Writers never know what is going to connect, resonate, please, and/or anger readers. Staying Single (Part One) achieved that. First, I want to declare the reason for the title since that is just one point of anger from my critics. I am a writer. I want readers. I choose titles that are honest to the content of my columns but I also choose ones I think will draw interest. I am no different than ANY television newscast, newspaper, book, or Hollywood. To be quite clear, I am NOT apologizing for my title choice.
I do want to clarify things that were either assumed or misinterpreted as well as share some of the comment “highlights.”
Many things in life are what I call “ideals,” things we as individuals or as a society strive to achieve. An “ideal” is just that – something ideal but not necessarily good or possible for everyone. One ideal I believe in is a two-parent household, ideally with a husband and wife. My belief is that the institution of marriage has been around for a long time, for good reason, and doesn’t need reinvention. I’ll leave the whole gay marriage discussion to others since I’m not taking a position on that in this discourse. And, to be clear, I’ve wonderful gay friends and think of them as NO different than any other person – good or bad as each individual may be.
Staying single may be exactly the right thing for any single person, parent or not. But, my assertion is that it can become a “badge of honor” and some women, in my experience, have worn that badge as a sort of martyr. My suggestion is that they rethink that position because sometimes their role as sole parent can become suffocating on their kids and, as stated in the original column, denies themselves a life.
The more fulfilled we are as individual parents, the more we can give to our kids – in my opinion. Yes, there are circumstances when we have to put our lives on hold. Lots of them. And, I commend any single parent who puts their own needs behind pressing ones of their kids, especially if the other parent is absent or abusive in any way. Sometimes, financial pressures are overwhelming and time to date or otherwise do things we might want to are impossible. I get that.
Let’s look at some of the comments made in the first column, excerpted, and with my replies following:
From Kelli: You can model many ways to your children that your life is important, that you can have fun, and that your life matters all the while being single. Bruce: Yes, of course you can, but is this the best thing for your kids if you can date and/or hopefully meet a good partner?
From Ted: All depends upon circumstance, and individual concerns.
From Lori: … my kids are traumatized enough and need the stability of their life with me being a constant. Bruce: Understood, but why does this mean you can’t go out?
From Daisy: Frankly, it has been very difficult for me to find anyone whom is remotely interested in a relationship involving someone else’s children. Cliche, yes, but it fits. Bruce: It’s work to date. I met my wife online and she expressed how so many of her friends just gave up. Daisy, give it another shot, please?
From Lori: Most of the comments are from defensive people putting on the boxing gloves. I think each individual can ponder deep inside as to why they responded the way they did. There is a lesson to be learned here if you choose. Bruce: Exactly. I am not attacking single moms. I am actually hoping to help them rethink their behavior if it makes sense in their particular circumstance.
From Griffin: Single dad here with full custody of a teen. I’ve got this single mom friend who is smart and sexy as hell but has remained single for a very long time. …Although she never complains about being single or about everything that goes along with it, she rarely goes out or does things that don’t involve her children. She’s always got an excuse, as it’s always something with the children or her work. To some extent I think she may even use this so-called “single mom martyr status” to keep the guys at bay. Bruce: Yes, that may be a reason she chooses to stay single – it’s scary. It may be easier NOT to go out and I think many single moms take that stance!
From Jennifer in response to Griffin: Do you even realize how deeply embedded your anti-female, one-sided, and clearly emotional (not evidenced-based) your view points are? Bruce: I don’t see any of Griffin’s comment as anti-female or one-sided. I wonder why this touched such a nerve with you?
From SAHD Who Wants a Good Woman: Hello, I’m a SAHD and I’m so sick and tired of moms, Moms, MOMS! It takes two to make a baby and it takes two if you’re lucky to raise ’em! My wife left – drug addict – and left me with debt, and two girls. Try being a guy raising girls without a mom – especially when it comes to “that time!” Try being the only guy at elementary school with the PTA and all the cliques of moms. Bruce: I wish you the best of luck. When in the media do we EVER hear this kind of story? Yes, it is a bit too much moms at times!
From Heather: Wow! I am not sure what is more exciting, the title, the article, or the commentary.
From Kasie: Calling a single mother a MARTYR is wrong. Period. If she wants to complain to get attention, there’s probably a reason for that (she isn’t getting enough attention or support). If she doesn’t want to date or keep herself open to date, not only is that OKAY, but it’s really none of your business. Bruce: When I last looked we still have 1st Amendment rights. You have every right to disagree with me just as I have every right to express my opinion!
From Kristen: I am not a single mother, however, I have worked alongside and been/am close friends with single mothers. There have been the martyrs and the ones who truck along, trying to do the best they can for themselves and their kids without wanting any recognition and making no excuses. I believe that Bruce is targeting this towards all the women who want the pity party, who use being a single mom as either a crutch or a “give me a pat on the back” to their benefit, switching between the two when it will benefit them the most. Bruce: That is exactly what I was trying to do!
And, another from Kasie: This blog is so far from wisdom and truth. I have a heart for single moms, you obviously don’t. Do you know how much guilt they carry from not being in a relationship! Bruce: Yeah, I have no heart for single moms.
And, yet another from Kasie: The girls are getting their dating advice from Cosmo and quacks like you, who can just spout off whatever lame idea they have based off their own false theories and call themselves a guru, thereby alienating and adding more guilt and shame to all single women in the process. Bruce: Is name-calling what you do with anyone who you don’t agree with? Does that move forward ANY discussion (e.g. Washington, D.C.).
Okay, now it’s your turn to weigh in? What do you think about all of this?
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