You probably don’t know me.
You probably don’t know my story. And “story” is used as a blanket term to describe the journey I’ve been on as a mother. A single mother to be exact.
It’s a story so many women experience today. Some by choice and some by victims of circumstance.
But let’s really call it what it is-a statistic. To be fair, everyone fits into some kind of statistic, but we’re gonna talk about this one. A big one, if not the big one.
Statistically, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 in the US are being raised without fathers. The circumstances of the lack of a father vary, from women never having been in an established relationship with the father, to widows, to divorcees, and every combination in between.
My circumstance is by choice. I chose to have my son. I chose to have my baby with a man who already had a son he didn’t see. I had my suspicions when we were dating that his lack of interaction with his son were more on his part than the mother’s, but I didn’t press the issue even though it was one of main reasons why I decided we were not meant for the long haul. The day before I sat down with him to have “The Talk” I took a pregnancy test that threw two blue lines in my face and it solidified my decision. I chose my son, but I did not choose to keep his father, and he did not choose to keep his son.
That. Is. His. Prerogative.
Could I put him on child support? Yeah.
Do I want to? Nah.
Should I? Sometimes I think so.
Will I? Probably not.
Now, I’m not excusing him from his responsibility as a father to help me raise our son, but if he doesn’t want to be a part of that, I won’t twist his arm. I used to feel a lot of bitterness, a lot of anger, a lot of hurt towards him. More on the behalf of my son, not for myself. I was angry with him for missing our son’s first everything. I was bitter because my entire life changed from what it used to be to what it is now (for the record, I LOVE my life for what it is now with my son) and his got to stay to the same. And I was hurt because I couldn’t figure out why this man, this person whose DNA makes up half of the chromosomes in our son’s body, would not inherently want to experience life as his father. But the fact is, some people just don’t want parenthood. Again, it doesn’t mean they’re excused, but on the grand scale of things, I figure I’m probably one of the least interested people in attempting to force him to be a father, so he sort of gets a pass.
He gets a pass, but I don’t. By choice.
So when I tell you after we meet by chance or by reconnecting on Facebook one day that I’m truly a single mother, don’t lump me into a category of “undateable” women.
Don’t automatically assume there’s a long string of drama that is attached with my statistical status. Don’t automatically assume I’m looking for a new daddy for my kid. While I hope one day someone wants to step into that role, I don’t expect it, and I work my ass off to ensure my son doesn’t miss the absence. Don’t automatically assume that you won’t find anything about me interesting. Don’t expect me to be able to not mention my son when you ask me about my life. And if I do mention him, don’t immediately clam up. I’m not expecting you to make edible paint and paint lazy-eyed smiley faces on my driveway with him, or change diapers, or buy the diapers. I am, however, expecting you to know that when I decline an invite back to your house, or refuse to invite you back to mine, it’s not because I’m not interested in you, it’s because I have a kid. A kid that depends on me for everything in his life. A kid that hasn’t even figured out yet that most families have a mommy and a daddy (seriously, he’s not looking for that), and all he knows is me.
I know most men want a woman whose uterus doesn’t have a sign on it that says “used”, but that’s not reality most days. If you know you don’t want kids, by all means, don’t date a single mother. Don’t date a statistic. But if kids aren’t out of the question at some point in your life, you may be pleasantly surprised with how much a single mother can offer you that doesn’t include you playing “Daddy” and by how easy that role may be adapted in to your life.
I made a choice with my son. One day, someone else will make that same choice. You may make that same choice. But until then, please, don’t avoid the statistics of a single mother.