My Life with S

Things NEVER to Say to a Single Mother

things never to say to a single mother

Being a single mother, in the situation I am in, I seem to hear the same lines over and over again. Here is a list of the ones I’d really rather you didn’t allow to escape from your pie-holes. (yes, I am a grumpy bitch; what of it?)

      • I don’t know how you do it/I couldn’t do it – Oh right, so if you were left alone with a small baby to care for, you’d … what? Giveup? Sell the baby? It’s a matter of having no choice but to cope. We all just get on with what life throws at us.
      • Where’s her dad? Not bloody here, obviously.
      • I’m almost a single mum; my partner works long hours /is only around at weekends/doesn’t change many nappies – No. You. Are. Not. Even if you have the worst, most useless partner in the world, you still have someone to hold the baby while you go to the loo, or someone to stay with the baby while you run to the shop to top up the gas card.
      • You’re so brave! – Yes, and I fought a lion on the way to work this morning. I’m a single mother, not an imbecile. Don’t talk down to me.

 

tired baby with tongue out blowing raspberry
This is how I feel, 90% of the time

 

    • You’re so strong! – See above, and kindly knob off.
    • Good for you, for going back to work! – No, good for you  – now you don’t have to feel bad about being friends with benefit scum. Also: see above. don’t talk down to me.
    • Surely you get some time to yourself, though? – Yes, when I go to the toilet at work, and 2 hours when S goes to bed, if the noise from outside/next door doesn’t wake her. Those two hours are spent cleaning up after the day, preparing for the next day, attempting to catch up on the washing, and studying. And often sitting on the sofa, staring into space and wondering how the chuffing hell I’ll get through tomorrow.
    • I’m sure you have someone you can leave her with, though!  – Yes, I do. For a couple of hours, here and there. When that person doesn’t have a better offer, which, as the weather gets better and the novelty of looking after my child wears off, they invariably do.
    • You get lots of benefits though, and me and my partner don’t get any help! – Well, boo-hoo for you. I don’t get any help with sleepless nights, nappy changing, shopping, meal times, bath times, teething, colds, nursery drop-off and pick-up, going out without my child, eating a meal that hasn’t gone cold, getting the buggy up and down the stairs to my flat, telling my neighbours to STFU when my child is trying to sleep, popping to the shop to get the one thing I missed off the shopping trip I dragged us both around earlier, peeing and bathing without an audience. There are often days where I speak to nobody but my child and shop assistants. Should I continue?
    • Oh, you must be so tired! – Yes, thank you so much for reminding me. Really, it’s so helpful when you stand there and state the bleeding obvious. In other news, water is wet and the Earth is round. Now shut up.
    • I know exactly how you feel – Just fuck off.

Thanks for reading! You may also enjoy:

The Day I Made Father’s Day Controversial

An Epidemic of Single Parents

Sling Talk



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Vicky is a mother, a blogger, a podcaster and a social media trainer. She writes about life as a single mother, parenting and lifestyle type things.

38 Comments
  • Sarah Anguish

      REPLY

    Absolutely wonderful post, amazing x

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      Thank you x

  • Victoriaaa

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    Im not a single parent but i love this post, my sister is a single mother and the comments some people give are so patronising!

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      It&#39;s the whole head-on-one-side-wide-eyed &quot;areyouokay?&quot; face that just makes me want to stab people.<br />I&#39;d rather someone just said &quot;fuck me that must be hard work hey!&quot;

  • The Ed

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    Grumpy bitch! :) The Ed x.

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      As if there was ever any doubt!

  • Deborah Patrick

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    What a fab post! I was a single parent to my 2 sons {aged 16mths &amp; 3mths} for years {Father couldn&#39;t hack the responsibility that came with tiny people, what a douche}. So I can certainly relate to this post. xx <br /><br />

    1. Vicky Charles

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      Thanks! In my experience &quot;douche&quot; is a very big understatement.

