I'm going to get on your every last nerve until you stop judging me and you better believe it.
We all go through our day with a million little judgements. The person at the checkout was rude, that girl you work with is a stuck up bitch, the guy sitting next to you on the train smells. The list could go on, but you can save it for the internal monologue. It's not that I'm interested. Mild discrepancy is acceptable, we are only human after all. To judge an entire group of people based on a singular aspect of their lives however, generally falls into one of the "isms." You know those widely unacceptable and quite disgusting notions that cause human beings to generalise and discriminate, you know things like racism or sexism.
There isn't a term for it but there should be, in fact I'm going to coin a term right now - Single Mumism.
You find this tiresome you say? Well I grew tired of it a long time ago too, so that makes two of us.
Let's have a look at actual quotes that I've seen on comment threads shall we?
"Single Mums are bottom feeding scum."
"NEVER date a single mom. It's always drama."
"Why would I date a single mum when I could have a women without kids?"
"Single mums are stupid, it's their own fault they had a baby with an idiot."
It's not nice to hear, but there's a whole world out there beyond the internet that actually has the audacity to post such things online and think that it is ok. I'm going to get all Millennial about this and say that I'm offended! This is out and out war and I'm not going down without a fight.
The thought occurred to me when I was getting my eyebrows done. Me and the eyebrow lady were talking about dating younger men. I said I wasn't sure I would date a younger man because I was worried what his mother would think about me having kids. She then proceeded to say,
"Yeah. I don't know what I would think if my son brought someone like THAT home."
Cue awkward silence. I guess I had my answer. I refrained from asking, "Someone like what exactly?" (Helpful life hint: Don't piss off your eyebrow lady.)
So it's not just the faceless mass of angry forum users, it's actual people. Everyday people. I wondered how many of these people were hiding around my town. I began to feel like a pariah on a low-key level. Surely it's the 21st century? Surely people don't still think this way? Apparently they do.
Why though? Why are people clinging on to the residual scum of the 1950's societal code? (Women who got pregnant outside of wedlock actually got put into asylums back in those days).
Why is it shameful to have a child and raise it alone? Why do I need a male counterpart? These were all questions I couldn't find any answers to. I couldn't think of one logical answer to any of those questions no matter how hard I tried. Here's what I came up with:
Why is it shameful to have a child and raise it alone? Answer: Polar bears are not ashamed. Why should I be?
Why do I need a male counterpart? Answer: Me and my cardboard cut out of Karl Drogo are doing just fine raising my children thank you.
Ladies. It's time to feel empowered. We need to silence the judgement once and for all. Let's get our degrees, pave our careers, or even be a stay at home mum if that's what we want to do. Motherhood is the essence of being a woman. It's what defines us as a gender. The fact that we can raise our children and "get back to business" as Beyoncé says makes us pretty damn awesome. We need to walk with our heads held high and have confidence that we are multi-faceted, multi-functional human beings. We have endurance, because we've done it alone. We have resilience because we could have given up one hundred times but didn't. We have strength because we walked away from situations that didn't serve us. We know that we aren't going to take shit anymore and that takes guts. We know that life isn't perfect and we roll with the punches. We know that our wedding vows did not mean forever and we've had to be ok with that. We are a silent majority that's swept under the carpet. There's so many of us, enough to form an army of confident, go getting females with great kids. Let's not hide behind the labels and let other people put us down. In the same vein, let's not judge married mums either, because they could be walking in our shoes a year down the line. They could end up feeling the same loneliness and hopelessness that we all go through. Every mother, every woman in fact, is your friend and ally.
Ok so we made mistakes? Let's not be trapped by them. Let's not let other people trap us either. If they judge it says a lot more about what kind of person they are than the kind of person you are. It shows the reach of their intellect (about a centimetre).
I'm going to walk with my head held high. I want you to join me. I'm still going to go to my eyebrow lady by the way, but I can't promise I'll be faithful to her.