Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Dear Married Moms: Be Nice To Me

Posted by Anonymous.

I've had these words buried in me for years. After a recent postcard was posted on the Post secret website I have found myself choking to spit them out like a cat hacking on a hairball. If you have ever been a single mom you will get this. If not, take this as a plea from one woman to another.

I'm a suburban single mom. The choice to stay in our home after the divorce was easy. I felt it would be best for my kids. The schools are better here; the kids had been through enough. In other words while he moved on with a clean slate I remained at the scene of the crime. My neighbor actually asked pre-divorce who was getting the house. They wanted to know who their neighbor would be. I became the only single parent in my neighborhood and to my own detriment I carried on with a stiff upper lip. I might have as well developed the plague. I was not talked to but talked about. It will blow over, I thought. Ten years have passed it hasn't.

Here's where my plea comes in: married moms, be kind to me. I am just a mom like you. I am trying to juggle all the things your family does with half of the resources. I come home from work cook and try to help with homework, clean and do laundry. If I have a bad day I'm not able to tag team and get a break. It's just me. Just me to guide, feed and love these precious people I have been entrusted with. It's scary and hard as hell. If my child ends up on Dr. Phil someday it surely must be my fault. I am the custodial parent. I don't choose to be the only mom at the Cub Scout camp-outs; I just don't want my son to miss out on these things because his dad can't be bothered with them. I've yet to figure out if you find me a threat, or just a reminder that your dreams of happily ever after could fall apart in the blink of an eye just like mine did. Either way your cold shoulders hurt and they work. My son senses it and no longer wants to be in the cub scouts. It probably would have been easier to just sell my house and start over in the city where single parent homes are the majority. I wouldn't have had to hear from my mailman that it is confusing having “so many names” on our box since I chose to take my maiden name back. I wouldn't sit through an entire little league game with only a couple of the grandmas talking to me. We are all women, trying to navigate the rocks and holes life has scattered in our paths. Why not help each other along the way? In the end we will probably outlive our mates. In the nursing homes we are all single moms - some of us just got there sooner than others.

29 comments:

Daniel's Mom said...

I hereby promise that I will always be nice to you and will sometimes even envy you. Sheesh. Sometimes if feels like we're all still hanging in a middle school girls' bathroom, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine what's wrong with people. If I were there, I'd be offering to take your kids for a couple hours so you could get a break. I've got a good friend who's a single mom, and I hope she never has to experience this. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

What the hell? I am a married woman and I can't imagine behaving this way. I'm so sorry you and your son have had to go through this.

Lily said...

Wow. I also can't believe people can behave like this. I bet they all head off to church in their SUVs on Sunday too (I also go to church, just find the hypocrisy a bit galling). So sorry you have to go through this. You sound like a committed, caring Mum who should be admired not ignored.

Rachael said...

First of all, WTH about the mailman? It's not that hard, and LOTS of houses have multiple names in them with roommates or hyphens or whatever. I dunno, that just sticks in my craw for some reason.

I have a great respect for single Moms like you because I think in most cases, the reason for the split was reasonable and was probably what was best for the whole family, including the kids. Not to mention the fact that I have a husband who is fairly active in our kids lives and being a parent is still HARD! I think it takes a great strength to do it by yourself.

I'm sorry that you have to put up with other people acting like jerks and making judgements. (hugs)

A Skin Bag for Jesus! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ali said...

I've found it amazing at the school gates when people are all fine and chatty and after a couple of weeks or so they realize you're a single mum and suddenly the chats get a little more cold and a little more forced. Sucks doesn't it?

Some women should just grow up and get on with their own lives instead of bothering so much about everyone elses.

A Skin Bag for Jesus! said...

I obviously didn't proof the comment I left ealier... so I decided to delete and start all over again. :)

I'm sorry, too, that people treat you like they do. People can be mean and I don't understand it. That's not the way it ought to be. I'm sorry that those that should be helping and encouraging you are doing the opposite. I'm really sorry. I have two sisters (one divorced, one a widow) and friends that are wearing the same shoes that you are. It's unexceptable. I am sorry. Please accept my apology for those that don't know what it is that they do. I'll pray for you... and for God to change them. Plus, I'll try harder myself to go the extra mile with those that could use it! Hugs, my friend. I hope it makes you a better person instead of a more bitter one.

Love to you from someone who really does care.

Lori said...

I am a single mom too. And the judgy judgy types are apparently everywhere. If I were in you neighborhood we'd sit down to a glass of wine and be a force to be reckoned with! Remeber that your children are happy and thriving. The best revenge is a life well-lived.

Anonymous said...

I go out of my way to help the single mom on my block. She has 3 kids and she's really young, and somehow she's managed to finish high school and college and get her nursing degree - working nights so that she can be there for her kids. I admire the heck out of her. My shit was NOT that together when I was 25.

My parents divorced when I was 12, and my dad was no help at all, so I really feel for her.

Anyway, at least you know there's one of us married moms in the world, trying to help one of you single moms. I hope it helps a little. And there's a house for sale in our neighborhood, if you're looking. :)

Amy from West Lafayette, IN

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for your experience. I applaud you for doing such a wonderful thing for your kids, even if those asshole neighbors were too shallow to embrace you. You are definitely someone for your kids to be proud of, and if I find myself in a similar situation, I how I can handle it with as much maturity and dignity as you clearly have. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

* hope.....damn keyboard!!!!

Anonymous said...

wow, I have no idea why people would treat you that way. I was divorced (not a mom) and now I'm remarried and I can in no way think of a situation where I would treat someone else like that.

What is wrong with people!!!! I am so sorry that they are treating you like this...ridiculous!

Mbdiamond said...

