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Widows and the 'single mother stigma'

It's an unfortunate and uncomfortable fact that single mothers gets judged, whilst single dads get praised, and for some reason, the first assumption many people make is that it's her fault that she's a single mum (respect to those who are intelligent and mature enough not to make this assumption). Of course, there are individual cases when the shoe fits, but way less than the public judgement assumes.

For widows facing this stereotype is quite painful but they do experience it. After all, no one has it tattooed on their forehead or wears a sandwich board to show the world that they are widows. So no, it's not their fault - I mean even if they were horrible, dying just to get out of the relationship or marriage would seem a bit extreme. And, no, Karen, they don't want to steal your mediocre husband, either.

Most people don't choose to be solo parents (there are exceptions, of course - funnily enough, they get judged, too). We all imagined differently, yet here we are. Of course, it's easy to judge. It's human nature. They might seem disorganized, trying to catch their tails - yeah that's quite normal for someone who is grieving. This kids can be a little more spoiled, coddled and sheltered - that's normal, too. Their house can be a mess or they can struggle - yep, you guessed, it's normal. When trying to stay afloat learning to live without their significant other, without the future they imagined together, all while dealing with their own and their children's grief... Pardon them if keeping the house spotless is not their priority and they show up to school drop off in sweatpants and a messy bun.

In my experience, on multiple occasions, I could see the shift in facial expressions when I disclosed that I'm, in fact, not a single, but a solo, widowed parent: the side eyes and already imagined red flags transformed into pity and often, unsolicited curiosity. People who have judged me just minutes before will praise me for doing such an amazing job on my own.

The question I have here is that why can't we praise every single mother the same way? Weather or not they co-parent, it's hard work, and there are way more amazing single mothers out there than bad apples. Widows should not be forced to disclose their status in order to avoid unwarranted negative opinions. Kindness is free you know.


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