Single mothers are more misunderstood and negatively stereotyped than single fathers, as you can read more about here. To break it down to you, here are the most common misconceptions about single mothers.
1. Hunting a new husband to ‘save them’
We’ve heard terms, legends and stories such as black widow which basically puts widowed females to a devilish role. These stories shape our perception of widows as “a woman who gets a second chance at being single and who cannot survive alone and is in dire need of a new husband to care for her.”
When in fact, many single mothers today are highly independent and far from intentions such as stealing one’s husband. Yet, oftentimes people around them would immediately start offering to ‘set them up’ with someone they know; this widowed guy, that single father, that man who has ever been married. It’s like single mothers need to disengage with the new title as soon as possible by remarrying someone. Someone who will (supposedly) give them security and (especially) ‘safe’ status to walk around with.
2. Fails to keep her household
Whispered among extended families or over the neighbourhood ladies’ morning shop, women who become widows from a divorce are judged as a lousy wife. Even when their husbands were at fault (ex: cheating, gambling the family’s money, violence), the wives are somewhat supposed to have handled the situation before it became unfixable.
If the husband is cheating, maybe the wife fails to satisfy him. If the husband is violating her, maybe she is unpleasant. When in fact, the cheating, the violence, the gambling and all the problems that motivate the divorce didn’t come from the wife or maybe it came from both the husband and wife (because like it or not, the couple’s relationship will affect their children).
Well, this one is partly true and partly a misconception. Being used to having a partner to none will definitely change their lives dramatically. Besides physical attachment, there is a loss of that someone you can discuss your life matters with. And more. But for single mothers, it is a consequence they have to bear; whether it’s their choice or simply fate.
They are lonely, but not to the point of desperation that they would do immoral or irrational things. Sometimes it’s a blurry line between accepting loneliness and being desperate of loneliness. (Although some single mothers do not feel lonely after the separation if the previous relationship was already unbearable, i.e. involving violence or loss of affection).
One of our communities in Malaysia is supporting single mothers and children. Rumah Titian Kaseh is a home shelter for the underprivileged, including single mothers and orphaned children. Together, they grow from strangers into a big loving family. Read more about them here and check out their latest update here.