I don't get that either... there are several single moms at our kids' school - and two on our hockey team... they're two of my favorite parents there and the ones I prefer to spend my time with. Not all married mom's have a stick up their butt - too bad it doesn't sound like you have any fair ones near you.

EileenJay said...

My mom was a single parent for a while and I know all too well how hard it can be for a single mom and her children.
Shame on those women who have given you the cold shoulder. It makes my blood steam just to read your words. I wonder if you were tight with them when you were married?

Either way, no bother, cause now you know they're not your kind of ladies.

Sorry you're being subjected to this weird stigma, which SO MANY families endure. Just keep on pressing through.

Be well,
Eileen.

Anonymous said...

I totally see your reasoning for staying where you are. The children didn't need more instability. It is a shame what has happened to you. People forget that when children are involved, they are the priority. It doesn't matter who is raising them as long as it is a safe, loving home. People need to band together to optimize the child's situation. Put aside petty issues for the child's sake. The kids happiness and well being far outweigh who's name you use. I don't know why people have so much trouble with that. I kept my maiden name when I got married and it confuses the heck out of people.
Someone close to me is getting divorced because his wife is mentally ill and it is the best course of action. He still loves her and she sees the kids.. I have had to struggle with my inner feelings. She hurt someone I care about so I was angry and not forgiving at first. As I work on it I find myself having more compassion for her and want to help her if I can. That is the person I want to be. I can actually see the change in my attitude and it feels good.
I am sorry that you are in such a rough situation. It is those other people's loss that they don't get to help your children grow or help you with your struggles.
Please hang in there. Good luck and stay strong. You and your children can easily rise to a higher level of life than your petty neighbors.

RNW said...

Women behaving badly. Why do we sabotage ourselves and each other over and over? We could be each others strongest allies and supporters - why do we resort to backbiting, criticizing, competition? Let's not do this anymore. Okay?

Jaelithe said...

I'm so sorry to hear about what happened to you. I was raised mostly by my mom after my parents' divorce. I think single moms are amazing, and I never forget how lucky I am to have a partner in this childrearing gig.

I hope you eventually find a new group of friends.

Kat said...

Oh, God...still? This is how it was when I was a single mom. Cub scout meetings were endless, and the condescending bullshit from the married moms...I'm sorry you're suffering through it. It was so hard sometimes not to just blurt out "Why the hell would you think I want YOUR husband, is he really such a prize?". And the men were just as bad.

LeisaHammett said...

Bless you. I just found HerBadMother's basement as of yesterday when I heard her speak again at this year's Blissdom blogging conference. My experiences have not been as brutal as yours, in fact, with few exceptions I've been treated very kindly. But, I do understand this and I'm glad you spoke up and I will share in a social media site I moderate.

Anonymous said...

What ever you do, keep your chin up and your heart open. Don't let the bastards keep you down.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you are surrounded by crappy people in your neighborhood. I truly don't understand how mean people can be. I'm happy to say that one of my best friends in my neighborhood happens to be a recently divorced single mom, and she and her son come over all the time to hang out with us.

Sara said...

Arrgh! What is *wrong* with some moms? I'm not a single mom, but I am a mom with a full-time job outside the home. Apparently that's just as bad as being single. ;) I ran, crying out of a "women's ministry event" at my church once because working moms were being blamed for the downfall of society. It was brutal. I'm sorry you're having experiences like that, too.

Anonymous said...

Thanks all for your love and support and thanks to The Basement for letting me vent. Please keep paying it forward there are a lot of us out there.

Anonymous said...

Hugs from another single mom. In my case I was a high-profile "professional volunteer" type in a wealthy neighborhood; my divorce was as ugly as possible and included my ex's arrest and mental breakdown. Having to hold my head high through all that AND find a way to support three kids after he walked was hard enough, but the ostracism made it so so much harder than it ever had to be. I don't know why it should be so, but you're not imagining it...I am terribly sorry, it affects the kids as much as it does us.

Anonymous said...

I was raised by a hell of a single mom. Why anyone would ostracize someone doing the hardest job in the world is beyond me, but your kids are going to be amazing. They'll know what struggle and sacrifice mean, they'll know to be compassionate to those who are "different." They'll know they can survive outside of a bad relationship. You are a hero, and maybe even a big enough person to help out all these smug married women when they, too, become divorcees. As fifty percent of them will.

Supa Dupa Fresh said...

Widows cope with the same shit. I'm sorry you have to feel it to0.

What widows tend to do is drop all our old friends, move, get new careers eventually when we can, and in my case, remarry (in many other cases, file for bankruptcy). Those people in that neighborhood just don't deserve you and you deserve to be surrounded with people who at least have the chance to appreciate your talents, humor, and unique perspective. Even from this short piece I can tell you're cool.

SELL!!! And I'll talk to you in the nursing home...

Anonymous said...

It's hard for me to imagine that there are actual people out there who would do that. Being a single mother would be harder than a woman being able to have their spouse help. Please be strong, and keep your head up.

Anonymous said...

I can't thank you enough for posting this. I am a newly single mom and have been absolutely blown away by the insensitivity. I am a professional woman trying to hold it together. I see people look at my daughter, look me up and down, stare at my empty ring finger... You are right. Unless you have gone through it, you can't possibly imagine. It is cruel. My daughter was reduced to tears today under similar circumstances to those you describe which is what got me to start searching the internet to see if I was alone. Yes I'm a single mom - but one who works hard, put herself through graduate school and supports the kids alone -- people assume however that I must be one of "those" women. The divorce was hard enough, but I have to say this part of it has been much worse. I read your words and wanted to stand up and applaud. Just some common decency... if not for the single moms, how about for the little ones standing right next to them who know EXACTLY what those offhanded comments that people make mean. Thank you so much for your post.