  • Candace

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    AS a working single mother I so agree however you forget the boss &#39;can&#39;t someone else look after your child&#39; when said child is ill and you have to take a day off work my answer &#39; well if there was someone I wouldn&#39;t be asking!!!!!&#39;

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      I have to be honest, my boss is a legend and tends to say &quot;well, if you need the time then you need the time. Just let me know what days you need.&quot; <br />I am aware this makes me incredibly bloody lucky!

  • mouse

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    Oh this made me chuckle; I&#39;m a single mum to a nearly 3 yo and I STILL get all of these. It&#39;s as if people are still expecting a partner to materialise out the woodwork or something, they seem amazed one hasn&#39;t. Grr! x

    1. Vicky Charles

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      I know, right! As if you&#39;ve been lying all this time, just for kicks. <br />Is he hiding down the back of the sofa? In the cupboard? Back garden?<br />Yes. I do all the night feeds and the teething and the nappies and never leave the house alone, just for the hell of it!

  • Rosemary Cottage

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    I get a lot of these, although because my son&#39;s dad has him for overnights sometimes there are one or two I manage to avoid. Then again, add &quot;oh he sounds like /such/ a good dad!&quot; to the list. Yeah, he&#39;s great, emotionally abused me to the point where I had to leave and still treats me like crap whenever he can, just wonderful!

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      I&#39;m lucky I get to avoid that part - everyone who knows me, knows what my ex did to me!

  • kimmie stuckinscared

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    Oh Vicky, this post is lol funny - no wait, scrap that, it&#39;s &#39;splutter coffee all over laptop&#39; funny *grabs wipes*. <br /><br />Thanks for putting the giggle into my Saturday! :O) x

  • Looking for Blue Sky

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    Yes to all this!

  • paulareednancarrow.com

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    People can be pretty clueless, can&#39;t they. I&#39;ve read about your boss before; he sounds like a prince.Maybe writing more about such men will help to propagate them.

  • Thismummylark

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    Very well said!! It is hard, very hard! And not something most expect when finding out your expecting ...to end up a single parent. You go through alsorts of feelings and emotions and silly remarks from people dont help BUT its very rewarding. Thats the 1 thing i find or struggle with having alittle break to myself asking people to watch my son for an hr or 2 (rarely) is like asking for the earth. Thismummylark recently posted...Productive dayMy Profile

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      I know what you mean, it's a massive deal for me to ask someone to have S for a while. And the guilt involved with doing that too... phew!

  • carol hedges

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    Hahaha ,,I should do a list of things NOT to say to a baby-minding Grandma: Bet you love it really ....being at top of list for responses (usually said as I am struggling to get into a lift) carol hedges recently posted...The Sun has got His Hat On (Adventures of L-Plate Gran)My Profile

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      ha Carol you definitely should.

  • Josie

      REPLY

    Yes, yes, yes, a thousand yesses!!!!! Number 3 was one I heard a lot. Jog on! X Josie recently posted...Mummy and her moniesMy Profile

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      Sometimes you just want to say to people "do you realise what you've just said?" don't you!

  • Katy

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    Very funny post LOL... I was a single parent for over 10 years (my daughter is 21 now), but the worst one for me was "oh does your daughter still see her dad then?". I mean... honestly... why can't mind your own business and F-off? Such a rude/nosey and personal question!!! Totally infuriated me!!

    1. Vicky Charles

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      Thanks Katy!

  • Melissa

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    "oh I suppose you have to work because you're on your own" yes because all the married families have free money and food followed by "you want to get yourself a boyfriend"......."then you won't have to work" yes it's what year now? Any pointed comments of 'struggling' and then an explanation of 'if you had a man around' CAN THEY HEAR THEMSELVES??????

    1. Vicky Charles

        REPLY

      Ha my daughter's father actually told me he shouldn't have to pay child support when I had a boyfriend because it would be the new boyfriend's job to look after us. People are bonkers.

