When pregnant, I always wondered why people felt like that gave them carte blanche to ask questions you would never ask a normal person. Like “how big are you?” and “how much have you gained?” It also felt like just because I was pregnant, people felt like that somehow gave them the right to ignore social norms and personal space – specifically when complete strangers would touch my ballooning tummy. I always thought this all was a unique phenomenon associated with pregnancy. I was wrong.
Since getting divorced, I have had a multitude of awkward moments of people putting their foot in their mouth – for instance asking me if they could view my house, since they just assumed I was going to have to sell it (I still live there), or offering to set me up on a date with their son who has two daughter, just loves kids, but never married “either of those women” that he had them with (those were his mom’s words that spewed out of her mouth with a sourpuss look on her face).
I have found my newest, most favorite question of all. “Do they all have the same dad?”
I get a lot of questions asked about my three beautiful children and how I made them, being that my last name is different than theirs (I opted to take back my maiden name). This zinger came from a younger mom (probably in her late twenties) who noted that my daughter’s last name was different than mine and saw my two sons (which she didn’t know their names), which prompted the question.
I had a rush of answers go through my brain at the moment.
‘No, they don’t have the same father, but since I couldn’t figure out which of the thousands and thousands of guys I slept with could be the dad, I just picked a name and gave it to all of them.’
‘No, but they all have the same uncle.’
‘Actually, I hatched them – no father needed.’
and the one I really wanted to tell her: ‘None of your business.’
People seem to get so hung up on who the parents are or who has been with who, they forget to look at the big picture. Regardless of who the father is (which, by the way, they were all conceived during my one and only marriage with EX), why can’t they just look at all three of my kids, see how wonderful and amazing they are, relish in their intelligence, and just be satisfied in knowing that they are being raised right? Even if they all three did have different dads, that wouldn’t make them less of a joy or blessing on this earth.
It’s hard feeling judged. I know there’s not the stigma with single moms that used to be there, but it’s still hard. It’s difficult enough to go to sporting events or school events and see those happy parents who are still together. I feel envious of that. That was the picture I had in my head, all those years ago, as I walked down the aisle. Instead, I sit through school events with EX usually a seat or two behind me, with his girlfriend of the same name, and feel immensely alone as a parent. I can only imagine that other single moms, regardless of how they became single (unexpected pregnancy out of wedlock, divorce, or even those widowed), feel this same slight pang of envy that we don’t get to share those amazing parenting moments, with the other parent of our child. It’s just not the same when you’re not together anymore. It’s hard knowing that they (the kids) will grow up and not know the same happiness and security I recall having, seeing my parents together.
At the same time, every single time I hear my EX raise his voice to our kids, every time I see him bully them, every time I see the disappointment in their eyes when he chooses himself over them – I know that I made the right choice. When I compare where they were emotionally three years ago to where they are now, I thank God that I had the strength and the courage to take this step for us. That is the grace that gets me through those moments of stupid questions or odd looks.
Just remember to be kind and always think before you speak.