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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!

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BryanMassa March 3, 2011, 5:10 PM

I totally agree with everything that you stated in this article because I have experienced every bit of it first hand. However, in my case you can insert DEADBEAT MOTHER rather than deadbeat father. My ex wife (who was a stay at home mom) got herself hooked on cocaine when our boys were 3 and 2. They are now 11 and 10 and dear old dad has raised them without so much as a visitation break. It’s certainly not the lifestyle I chose for myself but I knew it was time to man-up and be the only-parent to my sons and I haven’t regretted a single moment. I know what you mean about not having the luxury of scheduling time off. I haven’t had time off in 8 years, and I’ve got a bunch more years to go. My sons keep me way too busy and are way too important for me to find time for a social life, so my relationship status will likely stay ‘single’ for some time to come. My parenting status will also remain ‘only.’

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