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The Single Parent vs. the ONLY Parent

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Hi, my name is Ashlee and I'm a "single mom." Ahhh yes, the single mom title.

only parent holding son while singe mom shops

Ashlee Holland: I cannot seem to say anything nowadays without wearing that stamp on my forehead! What does that even mean? "Single" as in ... I have no significant other? OR "single" as in I am the only parent -- and there is no other parent that would make me a ... um ... plural parent?!?

Anyway ... Lately I have been a bit bothered by that title being thrown around as if it is a way to gain sympathy or is deserving of applause. I have decided to write, just a little, about the "single mom" title vs. being an ONLY parent. There is a huge difference!

As I was sitting on a set recently, I noticed that the word "single mom" was being tossed about like it was the hottest new pair of Louboutin shoes. Is this title the new HOT, IN thing?!? As an ONLY parent, I have never been able to afford more than the sales rack or Payless, point blank.

I have been a single mom since I was pregnant with my now 8-year-old son. I always assumed that having the title of "single mom" meant that there is no father involved and you are taking this journey on your own. Boy was I SO wrong. Lately, I have witnessed the wealthy, the elite, the successful, and even the supported use this term and receive accolade and empathy. So now, I am confused. SO, SO CONFUSED.

I know plenty of moms that get child support every single month like clockwork, and ones that make a pretty penny on their own. I am not taking anything away from their accomplishments, but can they change the title to at least "wealthy single mom"??? Then there would be some clarity.

I know "single moms" that drive the nicest European cars and dress from head-to-toe in the most expensive designer wear every day -- YET, when the word "single mom" is brought into a conversation, cue the violins!

Are you kidding me?!

There is no way a single (by way of divorce) mom in Beverly Hills can relate to a single (by way of deadbeat father) mom in the projects of Detroit! The wealthy moms hire nannies, maids, chauffeurs. I am just trying to get my son in properly fitting pants because he is so tall for his age ... AND don't even ask me about basketball sign-ups ... $100.00 a pop! Yeesh.

Don't get me wrong, I know that being a single parent has its struggles. But, if you are doing WELL and still have the "luxury" of scheduling weekends, days, or months off, then I just don't feel THAT sorry for your situation. I am an ONLY parent. I have to hire a sitter for everything unless I have a willing friend to pitch in. I have no days off ... NONE, NADA, NICHE!!! I pay all of our bills and get NO help each month with anything -- not shoes, school supplies, or clothes -- and my son wears a 9.5 in men's!!!

So, single parent versus only parent, this could very well be a complete change in the words we choose to label this new parenting dynamic. "Single parent" seems to simply describe your relationship status, not your parenting status. Seeing a woman who (recently divorced) makes over a million dollars a year get an applause for simply stating she was a single mother made me write this. When she uttered the words "I'm a single parent now ..." and the audience applauded, I had an epiphany!!! I personally felt as if my battle scars were being removed by a knife!

I have NEVER blamed anyone for my situation, nor am I asking for sympathy. I never asked to be an ONLY PARENT either, but I am -- and I am trying to bring the attention to things we generalize. Not every "single mom" is going through rough times, and not every single mom is doing "just fine." The term should not be used so loosely. Trust me, I have met REAL single moms at the welfare office that truly deserve the title. It is a badge of honor to be worn by the truly deserving, not just the "relationship status" worthy.

I am proud of being an ONLY parent (formally known as a "single mom").

With all of that being said, I hereby deem the title "ONLY PARENT" as the new "single parent" status, IF and only IF you are truly parenting on your own. Best wishes -- HAPPY PARENTING!

next: Edward Cullen Can Be Bought
56 comments so far | Post a comment now
chris October 20, 2009, 6:24 AM

I’m sorry but I don’t agree with you. A single mom whether she did it alone or is divorce and receiving child support is still a single mom. To try and minimize her struggles because she has more money isn’t fair. My sister is recently divorce and her ex (who pays child support) has very little to do with their kids so she really can’t depend on him to take them for weekend or to give her a break. I’m sorry that you feel bitterness toward single moms who get child support and/or are finicialy secure but that doesn’t mean you should take anything from them doing it alone just like you are.

