You’re Not a Real Single Mom

Originally posted at Mommy My Way and again on Huffington Post.

circle nikkiby Nikki Stephens, blog owner and writer at Mommy My Way  is a 25 year old single working mom to baby boy Zaylen. She believes that just because her way is a little hard it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Find Nikki on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

I was recently “mansplained” how there are real single moms and then there are single moms who claim the title. Ya know the type of single mom I’m referring to? No, you don’t? That’s OK because I didn’t either. I am a single mom. I have never been married and my son’s father is not in the picture at all. I don’t receive child support and I do it all on my own. I bare all of the financial responsibility and am the sole provider for my family. I am a real single mom, at least that’s what I’m told.

What Is A “Real” Single Mom?

Apparently women who:
1. Are not currently in a relationship with the father of their child, but who have an involved and supportive baby daddy, are not allowed to call themselves single mothers.
2. Are not in a relationship with the father of their child and receive child support are not allowed to call themselves single mothers.
3. Have a positive relationship with the father of their child, regardless of his level of involvement, are not allowed to call themselves single mothers.
4. Chose to conceive without a father or significant other are not allowed to call themselves single mothers.

nikki guest pic

I guess I wasn’t aware that ‘single mother’ was synonymous with ‘struggling alone.’ I didn’t realize that being a single mom meant I had to be struggling at all.

This explains quite a bit though really. I was wondering why the first thing out of people’s mouths is, “I’m so sorry to hear that” after they find out I’m a solo parent. I was wondering why I received the sad, pity-filled looks as I spoke about my life. I now understand that this is all because I’m a real single mom and being a single mom equals pain.

nikki guest pic 2

Newsflash! I’m pretty freaking happy with my life. I didn’t think I needed to shout it from the roof tops, but I guess I should at least once for people to truly see I’m good with my circumstances.

But what’s most concerning is not that I’m looked at with pity, no the real concern is that all of these single mothers out here are being treated like trash for claiming a title that other people don’t think they have the right to hold.

nikkie guest pic 3

I’m sorry but when did being a single mother become some medal of honor that women are jumping at the opportunity to call themselves such? If a woman is single and also a mother, then I truly hate to break it to you, but she is a really real single mom and she doesn’t need your approval to say so.

I don’t care if she splits her parenting time right down the middle and shares all of the responsibility: financial, emotional or otherwise. If she is single and raising a child she can refer to herself as a single mom.

I don’t care if she gets $2,000 or more a month in child support and treats herself to a pedicure every other week. If she is single and raising a child, she is a single mom.

I am so incredibly tired of the stereotypes women are placed into relating to the type of mother they are. You are not HER so stop judging her.

And if you need anymore proof that being a real single mom comes in all forms and fashions… here are just a few real life, real single moms:


ROSE is a single mom to a 16 month old. She has a great friendly relationship with her daughter’s father and he helps out financially whenever he can.

Photo submitted by Rose Evans


STACY is a single mom. She is a widow of Correctional Officer Joel Ramos.  They have three beautiful children Joel Jr. 10, Natalie 8, and Alexis 2.

Photo submitted by Nicole Diele with permission by Stacy Ramos. Photo taken by Kayla Tapley of Merced, CA.
Photo submitted by Nicole Diele with permission by Stacy Ramos. Photo taken by Kayla Tapley of Merced, CA.


JENNIFER is a single mom. Her son’s father is on active duty in Korea and has never met his son nor does he wish to.

Photo submitted by Jennifer North
Photo submitted by Jennifer North

Are you convinced yet? We are all real single moms and no man (or woman) is going to tell me we aren’t. All moms rule whether they have a good man helping them raise their children or not.





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23 Comments on What Is a ‘Real’ Single Mom Anyway?

  1. Great post Nikki! It baffles me why people are so concerned with something that they have no experience with. It’s like they’re trying to find something to shame others in order to make themselves feel better. Single moms, live the life you want…however that looks to you!

  2. This is so awesome. We need to get past trying to label everyone (and using labels to define, reward or condemn people) and start just being accepting that we are all different, we are all special, and we all rock regardless of which “label” society defines us

  3. You know, I was a single mom. And it was hard. Dang hard but I didn’t wear that as a badge of honour. It was what it was. She was 6 months old when he disappeared from our lives and we got a whopping $100 a month in child support that he lorded over our heads like it was a million dollars. I was a mom and she was my daughter. We made it work our way. I wish society would stop defining people we don’t all fit into nice perfect little boxes.

  4. Totally agree with your definition, but don’t misunderstand that look of pity… we nonsingle moms who barely get dressed everyday realize we could never do what you do alone! It’s more a look of, damn, I could never do it all! Thank goodness I have help! 🙂 Some people are never happy unless they are making people unhappy.

  5. I’ve never thought there are many consideration before someone can be called as a single mom. All the labels toward women doesn’t make any sense. If she’s single with a child -regarding she receive support or not from the father of the child- she’s a single mom. That’s it!

  6. Ugh. You know, “single mom” is pretty self-explanatory – you’re a mom and you’re single. That’s it. Anything else someone tries to put into it is just their way of being judgemental.

  7. This is well said! I have heard of this before and it always makes me sad that woman aren’t more supportive. Anyone who does parenting on their own needs help not to be told they aren’t a single mom.

  8. I feel like I hear the word “mansplain,” more and more these days. You would think in 2016 we poor women wouldn’t need a man to explain how this work or what our lives are or aren’t. I’m over it. There are lots of different types of single moms and dads out there; doesn’t mean one’s situation is better or worse than any other.

  9. I know women who are raising their children any many different situations without their child’s father. I never thought of some being real “single moms” and some not being.

  10. Here’s my two cents on this: moms need to uplift other moms. Period. They don’t need to define anyone else’s “singleness” they just need to offer support.

  11. I had no idea there was such a negative connotation to being a single mom. I was raised by a single mom, and she is the most important role model in my life! Cheers to you!

  12. Zaylen is going to be so proud of you! I don’t care about labels and who is allowed to be called what. I just know that when the job of two people is done by one, it’s hard. I’m glad you are ok with it. Cheers to you!

    • I agree about the labels! For some reason our culture feels comfortable putting everyone in a neat little box. I think Nikki is amazing for just enjoying every moment with her son despite how others want to categorize her!

  13. I didn’t realize any of this either. I certainly think that any mom who is taking care of her child without the father, is a single mom. Sometimes I don’t understand why people feel the need to downplay a mom’s role in her child’s life.

  14. I didn’t realize there was a stereotype or any sort of negativity around being a single mother. I find it hard to juggle everything myself, and I can only imagine the challenges of doing it all on my own.

  15. This is a great post, and I love how Nikki gave ‘shout outs’ to other Moms and pointed out their unique characteristics. Me personally, I don’t associate the title ‘single Mom’ with struggling…I just think to myself that the mother is not with the father for whatever reason…and it’s not always a negative one.

  16. I love this post. Although I am not a single mother, my mom was a single mother. I agree with you just because you get support from the father still means you single. I have so much respect for all single mothers!

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