Things You Should Never Say to a Single Mom

 

Being a single mom is a tough road much of the time. Multiple jobs, endless cleaning, carpooling, balancing budgets, parenting decisions, and little help from others can lead to exhaustion and frustration. So, we thought you single moms out there could use  a good laugh. We love you, honor you, and pray you have an amazing day!

The following are some things you should never say to a single mom. (Moms, I hope I make you smile with some of these!):

1. Will you babysit my kids?

2. Hello, May I speak to the man of the house?

3. I totally understand. Sometimes I feel like a single mom, too, when my husband’s away.

4. Little Johnny needs $25 for a school field trip before Friday.

5. Is it harder to find a date now that you have kids?

6. Did you hear Sally’s man left her, too?

7. You look tired.

Author/speaker, Jennifer Maggio, is one of the nation’s leading authorities on single parents and women’s issues. She is an award-winning author and founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She currently oversees one of the nation’s largest single moms support groups and has helped to launch more than 500 others in churches around the globe. She is a regular on radio and television. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com. 

31 Comments

  1. Tina April 2, 2013 at 2:08 am - Reply

    I will add what my neighbor said when he saw me carrying out my garbage one day…”Oh, I guess when you’re by yourself, you have to take the garbage out yourself”! Awkward moment…I don’t think he meant it to come out like that! I was thinking (1) you could volunteer for the job if you want and (2) when my kids weigh more than the garbage does, they will be taking the garbage out and I won’t have to, thank you very much, and (3) when I was married and living with my husband I took the garbage out 90% or more of the time anyway!

    • Michelle April 3, 2013 at 3:39 pm - Reply

      Hi Tina,

      I’m sorry to hear that. I agree with what you were thinking. Realistically, though, I think most people just cannot understand until they actually experience it, especially with regards to single parenting, divorce, rape, abuse, and death of a loved one. I have come to understand that most people don’t intend to be inconsiderate with their remarks, but rather, out of the awkwardness of silence (especially after making eye contact) say things in ways that end up being quite hurtful. I think many don’t realize that sometimes an awkward silence is better than a hasty remark.
      As a single mother, I have had all seven of those remarks (and many more) said to me at one point or another during this season of my life; but, thankfully God has helped me to replace many of the unhealthy thoughts that entered my mind, that result from the unintended inconsiderate remarks, with His truths. Please keep in mind, I don’t succeed everytime. *laughs*
      I would simply like to encourage you by letting you know that I, along with many others (I’m sure), can understand. I also would like to add to this list as well. If the single mother is also a divorcee, “You just need to get over it and move on with your life,” is probably also a remark you never want to let slip out of your mouth. (Yes, I’m speaking from personal experience.) *smile*
      God Bless!

      • Melissa April 6, 2013 at 8:51 pm - Reply

        This made me laugh but they also hurt. Michelle, I have had that said to me many times. Best one of late was, “You have been single how long? Why in the world haven’t you just remarried already? What’s wrong?”

        • Michelle May 1, 2013 at 6:30 pm - Reply

          Wow, Melissa…I’m sorry. I felt that one all the way over here. (I’m still single and have been for quite some time.) Well, I think it only supports the fact that our society just doesn’t know the TRUTH–God’s truth–that a person’s worth IS NOT based on his/her marital status, role within a family, profession, health, or sin he/she struggles with, but rather on God’s grace and His perfect love.
          Interestingly enough, every time I “feel” lonely, God has reminded me of how much more freedom I have being single. *smile*

      • Jessica July 19, 2013 at 11:04 pm - Reply

        I second your comments, and after doing this single parenting for 6 years some things get easier to deal with sometimes. Some people don’t understand that sometimes a marriage doesn’t end in happily ever after.

        • Michelle July 22, 2013 at 4:58 pm - Reply

          If I may add to your last comment, Jessica:

          I honestly believe that God did not intend for marriage to make us happy. I believe that He intended marriage to make us HOLY…and when a marriage gets to the point where it is making us UNHOLY, I believe God allows it (not causes it) to end.