Dr. Leah@ October 20, 2009, 6:29 AM

Interesting post with a sometimes overlooked perspective. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

KellyK October 20, 2009, 7:53 AM

I totally agree. I HATE when I hear “single” mom!! A “single” mom is a divorced mom who still gets help in some way…wether it is financial, childcare by another parent or both then you are not technically a single mom. Then that is no a “single” mom. I think the definition has gotten trampled on. An ONLY parent sounds better!!

Heather October 20, 2009, 7:54 AM

I have noticed the same phenomen lately as well! I agree that “single mom” used to mean a mother who had no other parental support.

I think being a divorced mother with children is hard no matter what the circumstances, but there is a big difference between a mother who has a divorced partner who is taking turns with the kids and helping provide financial support and a single mom who has no other support.

Ashley October 20, 2009, 8:30 AM

I have been an ONLY PARENT to my 13 year old son since the day he was born thanks to a deadbeat “dad” we don’t even use that term in my family, we refer to him as ‘the donor’ I have struggled with crappy jobs and crappy pay to make sure there’s food on the table and clothes on our backs with no help from ‘the donor’ despite a child support order I haven’t seen a PENNY from this guy in 13 years.

dad to none October 20, 2009, 8:40 AM

Man, you women are bitter. No one told you to open your legs and get pregant by a deadbeat man. Did you not know better? Did you not see the signs before you got knocked up that the guy was a loser?

TMC October 20, 2009, 9:31 AM

Wow. Someone get “dad to none” out of here. What a mean post.

single mom October 20, 2009, 9:50 AM

You did ask to be a single mom otherwise you would have used protection so you wouldn’t get pregant. And as an actor I really have to wonder how many times you have been in a welfare office…seriously I think you’re just talking to be talking. Oh and by the way, the term single mom has been around for hundreds of years, it’s certainly not new. I don’t get it, first women want to pit working moms and sahm mom against each other and now you want to pit single mom against only moms. I find this so stupid and childish.

Anonymous October 20, 2009, 10:09 AM

Well said I could not agree with you more. Since I am an only parent myself and I see single parents complaining all the time and the only thing I can say is there is always someone worse off than they are. Although I struggle daily I would not want it any other way. When it is all said and done and my kids are on their own I can smile and say look what I did!!!

Christine October 20, 2009, 10:58 AM

Single Mom is a title portraying the fact that a father or co parenting does not exist in the child(ren)s life. I am a single mom and I do receive child support but everything that is my son comes from me. I am responsible for homework, sick days, doctor visits, clothing, problems and discipline. Single means alone in the world of parenting not without means of support.

That One Mom October 20, 2009, 11:26 AM

I agree. I have been the only parent of two children for 8 years. My kids were 2 and 6 months when their addict father, my husband committed suicide. I have never called myself a single parent or single mom, it has always been ONLY parent. I have never had every other weekend off, or two weeks in the summer. Whenever I want “me time”, I have to pay someone to take my kids off my hands.

That said, I think it is important to recognize that regardless of your income, parenting with out an adult partner in your home is difficult. Divorced, widowed, or deadbeat father - it doesn’t matter. And in a lot of instances, co-parenting with an ex can be a lot more difficult than being an only parent. Some people be as difficult and uncooperative as possible, not always keeping the best interest of their children in mind. In that respect, I am grateful for my only parent status.

KAR October 20, 2009, 11:47 AM

While I know being a single/only/whatever parent can be frustrating, I have to say that NO ONE parents alone. Even if the biological other being is not assisting in anyway, no man is an island. We have friends, neighbors, grandparents, cousins, siblings, aunts and uncles among others to help carry us through.

That being said, I am the only parent living in my house. But I am not the only person helping to raise my children. I have purposely stayed in my small hometown so that my children and I can have access to our family and thereby the support network we desperately need to help stay afloat.

