You’ve probably heard it before – “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” It’s a cute nursery rhyme we learn as kids, but as we grow up, we quickly learn words do hurt. They can even hurt more than sticks and stones.
Being a single mother often invites unsolicited comments and opinions from others.
While some comments may come from a genuine place, they can be internalized negatively by a single mother.
Of course every single mom’s reactions will be different, but generally speaking, here are seven things you should never say to a single mother:
1. “You picked him!”
It usually goes something like this – “stop complaining about your baby daddy, you picked him!” While there is some truth to this statement, single moms are not 100% at fault. Truth is, few women willingly sign up for the role of single mom. Most didn’t knowingly pick a dead beat dad. They picked someone they thought would be a great father and provider. They picked someone they thought would be loyal to them or at the very least, be loyal to the child that was a product of the relationship. [tweetthis]Most single moms didn’t knowingly pick a dead beat dad. #singlemom #realtalk[/tweetthis]
2. “You should have thought about this before you had kids.”
There’s usually never a good context for this statement. After all, the child is already here. No single mother should be made to feel as though having her child was a mistake. What she needs is either your support or silence. Cliche yes, but if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all should still be the golden rule. [tweetthis]Single moms don’t need to be made to feel as though her child was a mistake.[/tweetthis]
3. “You look tired (or stressed)”
No woman ever appreciates hearing this whether she’s a married or a single mom. While you may be genuinely concerned about her what she’s probably hearing is you think she looks bad. Instead, try offering a listening ear or volunteering to help out with errands. Surprise her with dinner or offer to babysit while she gets some rest.
4. “At least you don’t have to share custody”
You’re right, I’m in a much better position that my child’s parent is completely absent from their life. It’s better to have to explain to him/her when they grow up why that parent was never around. It’s better that I don’t have to miss out on parenting time because he/she is forming a bond with the other parent and their side of the family…Need I say more?
5. “At least you have weekends off”
Just like other moms, weekends aren’t a real day off. It’s a 48 hour window to play catch up and prepare for the week ahead. Even if our kids aren’t around there’s usually not a lot of sleep or relaxation involved. We’re still in full mommy mode as we try to get as much done as possible before our child comes back home.
6. “Where’s your child’s father?”
This can be a sensitive topic for a lot of single moms. Some may be more willing than others to discuss it in great detail. Instead of asking, let her be the one to bring up that conversation. Then follow her lead and never try to pry the details out of her.
7. “Why is your child gone all the time?”
You may be unaware of it but some co-parents have a court mandated visitation agreement. It’s a legally binding document that both parents must adhere to. Typically these agreements cannot be altered without having to file a petition through the family court system. While you may miss seeing her child around for family events or special occasions, believe me, no one misses them more than the actual parent!
I know in today’s culture, keeping it real and being unfiltered when it comes to our speech is the new norm. While you may have the right to say whatever is on your mind, doesn’t mean you should always be so quick to exercise that right.[tweetthis]While u may have the right to say whatever is on your mind doesn’t mean u should[/tweetthis]
You never know how your words could damage or hurt someone. Paul said it best in the book of James:
Imagine how much better our world would be; how many friendships and relationship would be still intact, how many fewer misunderstandings there would be, if we were to just follow this simple rule.
Share your thoughts: What do you wish people would stop saying to you as a single mother or what slip-ups have you made in the past?
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