          Here’s a couple places in the Bible that speak of marriage making us holy, clean, sanctified… 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 speaks of it being better for the unmarried and widowed to stay unmarried, BUT, if they cannot control themselves (stay sexually pure), they should marry… because that is only HOLY in a marriage covenant.

          1 Corinthians 7:14, speaks about sanctification through marriage: “For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.”

          And many of us should be familiar with the story about Hosea and Gomer…

          The Bible never promises a “happliy ever after” once you marry…in fact, it specifically states that there WILL BE struggles: 1 Corinthians 7:28,
          “But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.”

          Our happily ever after IS promised, however, for the day we meet Jesus face to face in our REAL home in heaven. *smile* Therefere, persevere, until then.

  2. Angie April 7, 2013 at 11:17 pm - Reply

    Michelle Obama was quoted as saying that she is a busy single mother. So you’re telling me that they only have staff support for the President and his wife? As my teenager would say, “Mom, you’re being to dramatic!”

    My church family told that my daughter doesn’t attend services anymore because I don’t make her and don’t wait for a response for me to explain.

    I’ve also been told that my daughter isn’t walking the walk because when daughters don’t have their fathers in their life they turn away from God.
    They continued to say that illegitimate children, (my daughter is not), will suffer in their lives and have trust issues.

    People don’t understand that she is going through some mental and hormonal issues that could be caused by hereditary mental disease passed on from her dad’s mother and sisters. So not only does she have the genetic form of mental instability to deal with, she has the absence of her father too.

    Never judge a book by it’s color.

    • Bonita July 5, 2013 at 3:57 am - Reply

      I have taught my kids from day one that their daddy is only a prayer away.

      • Denise July 4, 2014 at 7:10 am - Reply

        That is beautiful! And so true, there true daddy is only a prayer away… That so encouraged me and I love the way that you presented that, I am sure it gives them comfort as well. I am going to borrow that one from you I believe. That is great advice!

  3. Rebekah April 9, 2013 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    Its always hurtful when people refer to my daughter as my “situation!” People don’t realize the hurtful things they say.

    • Michelle May 1, 2013 at 6:37 pm - Reply

      So true…but, the truth is…unfortunately, many also just don’t know what else to say and aren’t comfortable with silence. Come to think of it, I’m thinking that depending on how close we are the person(s) making these hurtful comments, we might have a “duty” to point these things out to them…at least to let them know how it makes us feel. Otherwise, they may never know and it may eventually create resentment, if it hasn’t already. If anything, at least you’d know that you’ve done your part in trying to reach a mutual understanding. *smile*

  4. Brittany April 30, 2013 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    Things you should never say to a ‘teenage’ single mom:

    1. But you are so young…

    2. He’s yours?

    3. How old are you? And how old is your son? (Silently, trying to do the math in their head)

    It used to bother me when people would just come out and ask me these questions. But I am proud of myself for the decision/ decisions I continue to make for my child and through God’s grace I am forgiven and new.

    • Michelle May 1, 2013 at 6:45 pm - Reply

      Hi Brittany, I praise you for making the choice I was too ignorant to make myself. I am proud of you for knowing who you are in Christ and for doing all that you can do to make right choices for you and your child. Please don’t be disappointed or discouraged when you slip up in the future; we all do and will. It’s not about making NO mistakes, but about learning from them and quickly bouncing right back up to continue your walk along the righteous path. *smile*

  5. Denise May 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    These are too funny YET so real! I can’t stand a woman who has a spouse who says they are a single mother. Seriously?! You stay home; he works, and you’re saying you’re doing it all alone?! Get real! Thanks for the laugh! 🙂

    • TJ May 3, 2013 at 3:43 pm - Reply

      Yes that is one thing I hate!!! When my married friend’s husbands have to travel out of town for several days. And their response is well I am single mom now …. not by a long shot!!! When issues arise you STILL have your husband to talk with – over the phone, text, e-mail etc. When I have a parenting issues that arise …. I talk to … well me and God! And while God always has the answer I would really love for another person to be standing there. Oh and my “single” married moms don’t even work full-time outside of the house!

