It’s challenging enough to keep up with the demands of motherhood, let alone endure inevitable criticism about your parenting choices and abilities. Unfortunately, it seems as though single mothers bear the brunt of harsh judgments because society’s impression of single parents is often vastly misconstrued and tainted by varying degrees of prejudice and misinformation.
Many have painted the picture of the ‘single mom persona’ as a mother who is lonely, sad, and hard-pressed for time and money. But there is no one universal image of what a single mom’s life looks like, how her time operates or how she might interact with her world. Distorted stereotypes and outdated notions and definitions of parenthood and femininity only impose an extra set of challenges for single parents, particularly moms, especially those looking to date and/or become intimate again. But contrary to popular belief, being a single mom with an active dating and, if she chooses, sex life is neither wrong nor impossible.
Here are some of the most common myths single moms experience regarding romantic relationships, and a few words of wisdom and grace to disprove them:
#1: Single moms are damaged goods
Women become single mothers for a variety of reasons whether it’s due to separation, divorce, death, or even an absent partner. It’s often hard to overlook the emotional toll that these sometimes traumatic events can have on one’s psyche, but to label single moms as less desirable or broken because of past experiences or something that has happened is thoughtless, outdated and a disservice to an entire population of parents. Not to mention, there are other unique circumstances attributed to being a single parent, like choice. Some women feel their biological time clock ticking and choose the path of motherhood through single parent adoption or artificial insemination. Many moms who are ready to experience romance again have worked through their story by healing past wounds, learning to co-parent, and establishing confidence in their role as a single parent.
Myth#2: Single moms have ulterior motives for dating
Whenever we embark into the dating world, we inevitably can’t help but think about how our counterparts view us. Single mothers, however, are all the more susceptible to erroneous assumptions when dating. Some of the prevailing myths include that they’re desperate for a father figure for their children, they’re vying for a new spouse, or maybe they’re searching for greater financial stability. Is it that outrageous to believe single moms are very much human beings and are entitled to engage in normal social activities like casual dating? When asked if single moms should have a sex life, one respondent said, “Of course, you’re the kind of mother who puts your kids’ needs first … But let’s face it, somewhere buried down deeply, there’s a woman. You miss being touched. You want to feel a hand on the small of your back …Your time is precious. You’re not going to pay for a sitter just to share dinner with some self-centered fool.”
Myth#3: Single moms can’t have a sex life
Society is quick to pass judgments on single moms as either “irresponsible and promiscuous” or “non-sexual beings” when it comes to their sex life. Some assume single moms work too much, leaving little to no energy or time for adult companionship or even sex. Others equate having sex with neglecting their children’s needs. Whether it’s one extreme or the other, the stigma remains that a mother’s life solely revolves around her children and most definitely not her being as a woman that maintains a sex drive. While it is perfectly acceptable not to desire sex, when and if the time comes to enjoy one of life’s great and beautiful pleasures again, many mothers must also be prepared can help negate any guilt or shame. Prioritizing your and your child’s well-being first, communicating, defining and maintaining boundaries with your partner, as well as taking care of your reproductive health with condoms or a birth control that is right for you will help you to find a great sense of comfort in the validity of your choices, decisions and therefore make others’ opinions merely just that – opinions.