What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s post is by an anonymous reader. If you are new around here, this is usually a weekly series, but for the next few weeks it will be a daily feature.
I’m a single mom. I’ve never been on welfare. I wasn’t promiscuous. I don’t need your hand-me-down baby clothes that reek of spit-up and are so covered in stains and gaping holes that you should be embarrassed for not just throwing them away. Thanks though.
I’m an attorney. I’m in my thirties. This baby is my first. I stay at home with her because I’m committed to giving her the most secure attachment I can. I work ten hours a week from home, mostly when she’s sleeping, and I make six figures a year doing that. I know and love Jesus. I’ve been a Christian for over ten years. I have three Compassion children. I don’t go to church anymore because I can’t stand the stares.
I was married to her father. He had some serious and unforeseen mental health issues early in the pregnancy and decided to leave us. He has never met the baby and he doesn’t support her. He told me he’d rather I abort her because he wasn’t ready to be a father. I didn’t. I couldn’t.
So I’m single. You’ll see me walking in the grocery store or the gym with the baby in a sling. You saw me when my stomach was enormous and I wasn’t wearing a wedding ring. Please stop assuming I need your pity, your vomit-encrusted hand-me-downs, and your judgment. I can hear you whispering about me. I am smart enough to understand the subliminal pokes in your back-handed pretend-adoration of my daughter (“she’s so happy even though she doesn’t have a daddy” – Seriously.). You don’t know my story. You don’t know that I probably have more education, more income, more savings, and more ability to provide materially and emotionally for this child than you do. More importantly, you don’t know that I torture my own self lamenting over the fact that she doesn’t have a dad and praying that someday soon she will, or that I would have done anything, short of ending her life, to save my marriage. So please stop asking me how I’m going to tell her about her “dad.” It’s really none of your business, and it’s just rude.
What I need, if anything, is your friendship. I have plenty of great friends, but if you feel the need to poke your nose in my life then, by all means, get to know me. Stop using every opportunity you see to remind me that I’m a single mom. I’m just a mom! I have the same sleep-deprived, can’t-remember-when-I-last-showered, need-coffee-now, crazy, sweet, I-adore-this-baby-so-much-my-heart-might-burst life that you do in a lot of ways. Bond with me at music class and baby yoga and swim class, instead of always making comments about how hard my life must be, or how you don’t know how I do it, or blessing my heart. Invite me to things. Don’t be so awkward around me. I’ve reinvented my law practice and much of my life to welcome this child. I’ve worked really hard and been really blessed. You don’t need to pity me. Let’s just be mommy friends, because I’m just a mom. Even though I’m single.