I got an email from a mom who is feeling isolated at her kids' preschool because since she announced that she was getting a divorce, the other moms have shunned her. She thinks they think she is going to try to "steal" one of their husbands.
Which is interesting, because I recently had a conversation with a single mom I know who has felt excluded by the partnered moms at her school, and doesn't know if it's because they think she might be after their partners or if they just don't like the idea of a single mom.
This makes me tired.
I mean, I guess there must be some women out there who would be interested in people who are already in relationships, but the single-mom-on-the-prowl stereotype is as inaccurate and played as the single-black-mom-who'll-never-get-married stereotype or the divorced-white-suburban-mom-who-doesn't-do-anything-but-live-on-her-ex's-money or any other stereotype about women that allows people to dismiss us and not take us seriously as women and mothers.
Being a single parent–whether it's through divorce or choice or things just not working out–is tiring and stressful and difficult sometimes. As is being a parent in a relationship. Parenting is hard, and getting through life is hard, and believing the worst about people without even bothering to know them only makes it harder.
I wish I had some advice for these moms about dealing with the exclusion. It's happened to me, too. I don't know what to say, though, except that your real friends will stick by you. And anyone who excludes you is doing you a favor. (I really sound like someone's mom, don't I?)
I wish we had some kind of international Reaching Out To Another Parent Day, in which we all made an effort to get to know someone whose demographics were not like our own.
Can't we all just get along?