Portrayals of Parenting Solo.

I felt a jiggle in my brain.

It happened as I tossed garbage into the bin at Chapters and the title of an article sitting atop the bin caught my eye. “Selfish Yuppie to Heroic Parent” read the title in yesterday morning’s Globe and Mail. The caption beneath it: “Single mothers used to be irrationally reprimanded, writes Naomi Wolf. An equally unreasonable glorification has now risen around them.”

Damn right said something in my automated brain.

<Screeeeeeech>  I halted mid step – What?????!? What was that thought that sharply slapped something in my subconscious?

I picked up the page and sat down to read the article needing to understand what the article was truly about and what the hell had happened in my brain.

See I bow to single mothers – I can fathom never having a break from my kids on those days that make me yearn for being single again and ruing the day I cooed at blubbering baby; and that is why I hold single mom’s everywhere (and however they came to be single mom’s) in the highest of esteem.

Now, give me a minute to read and get back here….

Allllllllright. You’ll be less interested in knowing that my values and opinions continue to be aligned than I am. I was thrilled not to discover something new about myself today. Frankly, I have neither the energy nor the inclination to deal with a new me.

The opinion piece was about the pendulum swinging from single mother’s being cast as either selfish feminists (those women with money who chose to become mother’s on their own) or “drug dazed sluts” (low income/low education or uber young – and usually minority women who ended up as single mothers) to women being glorified for selecting single-parenthood. The point of the piece being that there ought not be either a stigma to bear nor an ideal to aspire to.

I agree with that. I get Naomi’s point. Afterall, both stereotypes are problematic – to demonize single mom’s threatens a woman’s view of herself, exposes her children to a number of harmful (and erroneous) external and internal represations , and damages the collective attitude towards women. Conversely to exhault single parenthood is to set an expectation or illusion so unrealistic about the experience itself that people too easily become susceptible to the dreaminess and underestimate the sheer magnitude of courage and patience it takes to raise children. Add to this the feelings of failure, crisis of confidence and alienation they’ll feel if they don’t experience themselves living the idealic portrayal of celebrity single mom’s prominent all over media on any given day.

I’ve thought at times – during brief moments characterized by temporary insanity when my entire sentient being was taken hostage by pregnancy hormones  – that it may be easier to raise the girls alone because I wouldn’t have to consider my husbands ideas about parenting.

Then, when the wave of idiocy washed over me my senses returned and I’ve thought two things:

1) My dad is the most exceptional, motivating, healing, loving man a little girl and a young woman could ever ask to have as her father; thank god I had both him and my mom to raise me and to continue to be able to rely on; and

2) My husband is the most exceptional, motivating, healing, loving man my little girls can hope to have as their father.

They are as lucky as I am. Hallelujah and thank god that I am not a single mother and beyond that, that their father is my co-parent in the challenging work that is raising children. Even two as adorable as mine.


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