Why the Labels?

I have always thought “single mom” had a connotation of a woman who has her kid(s) most of the time, with minimal help or contact with their father.

And because of that, I have a hard time calling myself a “single mom” because Smiley is with his father half the time. And because I have a partner to help me out. (Although the Writer’s really not around very often. I’d say that in a two-week stretch, where I have Smiley 7 of 14 days, the Writer is with us maybe one or two evenings; fewer if he’s traveling.)

Then again, why do I even need to clarify single or attached? I am a mom. Period.

A friend of mine said, “I most definitely am a single mom, but, ugh, I just hate the label. I’m a ‘super mega ultra lightning babe.'” The “babe” comment may not be original (it’s from “The Incredibles”), but, really, she is a super-mega-ultra-lightning babe. Well, maybe minus the lightning part.

She has a couple of good points. She is Superwoman. Her son’s father has basically abandoned her and his child. He only contacts her to berate her–not to speak to his son. I have no idea how it is even possible to abandon your own child, but to have access to him and yet not want to be in touch? Not want to hug him? Unfathomable to me.

And her point about labels is a good one, too. Why must we be labeled? I am always Smiley’s mom. It doesn’t matter whether he’s with me or with his dad or in Timbuktu*, I will always be his mom.

I am lucky that Smiley’s dad wants to be involved. He is a bit egotistical, and I think in that respect that Smiley is an extension of him, so staying involved with his son fits with the ego. But it is the best thing for Smiley. As much as I’d like to spend more time with my son, it’s important that his dad be involved in his life as much as possible. Our relationship didn’t work out, but we are setting our feelings for each other aside so our son has both of his parents.

I guess I have gone ahead and labeled myself. I’m “singleish” in the sense that I am attached but still on my own. So while it’s true that I don’t have Smiley with me all of the time, I am always his mom, and I am always thinking about him and worrying about him. I guess it doesn’t matter if I’m  single mom, a married mom, an attached mom, or a purple mom; I am a mom.

*I’d like to think he’ll wait to visit Timbuktu until he’s more mature and independent; maybe at 6 years old, by my count.

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2 responses to “Why the Labels?

  1. Such a great post! And single moms are the worst about competing with each other about who’s more “single” than others. It’s pathetic really. We all have our battles… and our singleness.

    Good luck to you. Thank you for this awesome introduction to your blog!

  2. I am “single-ish” as well, I guess. I have my two girls 50% of the time, and I have a partner, but he lives 3 hours away, so we only see one another every other weekend.

    I agree with what T said, that there seems to be a competition among single moms over who is more single. It’s silly. It all boils down to us being moms and not being with the father of our kids. We should be looking for our commonalities rather than our differences. :-)

    I can totally relate to the challenges of having a co-parent who is very involved in raising the kids. While it’s great for the kids to have two engaged, active parents, it makes co-parenting more challenging in some ways.

    In any case, glad to meet you! I look forward to reading more of your posts. Email me anytime, okay? :-)

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