A semi-regular column that addresses your questions about single motherhood.
Got a question about which you'd like my opinion?
Ask in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I came across an article the other day that posed the question,
Can a married woman really call herself a single mom?
It seems Michelle Obama has made headlines recently for calling herself a married single mom because President Obama is away so much. ~ I really need to start watching the news so I'd know these things in a timely manner!
Coincidentally, I was dropping The Girl off at gymnastics last week and I overheard two dads talking. They were discussing a woman who claimed to be a single mom, but had a live-in boyfriend... a partner... and this dad seemed to feel that she needed to stop playing on people's sympathies because she wasn't truly "single" anymore.
I tend to agree.
I've had many a conversation about it with friends over the years and I'm here to tell you that in most cases,
the answer is NO.
It's just not the same.
There is usually a level of emotional support that comes with being married. Generally, even if your spouse is away... a lot... you have a connection and a plan... common goals. Even in a relationship that is rocky at best, you have a warm body to help out on occasion.
This is something that in my opinion a true "Single Mom" does not have.
In addition, when you have a husband or live-in significant other you are ~or at least have the potential to be~ a two income family. Yes, your spouse may be away from the home, but in doing so he or she is earning money to support your family and common goals. I used to have this debate with my ex when he would give me a hard time about money. While I certainly didn't begrudge his new wife staying home, if money was so tight, she could technically work. In my home, there is no spare person with the potential to earn extra income. It's just me.
A friend who was in a very difficult marriage said this to me one time. She said she was practically a single mother. She was the breadwinner and still had to do everything at home. Her husband didn't really contribute nor help with the kids. She was overwhelmed by her life and felt she had no help and might as well be a single mom.
Then her husband actually did leave. While that came with some relief, she quickly realized how wrong she'd been. Her husband did contribute income ~albeit not much~ to the family and he was a warm body with whom she could leave the children if she needed to run out for something and he did occasionally help when both children needed to be in different places at the same time.
So while I completely respect that First Lady Obama has an extremely unique set of circumstances that finds her parenting on her own in a way she probably didn't plan on when she gave birth,
NO, she is not a single mother.
It's just not the same.