I don’t think I ever realized how much of a bad rap single moms get until I became one. Despite us being breadwinners and keeping our households together all by ourselves, we’re often labeled and judged for things that are usually out of our control.
It’s taken time, but I’m finally at a point where I just don’t care anymore — and it’s amazing. In fact, there are several things that I’m no longer apologizing for as a single mom.
1. My Divorce
I know the statistics and expert advice that it’s “better to stay together for the kids.” Nearly two years post-divorce, though, I still stand behind what I decided when I hired an attorney. My kids are absolutely better off in a home where everyone gets along.
My children know they are loved, and I do everything I can to make up for any shortcomings they experience because of the divorce. I’m a better parent apart from their dad, mostly because I’m happier and healthier now than I ever was in my decade-long marriage with their father.
So judge me all you want for breaking up my marriage, but I’m not sorry whatsoever.
2. Taking My Kids Places With Me
I recently had a primary care visit scheduled for a day when my children were out of school. I didn’t think it was a huge deal to simply take my children with me to my appointment and pack them a bag of things to do while they waited. However, the nurse complained about my children and asked why I “couldn’t just leave them with their dad.”
At first, I felt bad about it. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that the issue here was not with my kids or me but with the nurse and her attitude towards busy moms. Single mom or not, it’s not uncommon for mothers to take their children with them to appointments, shopping, or even work from time to time. So no, I’m not apologizing for the fact that my kids can’t “stay home with dad” and had to come with me — it’s actually good for them.
3. Screen Time
There’s a whole movement of mom-shaming focused on parents who let their kids have “too much” screen time. Some moms even insist that parents aren’t doing enough to entertain their kids and are just replacing parenting with electronic devices.
Here’s the thing, though: I work full-time and do freelance writing on the side so that I can pay the bills and still have enough left to treat my kids every once in a while. Unfortunately, that means there are days where I do let my kids watch TV shows or play on an iPad for a bit so I can get all my work done.
Does that mean I don’t try to spend as much time as possible interacting with my kids? Absolutely not. We play board games almost every day, frequently make crafts, and enjoy days at the pool or playground. Unfortunately, it’s just a delicate balance — and sometimes, a bit of screen time helps me check off my to-do list a little bit faster, so there’s more time for us to play together.
4. Buying Things Instead of Making Them
I always wanted to be one of those moms who makes the cute goodie bags or bakes up beautiful cupcakes for class parties… but I’m not. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m a single parent or just the fact that I’m a hot mess mom. But either way, I simply do not have the time to bake everything or make adorable homemade items every stinking time there’s an event at school. And since I have multiple kids, homemade costumes are usually out of the question too.
While it would be nice to do those things, I now realize that buying items at the store instead of baking them at home won’t scar my children for life. In fact, it helps them see that there are multiple ways to accomplish the same task, and that’s important.
5. Forgetting Things
I admit I’m a bit scatterbrained at times, especially with things like school dress-up days or buying a miscellaneous item at the store. Between work, raising kids, and just managing a household, things often fall through the cracks — and it sucks.
However, I am not going to apologize for forgetting things, especially insignificant ones like “Crazy Socks Day.” My kids don’t even care about whatever it is half the time, so why should I beat myself up over forgetting?
6. Skipping Out On Extra Expenses
Raising kids is expensive as is. However, it’s even more expensive when you’re a single-income household. Because of this, that extra dollar for shaved ice or trying to sell enough items for the school fundraiser can actually break the bank sometimes.
I used to feel guilty about it, but I honestly think that there’s a lot of us out there in this boat. So we should all be a bit more gentle with ourselves. Chances are our kids will get to enjoy the extra item anyway, so why sweat the small stuff?
7. Enjoying “Me Time”
During my marriage, my ex-husband often made me feel guilty for any time I spent away from our children, even if it was for work. Even after my ex and I separated, I felt guilty for asking anyone to watch the kids so I could go out for an evening or shop without them in tow.
But is a little “me time” really a bad thing for moms? If you ask me, it’s not. In fact, I think it’s important for any mom to make time for herself, whether she’s married, single, or in a committed relationship.
All moms need to recharge their batteries from time to time, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
So yes, I’m a single mom who does a lot of things you may not agree with. But I’m done apologizing for it. Period.
Originally published on Moms.com.