I’m a strong believer in the notion of do unto others as you wish to be done unto you. I recently read a blog post talking about how some parents “feel” like a single parent. I skimmed through the 117 comments and my blood boiled. I vented on twitter a bit, re-centered, and will hopefully put how it feels to hear this as a single parent.
We all have feelings. I feel fulfilled, I feel lonely, I feel excited, I feel smothered, I feel loved, I feel unappreciated, I feel taken advantage of, I feel stressed, I feel peaceful, etc.
CEO of MTV is not a feeling. Widow/widower is not a feeling. African American is not a feeling. Marriage is not a feeling.
Single parenthood is not a feeling.
The funny thing is, I don’t see our culture accepting anyone claiming to feel like a widow, or a CEO, or as someone of a different race/ethnicity than their own. However, “feeling” like a single parent seems to be perfectly acceptable to voice.
Let’s take a step back and break this down:
Being a single parent is not an emotion. What emotions are really being felt when someone may say they feel like a single parent? Perhaps unappreciated, loneliness, anger, resentment, exhaustion, helplessness, stress, unhappiness, depression, am I missing anything.
Read that list again.
I feel unappreciated.
I feel lonely.
I feel angry.
I feel resentful.
I feel exhausted.
I feel helpless.
I feel stressed.
I feel unhappy.
I feel depressed.
I cannot deny feeling those things in some degree at various moments. However, those negative emotions do not define my current role as a single parent.
When people interchange negative emotions with the title of single parenthood, they are calling me all of those things.
I am not all of those things.
I am happy.
I am content.
I am appreciated.
I am fulfilled.
I am excited.
I am confident.
I am strong.
I am loved.
When I am having an off day, having troubles with my child, or with co-parenting, or at work, with family, etc, I don’t exchange those emotions in those moments and announce that “I’m having a dysfunctional loveless marriage day.”
Call what you feel by it’s name, not my name.
I am a single parent. I am not your laundry list of negative emotions.