      • Lizzy May 5, 2013 at 2:08 pm - Reply

        I relate to all of the above comments – thanks ladies for your honesty! Now we just need to forward them all onto our ‘single mum’ married girlfriends that don’t have to work or worry about ever having to that are so so tired all the time – yeah right, whatever! xx

    • Jessica July 19, 2013 at 11:07 pm - Reply

      Lol add to the list stay at home mom with a nanny and still complaining.

  6. Michelle May 6, 2013 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    If I may provide a different perspective…for those women married to miliary men, who’s husbands’ deploy for several MONTHS even YEARS at a moment’s notice…who may not work outside of the home; but, may carry a large burden as well with respect to making decisions on their husbands’ behalf, perhaps via a power-of-attorney, those who may be forced to repeatedly “tame” the chaos in their households, every time daddy has to leave, has to break his promise, misses a birthday, maybe even Christmas…perhaps, some have 7 children, and others have 4 of their own and 4 adopted ones…and then there are those who were blessed with 3 “special” children that require special care…the list goes on.

    The point that I’m trying to make is that God never gives us more than we can handle…for some women, 2 days on their own is tough…for others, it may be a piece of cake. Sometimes we get so caught up in focusing on our own struggles that we forget that our struggles will always feel like their harder than others…UNTIL we actually step into someone else’s shoes.

    Either way, whatever your circumstance…there is a purpose for the season that you’re in…and that purpose is ALWAYS for the benefit of someone who will one day cross your path, who is going through what you have already overcome, who is in need of encouragement…yes, your encouragement.

    My former-husband’s job kept him deployed over 200 days out of EVERY year…some of my neighbors actually thought I had been making him up because they had never seen him. *laughs* He missed many birthdays, Christmases, and many other “special” occasions. There were both advantages and disadvantages to our way of “living;” but, when I look back now, I realize that all those years were simply preparing me for this season when I would “officially” become a single mother. I find it much easier because my children are much older now; but, every now and then, I still run into the “I don’t agree with your parenting style” opinions of family, friends, and strangers. God knows I’m doing the best that I can so I just Let Go and Let God.

    A little humor…

    PRO TO BEING A SINGLE MOTHER: You no longer have to answer to anyone, but, God.
    CON: You are the HEAD of the household, which means that you must answer to God with all the decisions you make–good and bad.

    PRO TO BEING A MARRIED SINGLE MOTHER: Your husband must answer to God with ALL decisions made in your household whether he makes them or you make them in his absence.
    CON: Your husband is the HEAD of the household, which could trump your decisions from time to time. Good decision, great! Bad decision, sorry, you have to support him regardless.

    • Jennifer Maggio May 6, 2013 at 5:59 pm - Reply

      Just wanted you to know we honor your husband’s service to our country AND….The Life of a Single Mom Ministries encourages the churches we work with to include the spouses of deployed military as part of their single mothers group, as we consider you parenting alone for a season. God bless!

    • Megan June 29, 2013 at 2:02 pm - Reply

      Michelle, that is a great perspective. My ex husband was deployed for 3 out of 5 years of our marriage (Really it was 2 of 3 years that we were together. The last 2 years our marriage we were separated which included the 3rd deployment). I always felt that I was a single mom, but like you said, it was just preparing me for actually being a single mom.

  7. Alice July 1, 2013 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    Loved reading all the comments. I, too, am a single mother, separated when my daughter was about two and a half, divorced by the time she was five. My daughter is now 27.

    It’s been 15+ years and I still hear and feel the emotion caused by word or action as if it was just yesterday.

