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In my journey as a single parent I have been told many things, some with good intentions, other statements made from complete and utter ignorance. Ignorance may be a little harsh, so let me rephrase that. People make uninformed and unaware statements. It is okay to be curious about single parenthood; it's even okay to ask questions. For single parents, a haste reaction to this situation is better approached by understanding that some comments are meant to be positive. Let me enlighten those readers who have been on either side of the situation. Here are a few things to not say to a single parent.
"I don't know how you do it."
"I could never do what you do"
"You're a Superwoman."
Single parents do what they have to do to provide for their family. It's no different than married families. Often said as a complement, this makes single parenting seem unrewarding. We do not have an "S" on our chest, nor are we superhuman, Given the situation any person could do it.
"You Should Be proud I could never do that."
Condescending, belittling, demeaning, take your pick. I frequently hear this and it irks me, like nail dragging across a chalkboard. Yes, I have multiple degrees work full time and parent full time, all while working towards a third degree. No need to for accolades or to pat my back. This statement is often made with good intentions; however, when you think about it do you make similar comments to your married friends?
"You look tired"
Really, I had not noticed I only slept 4 hours last night. Pointing out that someone looks like hell is insulting. A better solution is to offer to babysit for a few hours.
"Where is the child's mother or Father? or "Is their father or mother in their life?"
This is personal questions that should not be asked. If you are close to that person then you might ask differently, but tread lightly. Then again, if your were "close" then you would already know. If a single parent wants you to know then they will tell you. Frankly it's none of your business, gaining this information will not improve the situation rather only feed your curiosity.
"Do you and your husband...(fill in the blank)."
Please don't assume that every person ith a child is married. Single parents are proud and have nothing to be ashamed of. Single parenting happens by choice and by unforseen circumstances.
"You didn't get married." or "When are you getting married."
Please refer to the aformentioned question.
"My wife or husband went ot of town for work so I know what you are going through."
This is a comment I hear frequently and the only one o geet under my skin. Caring for your children for a weekend, a week or even a few weeks, while your spouse is one is not the same as single parenting. Let me say that again for emphasis, parenting your children temporarily without your spouse (who will ineitable return) is not equated to singe parenthood. You still have their financial support and thier emotional support. The key is your spouse will return. Single parent do not get a break, nor do we look foward to a homecoming.