Monday, July 1, 2013

Ask Single Mom in the South: Choosing Single Motherhood?

 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 

Do single moms (indirectly) choose to be single?

I came across this YAHOO! Answers headline in one of my Google Alerts recently and I'll admit, my blood pressure rose before I even clicked on the link.  It didn't settle much when I did click and read. In the proposed theory, the author cites several reasons to support this belief, among them, that women predominately choose their spouse because they choose their husband by saying "yes" or "no" to the proposal and in making a poor choice, they are choosing to be single.  The author also states that statistically more women file for divorce than men, so therefore, a woman who files for divorce must be choosing to be single.

As in most cases in life, each single mother has her own story.  Some are vastly different and some are eerily similar.  I'm sure there are women who would answer yes, but my answer is emphatically "NO!"  I did NOT choose to be single. Most of the single mothers I know would answer in kind.  I'd also caution the author against using too many statistics. You see, I am the one who filed for divorce, so I guess technically, by this author's definition, I chose to be single.


At the time I filed for divorce, my ex had left me in our home with two children under the age of three.  While I did have a career I would eventually go back to, at the time, my ex's income was the only money our family had coming in. I needed to ensure the bills were paid, so I filed for divorce.  I did so because with a little research I found that in the state in which we lived, my filing would freeze our assets.  Until we went to court, my ex could not change his direct deposit from our joint account.  While I could continue to pay the bills we had always paid as a household, he could not take any money our for new expenses without my permission.  I filed to protect my family and buy myself some time, but I still hoped we'd reconcile.

I suppose, being that I have stayed single for going on 7 years that a case could be made for idea that I am choosing to be single now.  I am not.  I have just tried to be careful, because I didn't know when I married the first time it would end this way and I want to take care to try to make sure it doesn't happen again. My ex and I married after a 6 year courtship. It was not something I entered into lightly and without thought. Still, it didn't work out. Now, I make a choice not just for me, but for my children.  I do wish I was not STILL single, but I'm not going to rush into something so that I'm not alone only to have it fall apart and drag my children down with me.

I'd venture to guess that most single mothers aren't choosing to be single.  On the outside, we might think they are making poor choices and setting themselves up to end up single, but that doesn't mean they realize it!


The Dose of Reality said...

Great post. The single moms I know certainly did not choose it either.-Ashley

Aleta said...

I don't think that any of my single friends (divorced or not, children or none) actually WANT to be single! We all make mistakes, I made two before third time's a charm worked for me. The first divorce was filed by him, the second divorce was filed by me. People who said that single moms want to be single are stupid.

But women who are single moms and are out of bad relationship - yeah, they are choosing to live a healthy lifestyle for them and their children. But it doesn't mean a woman doesn't want a healthy and happy relationship!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

My mom didn't plan to be a single mom. Things out of her control happened that caused her to end up that way.

AiringMyDirtyLaundry said...

I imagine that they didn't plan on being a single parent. When you marry, you expect it to be for life. Sometimes it just doesn't work out that way.

Stacey said...

Great post! My little sister is a single mom who survived two terrible marriages. She is going on three years single, and it has actually been really good for her. I know she doesn't want to remain single forever, but is being very careful about her choice in a future spouse.

Mimi B said...

blah, who in their right mind would choose this? At least in the way that author makes it sound? I "chose" this because I had no choice really. Ugh...just...UGH! Stupidity reins in this day and age. HA! So many things I want to say right now and just nothing that comes close to being "clean" enough to type! =)

Leah said...

Totally agree with you. They need to be careful with their stats - I filed for divorce as well - but my ex left the marriage. I just couldn't take how long I knew he would take because he just didn't care - divorced or not, he had moved on. I needed closure in order for me to move on.

(Single)Mommy said...

No single mom CHOOSES to be single. No one wants that for themselves or their children but sometimes it might just be the best or only choice for many different reasons.