The other day, a well-intentioned post commending single parents irked me a little.
The person’s partner was away for a few days and they were expressing admiration for single parents because the brief absence was making life challenging.
I do appreciate it when someone in a 2-parent family expresses how hard it must be for us because they struggle to do it all when their partner is away for a few days.
But it’s a little like the thoughts and prayers offered up by politicians after a tragedy.
Beautiful sentiment. Largely unhelpful.
Calling us super heroes or telling us we’re so strong doesn’t make our lives easier. It doesn’t make the daily load any lighter. It doesn’t make us feel any less alone.
Single parents don’t need to hear someone say, “I don’t know how you do it!” with a mix of admiration and sympathy on their face.
So what’s a better option?
Consider asking if they need any support. Whether they say yes or no, the fact that you offered is so much more of an acknowledgment than any “you’re so strong” comment or social media post ever will.
When friends and neighbours offer me help, I feel seen, cared for and not so alone. Because I’m pretty well set up at this point in my journey I often decline the offer. But the fact that it was made speaks volumes.