Marriage doesn’t mean automatic happiness.
I am a single mother of two living in New York City. Even though my kids attend a culturally diverse elementary school, I still stand out like a sore thumb. When I go on playdates, half the time the moms are trying to set me up with someone “they know.” The other half the time they’re asking me how hard it is to be a single mom.
I know it’s hard because, hello, I am a single parent. I don’t need to be reminded of this. The passive-aggressive comments about being a single parent are astounding.
I have compiled a list of five things that I am tired of hearing:
1. It must be so hard!
Really? No shit. I didn’t realize parenting was difficult. Why didn’t you warn me? Parenting is difficult whether you are a single parent or you have all the help in the world. You are making a generalization when you say that it is hard for a single parent. Please don’t remark about the hardships of single parenting unless you’re willing to help. I certainly do not need your sympathy.
2. I have a really cute friend I can set you up with.
I am single by choice. No thanks! Since when did being single = something to correct? I’m confused about this. I have a happy life. My kids and I go on adventures to the park and build forts in the house. There is nothing sad about my life—other than the fact that you think it’s sad.
3. Do you ever get time to yourself?
Not a lot. Thanks for reminding me. I would love to take a bath without my kids barging in there, or read an entire book, or even go to a movie, but I can’t remember the last time that happened. I know it seems like I am a strange sociological experiment to you, but I would encourage you to stop asking these questions (again) unless you have constructive feedback or ways that you can help.
4. Are you happy?
I don’t know where to begin with this one. How about you? Are you happy? This is the most intrusive question ever.
No, I am not happy—because you asked me if I was. Therefore, I am now grumpy because you questioned the quality of my mood.
Oh, wait… I think what you were asking is if I am contented with my life choice of being a single parent. Yeah, that’s none of your business. But since you asked, I do feel happy that I am in a relationship with myself—because I understand and love me. Also, for the record, I do know a lot of miserable people who are married. Just because you are married doesn’t mean automatic happiness.
5. (Awkward question about how you got separated/divorced question/how did this happen.)
This question is usually not asked directly, but everyone wants to know the answer. They want to know if you got artificially inseminated or if you have a failed relationship and therefore ended up without a partner. The reasons behind me being a single parent are irrelevant, and I will tell you if and when I feel comfortable to do so.
Thank you, and this has been a public service announcement from every single mom who ever got asked that inappropriate question.
Sarah Fader is the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, a non-profit organization that encourages individuals with mental illness to share their personal stories. She is an author and blogger, having been featured on Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, and Good day New York. Sarah is a native New Yorker who enjoys naps, talking to strangers, and caring for her two small humans and two average-sized cats. Like six million other Americans, Sarah lives with panic disorder. Through Stigma Fighters, Sarah hopes to change the world, one mental health stigma at a time.
This originally appeared on Ravishly. Republished here with permission.