    Except for other single parents, usually women, I received lip service from almost everyone, at church or anywhere else. Back then there weren’t even “oil change” days for single moms. I remember hearing the pastors or other church leaders calling for men of the congregation to “adopt” a single parent child. I was approached a few times, usually by women, but there was never follow through. I can understand a man feeling a little awkward approaching me about spending time with my daughter, but even men with a family, kids of their own, never offered.

    One person mentioned someone asking her why she hadn’t remarried. I remember one very… hurtful comment made in my presence by a pastor to several men of a bible study group I had only been attending a short while. He spoke about a very attractive young single mother, new to the group, who was still single and not in any relationship. He told the other men present something had to be wrong with her if that was her situation otherwise she would have a men pursuing her.

    She had to be defective? It had to be something about her that was in need of repair? Maybe she’d been deeply hurt by her ex, emotional, mentally, or physically. How could he possibly know what she may have been recovering from! How dare they assume like that!

    By this point I’d been a single mother five plus years. I was nowhere near as good looking or young as the girl they maligned. Surely I must be defective only more so, more negative factors working against me. What hope did I have? Having them discuss her like that right in front of me, as though I wasn’t there, was so devastatingly belittling and discouraging.

    For many, many years, I felt like a second class Christian because I was a single parent. Few bothered to ask how it happened. Not that it should matter why or how, but no one asked. They just assumed I divorced because I didn’t want to keep trying, or didn’t try hard enough; it was in some way my fault though. That was the unspoken but very tangibly communicated belief. The few who either asked or in whom I confided learned the truth and treated me differently after that. Should it have made a difference though? Frustrating, then and now sometimes.

    I’ve long ago forgiven those who ignorantly said hurtful things, but I have not forgotten the pain of those thoughtless comments.

    To those of you blessed with a spouse, regardless of what you know or don’t know, or do or don’t understand about single-parenthood, don’t just give lip service. If you are going to help, do it. If you can’t commit to that it’s better to remain silent. To those of you who think you want to help the single parents in your sphere of influence, don’t start if you don’t intend to finish. This isn’t a one time event, it’s a commitment. You’re not just doing some THING, you are touching some ONE; a woman and her child(ren) or a man and his child(ren). People. People for whom Christ died. How will you touch them? Will you throw stones? Will you stop to stare and move on? Will you stop to help them get to their feet again but move on and leave them alone again? Or will you stop, bind up their wounds, take the time to learn their story, help where you can? I’m not saying you need do things for them necessarily. What I am trying to say is, stand with them. Don’t just slip them a $20 after a service and never do more. Stick it out. Be there for them. Ask them regularly how they are doing, what they need. And please, don’t just offer to keep them in prayer. Yes that is so, so important, but so is tangible assistance.

    I hope I have not sounded bitter. I hope I’m not bitter! But I also hope we can change our mindset, preconceived ideas about not only single parenthood, but about others who are different than we are or what we think a person should or shouldn’t be, Christian or not.

    Thanks for letting me speak my heart.

    • Michelle July 2, 2013 at 2:56 pm - Reply

      Alice,

      I couldn’t have said it better. Thank you for sharing your heart. Unfortunately, on this side of Heaven, we will continue to experience pain (as all of you know).

      God has an interesting way of teaching us (revealing the truth, if you will) about others’ life experiences.

      “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3-4 NIV).

      I think that sometimes when we fail to make an effort to try to understand someone else’s struggle, God places “a thorn in (our) side” to either remind us of our need for His grace or to show us (reveal the truth) about that person’s struggle. In other words, we may find ourselves personally experiencing that same struggle at some point in our future. See, even if we cannot understand another’s struggle, I believe we are called to still accept it as their struggle and offer our support (prayer, encouragement, comfort, etc.), rather than condemn–“there must be something wrong with him/her.”

      I’ve struggled for a long time to accept what I could not understand. Then, God revealed the truth to me through my experiences with my two closest Christian friends. Now, I’m finding it easier to just accept things as they are and to let God be God. I guess you can say, I finally let go of my need to be “responsible” for everyone around me–for the time being, that is. *smile*

      May God bless all of you abundantly.

