This Mom Slams Haters Who Claim She’s Not a ‘Real’ Single Mom

Parenting isn’t easy, especially single parenting in any capacity. It’s exhausting, expensive, and all-consuming, whether both parents are in the child’s life or not. So the last thing a single mom needs is someone questioning her title.

And yet, apparently some people aren’t clear on the definition of a single mom. People love to impart their “wisdom” on mothers who are just trying to do their best, and in one case, the mom’s speaking up in defense of single moms everywhere.

 Meet Nikki Stephens, single mom

Nikki Stephens posing with her young son in front of flowers.

Nikki Stephens wants to remove the negative stigma that comes with single motherhood. | Nikki – Mommy My Way Blogger via Instagram

Nikki Stephens is a single mother by choice to her toddler son, with another child on the way, which was conceived using a sperm donor. Her son’s biological father is not actively involved in their lives. She receives no child support and does everything on her own. Most would agree that she’s the definition of a single mom. But it appears not everyone shares that view.

Next: What exactly is a single mom, anyway?

The definition of a single mother

Nikki Stephens holding her son's hand.

What does being a ‘single mom’ really mean? | Nikki – Mommy My Way Blogger via Instagram

By definition, “single mother” means just that — a mother raising her children on her own, who is not in a committed relationship with the child’s other parent. But according to Stephens, who wrote a guest piece on Huffington Post, someone tried to tell her that the following women aren’t “real” single moms:

  • Women who aren’t in relationships with their child’s father, but who do have an involved and supportive co-parent
  • Moms who receive child support, regardless of the father’s role in their child’s life
  • Women who have a positive relationship with the father of their child, regardless of his level of involvement (Stephens herself seems to have a positive relationship with her son’s father even though he isn’t involved)
  • Moms who are single by choice or choose to conceive without a significant other

Next: Here’s why this attitude is harmful.

The absurdity, explained

Nikki Stephens standing in front of a wall with her son.

Stephens writes about her motherhood adventures on her blog. | Nikki – Mommy My Way Blogger via Instagram

Of course, by that definition, hardly anyone would qualify as a single mom — but in reality, there are an estimated 13.6 million single parents in America, and the majority of them are single mothers. Telling people they aren’t “real” single mothers is not only incredibly rude and condescending, it distinctly implies their lives would be easier with a partner, which is not necessarily true. Some women, mothers are not, are happier and healthier without a significant other.

Next: Stephens is happy with her life, thank you very much.

‘Single mom’ doesn’t always mean ‘struggling mom’

Nikki Stephens in her maternity shoot.

Single mothers don’t always dislike their situation. | Nikki – Mommy My Way Blogger via Instagram

While no one is denying that single parenting is hard, that doesn’t mean the women doing it are unhappy. Stephens admits the first thing many people tell her when she reveals that she’s solo parenting is “I’m so sorry to hear that,” but she says she loves her life the way it is. In fact, she wanted a second child so badly she conceived one using a sperm donor, knowing she’d be raising both children on her own. No one unhappy with their circumstances does that.

Next: This blogger isn’t the only happy single mother.

Stephens isn’t alone in her thoughts

Nikki Stephens and her son at a restaurant.

Stephens decided to add another child to her family. | Nikki – Mommy My Way Blogger via Instagram

Stephens decided to have her second child alone because, as she said in her blog, no relationship had ever made her feel as fulfilled as being a mother does. She’s not the only one who feels that way. Melisande Green of LA was 37 and married when she conceived, although things were rocky with her husband. She decided to end her marriage and raise her baby on her own, and she says she has plenty of support from friends and family. Many women agreeing with her, choosing to raise children alone for many different reasons.

Next: These are the only women who can’t claim the “single mom” title.

These women shouldn’t throw around the ‘single mom’ title

A mother holding her child's hand.

The term can be quite confusing. | Nastco/iStock/Getty Images

There is, however, one group of women who should refrain from using this title. When a woman who is married or in a committed relationship calls herself a “married single parent,” it makes true single mothers cringe. This term is often used when the child’s father has to be away for awhile (for work or military service, for example), or when he travels.

The problem? It casts single parenting in a negative light and undermines the situations true single moms face. Most moms use the term “married single parent” in a joking, lighthearted manner, but they really shouldn’t use it at all.

Next: Good news: The children will be fine either way.

Are children of single moms better or worse off?

A stressed mother pushing a stroller.

Some women thrive by being a single parent. Others might not. | Globalmoments/iStock/Getty Images

Considering about half of all marriages end in divorce and some people never marry their child’s other parent in the first place, it’s safe to say single parenting isn’t going anywhere. And while some might worry about the well-being of the children involved, statistics have shown that children of single parents grow up to be just as successful as their peers. Loving and supportive parenting is what matters most, and that’s exactly what Stephens and millions of other single moms are doing.

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