Clare Elsworth, a designer living in Sydney, Australia, has a nearly 8-year-old son named Isaac, and she’s been raising him on her own for seven years. “I read an article recently where a partnered mom considered herself to be a single mom,” Elsworth tells Us Weekly. “If only the life of single mom were that easy. It’s a term I hear used by many partnered moms and I find it insensitive to how difficult single parenting can be.”
It’s a topic Elsworth elaborated on in a heartfelt open letter for Australian website Mamamia published on Friday, September 29.
“Dear mothers who are not single, PLEASE STOP calling yourself a ‘single mom.’ No inverted commas,” Elsworth began. “Are you looking for pity because your partner is at work while you’re at home with your child/ren? You won’t get it from single moms. Do you know how many single moms would love the luxury of being home with their children but can’t be because they carry the financial responsibilities for their family?”
In the piece, Elsworth went on to point out the struggles that sole caregivers deal with on a daily basis, including financial and emotional. “There is no one to get up even once to a crying baby, day or night,” she wrote. “We are on our own. Day in, day out. Every. Single. Day.”
Being a single mom “is not a badge you can put on & off,” Elsworth argued. “When you complain about your partner and say things like ‘it would just be easier if I was a single mum’ you are being incredibly insensitive & offensive.”
Elsworth acknowledged that parenting is exhausting — for everyone. “It can be a lonely, relentless, frustrating stressful time. It may be the hardest thing you have ever done. It is agony&ectasy; the lowest of lows & highest of highs. It is also the deepest love of your life. A blessing many long for,” she wrote. “You don’t need to dramatize your life by saying you’re a ‘single mom’ . . . You are not single.”
Her piece caused a stir on the Mamamia Facebook page. “Stop dividing moms, single or not, parenting is a hard job,” wrote one woman. While another chimed in: “Please for the love of sisterhood stop trying to cause division between women!”
But Elsworth says they are reading her post the wrong way. As she responded in the comments, “There is no malice in this piece ladies.”
Tell Us: What do you think of Elsworth’s open letter?
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