  8. Laura July 2, 2013 at 2:24 am - Reply

    I dropped my children off yesterday with their dad for 2 weeks. Today I decided I wanted to paint the living room, so I did. Later this week I will finish building a gate on my side yard. It would be really easy to have a man do it, but the feeling of accomplishment I get from doing these things by myself trumps the “sit back and watch him do it” attitude. Besides, its really NOT rocket science to take care of a home, inside and out.

    • Michelle July 2, 2013 at 3:39 pm - Reply

      Laura,

      I’m glad to hear that you are enjoying various “projects” around the house. I, also, decorated my new place with bright colors, pictures, inspriational wall art, and etc. a few years ago and I have to say, it feels awesome to finally feel like I have a home–a place I can retreat to and feel comfortable and safe. I, too, being the oldest of 3 daughters who was raised by her father, am fully capable of maintaining my household of 3, our yard, our vehicle, my career, and much, much more.

      But, one thing that I’ve learned through experience (and reading various books written by Christian authors) is that women are capable of doing it all (except for maybe one obvious thing) and most men are FULLY aware of this. BUT…God designed men to protect and provide, and God designed women to nurture and support. Men WANT to be needed. Women NEED to be needed. See, women generally will put themselves in a position to be needed/useful. In other words, we typically step in and assume position (whether it’s our to assume or not) if things don’t get done. Men, on the other hand, WANT to be given that position by being asked to fulfill that position. In other words, they don’t take it. So if a woman never asks a man to do anything for her, he may not…and eventually, he may feel as though he is not needed…and unfortunately, leave.

      So what am I saying? If you’d like to have a good Godly man in your life, LET him (ask him to, even if you think you can do it better, faster, or the right way the first time) do the things that he was naturally designed to do and watch him do that and offer to do more. Men LOVE to be praised so the more you praise him (sincerely), the more he’ll do for you.

      Now, if you’re completely content being single (as some of us are called to be), that’s great, too. As Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 7:34, “an unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.” There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with the single life.

      So, yes, Laura, it isn’t rocket science to take care of a household with or without children. But, I honestly believe that God’s purpose for marriage (if it’s your calling) has absolutely nothing to do with that. If I may suggest some reading material that will most likely explain it a lot better than I could:

      “Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy ” by Gary Thomas

      and

      “7 Things He’ll Never Tell You: . . . But You Need to Know” by Kevin Leman

      I hope you’re not feeling as if I’ve stepped on your toes or anthing. I only wanted to share my thoughts. God bless you, Laura!

  9. Jan July 15, 2013 at 11:58 am - Reply

    Alice, things haven’t really changed in 27 years. I have been wanting to write a letter to our church bringing to light some of those things. It’s funny. I have Christian families all around me. We all attend different churches with simalar beliefs. Yet, not one of the men has asked me if they can mow my grass or fix my garage door or fence that one of their kids messed up. Yet all three of them has invited me to a church function at their church. Why would I want to visit? I mean, chances are I would decline their offers for assistance, but can’t they ask? I have a hard time doing it all. The kids help, but they are maxed out with dual enrollment and music lessons, so they can’t always help at the time it is needed. Add in church functions and they are away a lot. I had to leave the first church I was in because I had been divorced for 18 months and still not dating. A rumor was started that I had to be gay. Yes, I am serious. Because the pastor wouldn’t address the wife that started the rumor, I left. I personally think it was because that family was more valuable and less of an overall burden than mine. It was just easier to keep them happy. The last thing my kids needed to hear was trash on their mother. So, we went to a different church. Some of the trash followed us. How does a church expect my family to make it when they act like they do toward us. Is it so they can gloat when one of my kids fail or when I fail? Sometimes I really wonder.

