5 Things NOT to Say to a Single Mother

single mothers
I know you mean well, but…

It’s Father’s Day today, a happy day for those of you out there who can celebrate your wonderful fathers and husbands.  Unfortunately, I can’t do either of those things because I lost my Dad in 2008 and I left my husband in 2009.  (I’m still looking for a Sugar Daddy in 2011.  Ba-dump-bump!)  But seriously, folks…

Father’s Day can be kind of a strange day for single mothers, us overworked, often underpaid women who care for kids, some with co-parents and some without.  I get a lot of well-meaning comments from friends about my single-with-child status, but they don’t always come off as well as they’re intended to.  So I thought I’d continue in the “5 Things NOT to say” tradition established by my earlier post about how to talk to the parent of a preemie – riffing off this great list of 10 Things Never to Say to a Mom by Ellen Seidman – and give you five things you should avoid saying to a single lady with a baby:

  • I don’t know how you do it. 1 of 5
    I don't know how you do it.
    I think this is supposed to be a compliment (?), but it definitely always comes across as a backhanded one. Whether you mean it this way or not, it sounds like you're saying, "Dude, if I had to go through everything you do, I'd punch myself in the face." In all likelihood, you probably mean, "Wow, I really admire how brilliant you are at your work and how effortlessly you balance a career with your loving dedication to your child." If so, feel free to say that as many times as you want. Photo via Flickr.
  • Where’s your kid? 2 of 5
    Where's your kid?
    Gee, thanks for asking! I was wondering that myself. Have you seen her? Last I knew I left her at the laundromat to finish up our loads while I went to the bar to have a drink. I hope she comes home soon. That was last Tuesday. If my daughter is not with me, she's with another responsible adult. Would you rather she be here with me at this comedy show/business meeting/topless lesbian mud-wrestling championship? (I think I stole that last one from "The L Word." Nobody ever asked Bette and Tina where their kid was. It was like she never existed!) Photo via Flickr.
  • If you ever need a sitter, let me know! 3 of 5
    If you ever need a sitter, let me know!
    Please. PLEASE. Do not volunteer to babysit for a single mother and then turn her down every time she tries to take you up on the offer. That's like dangling a cupcake in front of a diabetic. It's just cruel. No need to be nice! If you can't fit babysitting into your schedule, just don't mention it! Photo via Flickr.
  • Have you lost weight? 4 of 5
    Have you lost weight?
    No. Nope. I haven't. I'm still the same size I've always been, it's just that some clothes fit me better than others. Everyone loves a compliment, but try to phrase it a different way. "You look great," is perfect. "Have you lost weight?" is a reminder of society's rigid standards of beauty and that I'll never find a man who loves me just the way I am. Not that I ever think that. I mean, with a face like this, who's noticing a little extra on my waist? (Hopefully no one...) Eyes up here, fellas! Look at my boooooobs! (Thanks for those, kid.) Photo via Flickr.
  • There’s no pay, but this is great exposure. 5 of 5
    There's no pay, but this is great exposure.
    This one may be specific to the creative community, but substitute the words "volunteer opportunity" for exposure if you need to. Thanks anyway, but yeah, I'm not into free exposure anymore, sorry. Unless I can find a babysitter who accepts free exposure, you better pay me for my services. (I tried feeding my kid exposure once, she said it tasted bitter.) Single women see their incomes drop by 2% four years after divorce compared to their ex-husbands, who see a 20% salary increase. So, to avoid becoming a statistic, the only unpaid exposure I want to be involved with at this point is the kind you sometimes get at the end of a really nice date. Photo via Flickr.

Main photo via Flickr


Article Posted 5 years Ago

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