washing & mess than 1 Ex.

OP, these sort of comments are par for the course I'm afraid - when I was pregnant (& on my own) with DS1, and after he was born, I used to get the 'How DO you manage?' stuff all the time - as though I was doing some amazing, death defying feat, like going over niagra falls in a barrel or something hmm

Then, when I was with Ex, I used to get the comment in relation to the fact I worked full time- 'How do you cope?' etc. Plus the assumption that I managed this by having LOTS of help at home from Ex....when in reality he never did a thing, whether around house or for the boys!

poorbuthappy Fri 10-Jul-09 23:21:23

I think its a comfort zone thing...I have a 4 year old and 7 month old twins and people regularly say the same thing to me.

But its not just people who I don't know...its people who i know slightly (so not close friends who have been through it all with me), but for example other school mums.
There are 2 mums with twins in the same year, and when we queuing together to pick up eldests dds 1 mum said to us that the rest of the mums had utmost respect for both of us because of us coping with 2 at the same time!
We looked at each other and said at the same time, well you cope because you have to! You can't just look after 1 and hope the other 1 will muddle through!

(sorry for rant!!) - so I think its the same principle, you cope because you have to and to you (and me) its normal...and we can't imagine it any other way...

Meglet Fri 10-Jul-09 23:23:09

I really don't know how I cope sometimes. It's bloody relentless.

I haven't had anyone comment on my lone parent status yet though.

trixymalixy Sat 11-Jul-09 00:05:18

I think she was probably just trying to be nice as well.

I have to say that when my DH started working away I found it so hard and kept thinking how much harder it would be to be a single parent as at least DH saw back sometimes. Maybe her DH has been away and it got her thinking, hence the comment.

KingCanuteIAm Sat 11-Jul-09 00:19:53

A former teacher of my dc (and soon to be teacher of my younger dd) once said to me "I do worry for your children...well, I worry about them... Imean, I worry about you..." before running off a little shame faced. I took from that (as she was not a current teacher of ours) that stories had been crossing classrooms and this teacher was the only one who had put their foot in it by saying what they all thought. In this case I had walked through the school door as the dc walked out (so technically late because parents are expected to be there 5 mins before the dc leave IYSWIM) but not actually late as ds had not exited the classroom yet.

I replied "so do I" smiled nicely and walked away head held high. I made it to the car before I started to sob.

That day I decided I had to grow a thicker skin. To be fair to the teacher, I know she was going through some really tough stuff (we had the same lawyer) and she was probably being sympathetic - badly. Things like that still get to me but I am better at hiding it as well as better at realising when it is the speakers problem, not mine. Sometimes you have to make a decision about how much guilt/blame/implied inadequacy you are prepared to take and work very hard at ignoring people, easier said than done at first but it does get easier over time.

MiniMarmite Sat 11-Jul-09 09:58:32

I think people generally mean statements like the one in the OP as compliments (and I also agree with Bran that they are probably judging themselves unfavourably against you).

I think what they really mean is 'I know if I were in any number of situations I would do a great job because I would have to, but I can see that you are doing just that and I respect you for it'.

Maybe that is patronising and judgey too, I don't know but I'm sure that is not the intention. I think we're (culturally) not very good at giving people 'praise' in the way that we would like it to be received.

bronze Sat 11-Jul-09 10:06:12

Not a single parent but have it said to me (4 young children) I take it as a compliment and think 'you really don't know what I'm like at bedtime do you'
I would probably say it to someone else who I felt managed better than me under possibly more difficult circumstaces (for example not having a partner to share the burden) it would be a compliment from me because I sometimes feel I can't cope with support so how do people do it without that support.
I won't bother anymore

allaboutme Sat 11-Jul-09 10:13:25

I'm sure I've said this to people before.
I always mean it in a 'I dont know how I'd cope in your situation' way.
Definitely a reflection on the person who said it rather than you and of course a compliment as you are obviously coping much better than they imagine they would!

SlartyBartFast Sat 11-Jul-09 10:19:29

i said this blush
but not in a patronising voice, to a mother of 4, oh and to a mother of 3 whose dh shared his life between the family home and that of his gf

SlartyBartFast Sat 11-Jul-09 10:20:42

and the first one's retort was, it is better to have No husband than a Bad one.

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