When I grew to become a solitary teenager mom at the age of 19, I had challenging inner thoughts about it.
On the 1 hand, culture did not give me the effect that this was a great thing to be. I felt distinctly that modern society had by now considered me a lousy mother, prior to I’d even specified birth.
On the other hand, I’d been lifted by my possess solitary mom, so I had initially-hand knowledge of how utterly typical a mom-led house was.
Related: I’m a solitary mom—and I’m judged in another way on my parenting since of it
I held the two of these feelings in my head separately, the 1 not impacting the other.
In massive element, the complexity of my response to my solitary motherhood was driven by how we communicate about and refer to it. I’ve due to the fact understood the time period “single mother” can be an incomplete and obscure descriptor, utilised as a shorthand for several different realities. I now very deliberately refer to myself as a single-lone mother––for a couple motives.
Some solitary moms are not one at all. Some may well decide on to day or enter into a partnership––but that does not necessarily mean they no extended discover with the term, or are no for a longer period parenting a great deal as they often have. The term single mother indicates a static state of motherhood, although it is often really fluid.
Solitary motherhood refers to extremely various realities and a large vary of life experiences.
In fact, many question defining solitary motherhood by our connection status at all, noting that our lifestyle doesn’t refer to married mothers, since they’re regarded as to be the default. Our patriarchal society has historically not identified what to do with gals who are mothers, but not wives. So moms without a partner have been outlined not by their motherhood, but by their marriage status––as however the most essential detail about a mom is whether or not she’s married.
Then there’s the truth that single motherhood refers to very distinct realities and a broad assortment of life encounters.
Some one mothers may well share custody and co-mum or dad with the baby(ren)’s other dad or mum, investing fifty percent their time with their child(ren). Or a solitary mother may perhaps have sole custody, with another guardian having about for intervals at a time. Other times, a one mom is the only mother or father in a child’s life, all of the time, 100%. This is me.
A lot of moms obtain empowerment in referring to on their own as solitary mothers, and I recognize why. The time period can be utilised to signal strength, resilience, and independence––as well as so several other good matters.
It’s for this purpose that the expression can problematically be co-opted by mothers who are not solitary mothers at all––but fairly are drained of disproportionately using on a lot more than their fair share of parenting.
But the time period also nevertheless has stigma connected to it––in massive section because households like ours really do not tumble into the traditional heteronormative conceptualization of a family. Solitary mothers are considered as a danger to the patriarchal purchase.
And so other people never really feel empowered by the phrase, sensing as an alternative that it serves to “other” them as moms. They may try to distance on their own from the expression and the blame they are disproportionately assigned for so many of society’s ills.
This is irrespective of the actuality that there have historically been issues with how exploration about one mothers has been carried out. As Rachel Hunter notes in her e-book chapter “Single-Dad or mum Households, Mother-Led Households, and Properly-Being”, “[r]esearch academies have been identified to mirror a distinct conservative, individualistic, and patriarchal valuing of nicely-remaining, girls and children, as effectively as a preference for specified gender capabilities and the marketing of normative (nuclear) loved ones norms.”
Even now, even as we understand to worth mother-led households for all they have to offer, I have no doubt one mothers––like all mothers––will keep on to be criticized for something or other.
Nevertheless the phrase one mom is the 1 we hear the most generally, it’s not our only possibility. How we assume of single mothers is increasing. So much too is our language, providing other approaches to self-determine.
We can refer to our family members as female-headed households or mom-led family members. The conditions solo dad or mum, only mum or dad, independent father or mother and autonomous parent emphasize the actuality that for many of us who do it all, the responsibility of parenting lies on our shoulders by itself.
As a feminist, although, it is critical to me to proceed to centre motherhood––not just parenthood. As Maki Motapanyane notes in her introduction to “Motherhood and One-Lone Parenting“, experiments demonstrate that single fathers keep on being much more favorably viewed than one mothers: becoming praised and admired for undertaking the very same function that one mothers are usually condemned and blamed for, the identical perform that modern society tells moms will never ever be more than enough.
And so I choose the time period lone motherhood, due to the fact it centers my experiences as a mom.
There’s also anything to be claimed for the fact that I identified as a solitary mom for a significant component of my son’s childhood. In some cases, around time, the words we use to describe ourselves evolve and alter. I also come across indicating in reclaiming the phrase one mother––a expression traditionally utilized to disgrace and condemn women of all ages.
It’s with this in thoughts that I merge the two, piecing with each other what I can to describe myself extra authentically to the earth: a one-lone mother.
While single moms are inclined to overwhelmingly be portrayed by negative accounts of strife, neglect, and, very well, agony, I consider it is specifically since I’m a single-lone mom that my son and I have the connection we do and the experiences that have arrive with it.
Language is generally evolving. In the previous, solitary mothers had been referred to as unwed or unmarried mothers, deserted or divorced wives. As we assemble our own realities, we also have the electric power to identify how we want to be seen––and what language we want to use to describe ourselves. There is variety in motherhood, and mothers themselves get to decide on how to self-discover.
Similar: To all the one moms who truly feel the intensity of currently being the only parent—I see you
Referring to myself as a one-lone mom continues to further more the discussion around how moms can choose to discover on their personal terms––and puts some distance among the thought that the most appealing thing about a lady or a mother is no matter if or not she’s married to a male.
And just maybe? It’ll lend itself to conversations of all the choices and attractive realities that mother-led homes have to offer you.