Don’t Give Me the Look

Recently, one of the boys  had an orthodontist appointment.  I gathered up all the kids and off we went.  The orthodontist explained a treatment plan he was recommending and as with orthodontic work it was going to be expensive, “OK” I said “have you got another set of those pamphlets, I’ll have to let his father know and get back to you”. He looked at me, one child sitting in the chair and 3 others hanging off me “you do all of this by yourself?” and then there it was ……. The look!

It’s hard to explain the look, it’s part pity and part “are you insane?”.  Either way, don’t give it to me. Yes, I know from the outside my life looks insane but I really do have it all under control.  I know, you see me walking into your office or business, kids everywhere – yes, one of the kids will break something, another will spill something, someone will poop their pants and if you’re lucky one of them might even vomit.  But don’t ever pity me, I am living the dream, shaping future men, having the time of my life.

It’s actually quite funny, the reaction you get from strangers when they find out you’re a single Mum with a lot of kids.  It’s always the same “Oh, you must be busy” or “You’ve got your hands full” – no shit Sherlock, like I haven’t heard that before!!! And the usual “I don’t know how you do it” …. Well I actually wasn’t given a choice so I just suck it up and handle it. On the very rare occasion someone will come up to me and say quietly – “You’re doing an amazing job”, these comments, well they make my heart smile and my eyes cry.  As single Mums, we don’t hear enough of these comments.

There is a huge amount of stigma attached to being a single Mum especially one with a lot of kids.  I feel the need to constantly tell people “they all have the same father” or “their father and I were married”, I’m not sure why I feel that, I guess I don’t want people to judge me.  Not that it matters what a complete stranger thinks but you know what I mean.

Being a single Mum is one of the most rewarding experiences but it is also isolating. There are times when I’m left out by family or friends.  When people feel like they don’t want to bother or burden me because I have so much going on – when in reality I don’t.  Bother me, please. I WANT to hear about your problems, I WANT to talk to you.  Yes, it’s going to be a chat with one or 2 kids hanging off me but please don’t leave me out.  Please don’t make me think that I am not worthy of conversation or being included simply because I’m a single Mum.  This makes me feel like less of a person.

I am still a person, I can still give you advice.  I still want to do things, I like to go out, I like to chat to other adults from time to time. Just because I am buried knee deep in children doesn’t mean I don’t want to do those things.  There are days where I long to do those things but there are also days I ignore my phone and messages because I am so immersed in the children.  Balance! ….. or maybe the orthodontists look was right, maybe it’s insanity!

I guess the one thing anyone should know about single Mums, yes, our lives might seem overwhelming to you, yes there is chaos and yes we sacrifice a lot but please do not pity us. Please include us because just like you, we are people as well.  We have feelings, we have opinions and we sure as hell don’t need to be boxed in to the category of “too much going on to be of any help” and if you see a Mum, doing it tough, kids everywhere, regardless of if she’s single or attached, go up to her and quietly say “you’re doing an amazing job”, it’ll make her day x

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  • “You must have your hands full” is one of my favourites. As a single mom of twins I usually get a comment like “I don’t know how you do it” or “I could never do it”. sometimes I say thank you, sometimes I give a little talk on why they are amazing raising children at different stages. But what I want to do is an exaggerated reaction by falling on the floor blubbering that they are right, it is impossible why should I even try – I think people will start keeping their comments to themselves.

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