  10. Alice July 16, 2013 at 4:12 am - Reply

    Jan,

    I’m so sorry you endured not only the false accusation but such a response from your pastor on top of it all. What’s even more discouraging to me is that if the single parent in question had been a man that same group would have been lauding his dedication to his children and trying to find him a new wife instead of telling each other he was gay because he hadn’t remarried and wasn’t dating. Yeah, single parents AND women. Must be somthing wrong with us.

    I hope you find a wonderful caring loving church home, one that is supportive and genuinely helpful.

    Blessings to you!

  11. Denise July 4, 2014 at 7:22 am - Reply

    I had someone (a former single mom who had remarried), which is why I think it hurt even more, “You mean you are still not remarried”? I did not know what to say except, no I am not. I know she did not mean harm by it, but I do not think we can put time limits on God’s works in our lives. I was strong enough in my walk with the Lord at that time that it did not break me and I got over it quickly as we are not to be easily offended. But had I been a new single mom to the church or a baby Christian I am sure it could have done some damage. Just need to be sensitive and think about our words, they can bring life or death.

  12. Dana Osinga July 4, 2014 at 7:29 am - Reply

    This made me smile. I also have to add that people have different feelings towards single moms if they know you are the one who sought divorce or separation. They judge before knowing there might have been verbal, emotional or physical abuse involved. Most just don’t understand unless they have been there.

  13. Renee Williams July 4, 2014 at 9:46 am - Reply

    Oh the comments I have heard. You need to find a man (aka have sex). Please, I would never bring a man into the lives of my sweet girls until I knew for sure that he was a Godly man with good intentions. Then, it would still take time for me to take that risk. One man has already shown them how he can’t be trusted and depended upon. God is faithful, men are human and have self will rendering them fully capable of making bad choices.

    Unfortunately mine decided it would be better to go out and get drunk and do drugs and monetarily abandon his family, than to be a husband and father. Sleeping with someone else, and bringing them into our home were the straws that broke this camel’s back. Forget the fact that this all came down while I was pregnant with our second.

    I know that God always has a plan, and I know that everything happens for a reason. I have come to believe that even if this path has been difficult, it is the one that God has wanted us on. I am done looking back, and look with joy and anticipation to our future. I have two beautiful little girls, a new degree, a new job and a new extended (not blood) family and friends. We are healthy, happy and loved. My girls know God and ask for worship music at bed time every night. My five year old even knows the difference between the quiet voice of God and the loud voice of the world.

    I don’t know that any of those things would have happened any other way. So, when people make comments like the ones above, I am able to shake my head, and let them roll off my back like the water off a duck’s back. I only need the love and approval of my God, not of any man or woman. I am blessed, I am strong in the lord, and I am loved. I need nothing more. (now want is another story!)

  14. Amanda April 6, 2015 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    This made me chuckle and reminded me of a funny story that happened last summer.

    My dad bought me a lawn mower and taught me how to mow my lawn. I was 25 at the time and my dad had been doing it for me for the past two years and it was time for me to learn. One sunny morning I drug my newly refurbished lawn mower from my shed in the back yard and was trying to crank it up to mow the forest that had grown in my yard. After struggling to get it cranked for about 15 minutes I noticed my neighbor across the street in his garage laughing at me (who never offered any assistance by the way) I ended up giving up and calling my dad to my rescue. This same guy has laughed at me pushing my garbage can to my curb for trash pick up and a few other instances that I have endured as both a single mom and home owner.

    • Michelle April 13, 2015 at 2:16 pm - Reply

      Wow, Amanda. I’m sorry to hear that. It’s sad that we have so many “lost” men that don’t have a clue as to what it means to be a man, in my opinion. I find myself very fortunate to have a wonderful grandfather who lives next door who offers regularly to mow our back yard because he has a riding mower. My sons and I usually take care of our yard (both front and back); but, sometimes the weather doesn’t permit us to get it done on the weekends–the only days we can get to it–and it turns into a field. Hang in there, Amanda. God will bring a Godly man into your life one day, if that is what your heart truly desires. =)

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