I’ve been at this single/only parenting gig a long time, and I don’t have time to worry about how much money the other single parents are out there raking in or if they can afford a nanny. My life is my life and if I sit around comparing it to everyone else, I’m liable to really get ticked off.

Just walk the middle way, chick. Be who you are and don’t worry about whatever woman is out there pimping her single parent status for sympathy.

ame i. October 20, 2009, 12:03 PM

I agree with the author. “Single mom” should only be used when the mom is the only parent. “Divorced mom” is the should be used for a divorced woman with children.
I was widowed 6 years ago. I wouldn’t have wanted to be referred to as a “single mom. I was a widowed mom.
I married again 2 years ago. My husband isn’t my daughters’ step-dad, is is their dad. Their father died.

Tina October 20, 2009, 1:03 PM

What a pity party! Single Mom is a Single Mom! It’s all in the thinking.

Dummies October 20, 2009, 1:03 PM

I’m sorry miss Ashlee Holland that you did not have a brain to pick the right man to have a baby by. Don’t talk down on us because we got married first. You sound like a chicken head.

Ashlee Holland - Author October 20, 2009, 1:16 PM

To all of the positive responses and people that get the point of this article… THANKS! It was meant to make a point about how we generalize people and their situations based on titles. EVERYONE has a story and their own struggles… money or no money.. this was about those who literally do it on their own, day in and day out vs those who simply throw around a title. If you are not one of those then why be offended…. right :)

To all of the negative people AKA Dummies…… (how appropriate of a name you gave yourself)
Most of you seem to be clueless and have completely missed the point of this article. This is not about who and how anyone got pregnant. NO ONE that I know willingly goes into any situation, married, engaged, dating….. hoping or thinking they will end up a “single parent” This is not about choosing the right or wrong man or opening your legs…..come on now. You have to be smarter than that! … AND how do you know that I am not a single mom by way of death….? How do you know that I was NOT on birth control…. how childish of you to think that those are the only ways people end up becoming single parent….. hmmmm. Think and re read before you post your ignorance. :) God Bless… :)

Michelle October 20, 2009, 6:56 PM

How bad are you struggling? I know you and I know that you go out quite a bit. You must be paying a lot in partying and for the sitter. I also know that you are proudly on welfare. Instead of having us tax payers pay you to sit at home and go to auditions, why don’t you get a steady JOB to support yourself and your son? And then squeeze in auditions? AND I know that you are not “an only parent” by way of death. I guess pimpin ain’t easy…right?

Ashlee Holland - Author October 20, 2009, 9:26 PM

“Michelle” :) Oh Michelle… You obviously have not read ANYTHING in this post that you could comment on, so attempting to attack me shows your character and lack of class. You obviously think you know me or assume you know me. Either way… could not be any more wrong about me. Proudly on welfare. :) Not even close. Pimping ain’t easy? LOL. How old are you? Going out quite a bit… you clearly have no idea what you are talking about. oh.. and FYI I too am a proud TAX PAYER! So Glad you almost got one thing right. YES I have a job, YES I work AND struggle. And I take care of my son proudly WITHOUT your tax money my “friend”. :) And I HARDLY sit at home collect money and wait for auditions. THAT “my friend” I am proud of, because I work HARD as hell and do it ALONE. And since you THINK you know me, then you must know that my son’s “dad” has been presumed dead overseas. But you know me…. so you know that…right. :) I could only hope and wish that people like you had all the FACTS before you attempt to judge. So sad…. Thanks for the laugh my “friend” :) May God Bless you “Michelle”

Gloria October 21, 2009, 12:38 AM

Ashlee, You really dont have to respond to some losers who dont understand the information in your write up. That goes to show how shallow some people can be. Im really impressed with what you said and i agreee totally. I like my new tittle of single parent, it makes more sense to me now. Keep the flag flying.

Ashlee Holland - Author October 21, 2009, 8:07 AM

Gloria, You are 100 percent right! :) Thank you for being a positive mom!!! :)

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