I’m a single mom to a smart, handsome, and all around wonderful twelve year old boy (well at least according to me he’s smart, handsome, and all around wonderful).  So far I think I’m doing a pretty good job, exhibit A he’s still alive, and exhibit B he isn’t into bath salts yet (but I don’t want to brag).  It’s not Pleasantville, there’s no real stigma associated with being a single parent anymore, but every once and a while I get hit with a question or statement that makes me bust out my WTF face.  I like to think people are taken off guard because I look way too young to have spawned a twelve year old (because they totally are), and that’s why they may ask a slightly inappropriate question.  I try not to take offense when this occurs, but I realize not everyone is the good sport I am.  If you ever feel any of the following bubbling up in your throat just don’t, and if you’re a single mom and some dope says something dumb, try not to take it personally and maybe hit them with one of the smart responses I’m going to supply you with.

  1. It must be so hard.  Yes strangers will say this in a faux-sympathetic voice.  Even if they are legitimately interested in your “struggles” there is no way for that sentence to sound anything other than condescending and fakety fake fake. What kind of response are people expecting when they say this?  Do they think we’ve been waiting to unburden ourselves by confessing a life of misery and strife?  Or maybe they want me to be a solemn dignified single mom, one who will stick up their chin and proudly declare, “it’s all worth it”?  Well anyway you slice it, it’s stupid, and you sound stupid even saying it.  Comeback: Depending on how fresh you feel like being, you may want to make some sort of comment about how if it wasn’t hard there would be no kid in the first place #SophmoricHumor.
  2. Is the dad around?  I am always stunned when someone whose last name I don’t even know asks me this question.  I’m very lucky, in this area my situation is pretty ideal, so I don’t mind explaining it and feeling a tad superior, because I feel like whenever anyone asks they’re kinda hunting for drama.  And what if there’s major drama?  Do you really think I would want to share it with you? This question is super inappropriate, you would never ask a married parent to break down the child rearing percentages, so why would you ask me?  Comeback: I haven’t seen him since Maury told him he was the father.
  3. Do you worry about finding a guy who wouldn’t mind dating someone with a kid?  Well I do now a-hole!  Do you also ask single overweight people “do you worry about finding someone who is open to dating a fatty?”  Even better, did I ask you “do you worry about finding someone who would be ok with dating a big mouthed jerk with no social graces?”  Of course I didn’t, because I was raised right, I’ll wait till you’re out of earshot and say it to my friends.  Comeback: I don’t really date, I take lovers…your husband seems nice.
  4. It must be so nice to get a break when he’s at his dad’s house.  Ok if you’re saying this you’re clearly not thinking things through.  These “breaks” single parents get also include holidays, first days of school, vacations, birthdays, etc.  Oh and there is nothing worse than sending a crying toddler to a visit he doesn’t want to go on, and then spending the entire weekend worrying if he’s been crying since he left the house.  Not much of a break.  Comeback: It is so nice!  I mean if he didn’t go to his dad’s every other weekend when would I get around to boozing and whoring?
  5. Where’s your kid?  This is my all time favorite.  People are dumb, they hear you have a kid and they say, “Where is he?”  Doesn’t matter if I’m at a sporting event, a bar, the bank, adult bookstore, or making a late night takeout run, for some reason people think my kid should always be with me, like always.  I don’t know why people don’t just assume he’s with a responsible adult; maybe I just look like I could be on Teen Mom?  Comeback: Funny story, I had the doctor cut the umbilical cord, so I can like leave him with a babysitter and stuff, weird!

General rule of thumb, think before you speak (ok I admit I’m pretty bad at thinking before I open my pie hole, but I’m working on it).  If you wouldn’t say it to a married parent, maybe you shouldn’t say it to a single parent?  Makes sense right?  Or at least don’t say it the first time you meet someone.  If a single mom is truly a rare, exotic, and fascinating creature to you, get to know her a bit before you ask her if she ever uses child support to buy herself stuff, at the very least you’ll probably avoid being slapped in the mouth.