I’m NOT a Single Mother

I’m not writing to discuss and debate the legitimacy or emotion behind the term single mother.  Nope, I’m not really interested in any kind of deep, political, racial or socio-economic debate about single mothers in our society.  That’s not my soapbox.  If anyone starts that foolishness in the comments, I’ll actually delete ‘cha, m’kay?  Cool.

What I do want to discuss is NOT being a single mother.  I am NOT a single mother.  Let me repeat that once again for folks sitting in the cheap seats without a good view of the jumbrotron – I am NOT a single mother.

In the most basic of terms, yes, I am a mother and no, I do not have a living partner.  I am a widow.  I am a mother.  I am a widowed mother.   To call me single is just inaccurate.  I was raised in a family that encouraged me yet set certain expectations for how my life should proceed.  This isn’t judgement or censure for what anyone else was taught, how they were raised, or for the choices that they make.  This is about ME.  Things in my life proceeded in the way that I felt they should.  I fell in love with my high school sweetheart.  We dated.  We got married.  We bought a house.  We decided together to start a family.  We had a son.  Then my husband died.

I fell in love with a nice kid, who turned into a decent young man, who turned into a good father and husband.  I certainly wouldn’t have written the movie of my life with my husband dying at 36 but I had no choice in the matter.  I did not choose to parent alone.  I did not pick a bad partner.  I was not deserted or abandoned.  My son was not rejected.

I’m in the other box now.  The widow box.  When filing out paperwork, there are boxes for single, married, divorced and widowed.  I am a widow.  I am a mother.  Just as divorced and widowed are not the same, neither are single mother and widowed mother.  They simply aren’t. The person who prompted this post did not deserve my response, so I did not offer one to her.  My stony glare and silence were loud and strong.  Regardless of how it is intended, recognize that it is insulting to my deceased husband and it is offensive to me.  Please do not refer to me or any other widowed parent as “single” because we are not.


22 thoughts on “I’m NOT a Single Mother

  1. I agree, you are not a single mother. Your child received the love of his dad which continues on through you! People can be so insensitive and I am sorry you have to deal with this in your season of mourning. Sending you my ehugs and love

  2. I’m a single parent in the sense that my sperm donor is not a part of my childs life and that is not the case for you. You ARE NOT a single mother and I think whoever said you are is pretty ignorant.

  3. My mother divorced my father. She does not refer to herself and I do not refer to her as a single mother. You should continue to hold the line on that. It makes a difference to children.

  4. Its true and just another testament to the standards of society now. People just assume if you aren’t currently in an active marriage you must be a single mother. I appreciate the celebration and even maybe the acceptance of single motherhood – but your story is one that makes me wonder if it IS such a positive thing. Because now we’ve created a world where as you said, widowed mothers are not even considered when speaking about women who’s partner (for whatever reason) is not a part of their child’s life. Very very interesting.

  5. You caught my attention on BLM and as a Single Mom, the first thing that I thought when I read the title was, “Dang. Here We Go.” I have to say that after reading this post, I have to agree with you, you are not a single mom. There is a difference. Thanks for writing this and setting the record straight! http://www.thesexysinglemommy.com

  6. This is so true and it does matter to the children. My mom died when I was a teenager and my dad also got offended when people would refer to him as a single dad or would ask how he got custody. People are just ignorant. Stand firm.

  7. I must say you run into people who start some of the most asinine junk! Thanks for posting this I hope it helps to educate some of the less enlightened! For some reason people LOVE to assume and put people in groups/boxes of their own choice. You are correct there is a definite difference between single, divorced, and widowed. Go On Ms TDJ set ’em straight!

  8. Hmmm…this is very interesting. I have a friend who’s wife died in December and I have referred to him as a single dad on several occasions. I guess I never thought about this perspective. I totally understand it. I have further complicated it by wondering if that “single” stigma has the same meaning between men and women. Hmmm…..In any case I get what you are saying and will consider it when I am talking to him and to others.

  9. As Regina stated it is crazy the dumb comments people have made to you. So truly awful and I agree that this is an important distinction that is rarely, if ever, discussed. In the wake of September 11 especially I’d be interested to see if the sentiment varies with the thousands who suddenly became widowed parents.

  10. Isn’t sad how we are quick to use certain terms thinking we know better. Thanks for this post…always thinking about you!!

  11. People and their many levels of insensitivity and ignorance amaze me. There is (as you pointed out) a distinct difference. If others chose to ignore this, that’s their truth, not yours.

    Hugs and Mocha,

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