  • Mish

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    What are acceptable things to say if someone is trying to be supportive in their own way or trying to make conversation and it's on the topic of you being a single mom? It sounds like it's brought up at some point in the conversation with new people unless it's unsolicited comments by people who already know your situation. So I'm wondering what people SHOULD say? I'm asking this question not to be snarky but as an actual question because I too have written posts of things not to say to (fill in the blank) and then I realize, well, I should offer things that ARE acceptable to say so the post becomes a lesson to people who don't know any better. I honestly think that most of the time people don't know what to say and they are trying to make conversation if the topic comes up. But I do agree with you that so many of these things said to you are incredibly rude and tacky like asking where is the dad, etc. but do you still feel offended if a friend or loved one who is truly in your corner tells you, "you're so strong!" I'm having a hard time seeing how that would be offensive. Another way to look at things too, if someone says,"I don't know how you do it!", they might actually NOT be strong enough to carry on after a divorce. Some people can't actually do it alone. They have to move back home permanently or feel too depressed to make it work. I personally know people who have just left their lives and left the care of their children up to family members because they just can't make it work all by themselves after divorce. So sometimes that comment isn't even about you. Sometimes it's about them and they truly don't know HOW you do it. Anyway, just offering a different perspective and another way to look at the comments. But the rude ones are just that! No excuses there! I enjoy your blog and feel you offer a great insight on mental health and motherhood. Thanks!

    1. Vicky Charles

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      Thank you Mish, what a brilliant comment! I think you're right, perhaps I should write another post - things it's ok to say to a single parent!

  • Niki / PlayTravelLife

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    You know which question I hate most? Do some sport you'll loose the weight in no time.... Yes. Ofcourse... every hour the kiddo is in day care is one I am working. ... So go in the evening ? Euh... what do you mean after coming home at 6pm, cooking a fresh meal, feeding the kiddo (which is taking for-ever) tidying, putting her to bed (we are nearly 9pm now)... then go? Do you mean YOU have energy to go to the gym 9 at night? At are you paying a babysitter to go for a bloody work-out... I hate it. Hate it. Hate it that question. I wish I could AND have career, AND be a good mom AND go to the gym... but paying a sitter, results in having to work more hours ... etc circle goes round and round..... So the excercise I get is taking the bike to go grocerie shopping (we don't have home deliveries in Belgium) or going cycling with kiddo on the back during the weekend. However from sitting in a bike chair the toddler doesn't get tired, resulting in her being hyper in the evening... :/ Coming from Single Mother with NO parents, NO brothers or sisters to look after the kiddo etc....

    1. Vicky Charles

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      You are so right! Also when they tell you to go out on dates and you're like, er, right, I'll just leave my child home with a bag of crisps and the TV remote shall I!

    2. Jem

        REPLY

      Work out at home instead of going to the gym?

  • Annie Robinson

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    I think it's tricky for people to know what to say sometimes. I find other Mums a great support, especially the Mums from the kids' school. I definitely found that my children starting school opened up a whole new support network.

  • Annie Robinson

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    I think it's tricky for people to know what to say sometimes. I find other Mums a great support, especially the Mums from the kids' school. I definitely found that my children starting school opened up a whole new support network. #weekendBlogHop

    1. Vicky Charles

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      Thanks Annie, I do think a lot of the mums at nursery are lovely. And you're right, it's probably just that they don't know what to say.

  • Laura McGowan

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    Love this. What you should say is: "Wonderful job, here's a million dollars"

    1. absolutely prabulous

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      Okay I won't say any of those. What I will say is I don't know how you manage to run a blog when you have to do it all alone as a mum. You either have insane time management/organisational skills or barely sleep or write quickly or all of the aforementioned! Please don't tell me to eff off.

      1. Vicky Charles

          REPLY

        haha thanks... I type quickly, and I rarely clean the house!

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