This single mothers world does not look like a Tyler Perry movie

As I shared with you several weeks ago, I submitted a piece for the 2014 Chicago Listen to Your Mother show.  And while I was going to wait until closer to Mother's Day to share it with you, a recent episode of Oprah's "Lifeclass" and the release of Tyler Perry's new movie, "The Single Moms Club" has prompted me to share it sooner.

I will first say that I watched Part One of the Lifeclass episode and was shocked and amazed that an entire room of women felt exactly the same way I did!  These panelists shared with Oprah and Iyanla (and special guest, actress Nia Long) how frustrating it is to be a single parent because we are looked down upon and judged.  There is no real sense of community among single mothers - we are all fending for ourselves.  Mothers in general - single or otherwise - are divided, competitive, and general make those of us not on the "inside" feel like crap about ourselves.

It was a powerful discussion, and I am looking forward to Part Two that will air tonight (March 7th) on OWN.  My biggest takeaway was what Iyanla shared about all of these negative feelings we have.  It gave me a whole new perspective on how to "open the door and see myself differently".

So now I share with you my submission, "The Mommy Mean Girls".

When did we become a society of Mommy Mean Girls?  While interacting with each other at our children’s schools and throughout our neighborhoods, when did it become okay to stop being a community that cares and instead become Mean Girls that gossip about each other?  When did it become the norm to ignore, isolate and shit talk each other at every waking moment?  What happened to “It Takes a Village”?  It feels like it has become “It takes a Village as long as your village is full of clones that look and act like me!”

Let’s face it.  Mothering is ROUGH!  Most days I look at my two young daughters, ages five and eight, and legitimately wonder if their goal is to drive me completely insane.  It’s us against them some days – why are we making it Mom against Mom???

I’ll give you a few examples of what I am talking about:

Grammar school drop off and pick up is a Mean Girl fest.  Mothers huddled together in large groups, critiquing everyone that drops off their child – whether they walk or drive.  And if you live within the “respectable” walking distance and you choose to drive your kids to school?  You’ll get the “school moms” AND the “neighborhood moms” all in a tizzy!

Ok, I’ll own that I basically live across the street and drive my kid to school most days.  Am I dressed and ready to start my day after I drop her off?  Absolutely.  BUT WHAT DOES IT MATTER IF I WAS WEARING MY PAJAMAS???  What harm am I doing to you?  I didn’t realize that I was attending a fashion show at 8:00 in the morning.  When was it decided that we were all back in high school, and it was okay to make fun of what other people are wearing?  Is THIS is the example we want to set for our children?

Next, let’s talk about the Single Mom.  At first, the “Single Mom” is the “Separated Mom”.  Tons of sympathy and compassion are showered upon the Separated Mom.  People WANT to know the details.  They NEED to know what happened.   They are concerned about what you and the kids will do now that you have been basically left on the side of the road, homeless and penniless by your spouse.  The “Separated Mom” is a sad and pathetic thing, an object of pity.  REGARDLESS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT IS WHAT THE MOMMY MEAN GIRLS ARE HEARING YOU SAY TO THEM.

Until . . . You officially become the “Single Mom”.  Somehow, overnight, you have become a pariah.  People stop waving back at you when you go to pick up your mail.  Phone calls for play dates go unanswered.  Whispers and snickers follow you at EVERY SINGLE SCHOOL FUNCTION.  Whatever you do – do NOT wear anything form fitting or showing the tiniest bit of cleavage.  Doing so will cause you to be branded a hussy and a wanna-be-husband-stealer in 10 seconds flat.  No one will care what the details were that you shared with them – those have been left on the curb where they say your ex left you.


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