in defense of the first lady’s “single mom” comment




The traditional media, the twitterverse and the blogosphere all have their tongues wagging over a recent slip of the tongue by Michelle Obama. In an interview Thursday, first lady Michelle Obama mistakenly called herself a “busy single mother,” before quickly correcting herself. Responses have ranged from theories that our president and his wife are estranged to annoyance/outrage by mothers who feel the single mom comparison is unfair.

Because my husband works out of town during the week, I have sometimes jokingly referred to myself as a “weekday single mother.” I don’t say it to disparage the situation of any other mother, whether they have a partner or not. I say it because… sometimes I want to be able to go to the bathroom by myself. Or dart off to the grocery store. Or be able to make dinner with two hands.

When you are raising a child without a partner (or you have a partner who is less-than-helpful), there are sacrifices and compromises you make. I would never say I don’t have help: my parents and in-laws are a fantastic support for my daughter and me. But sometimes, yes, I do feel like I’m doing it alone when my husband isn’t here. I do understand that the struggle of being a truly “single parent,” is the struggle of supporting your family on one paycheck, which I am fortunate to not have to do.

But I have also learned not to judge any other woman’s or parent’s struggle. As the oft-pinned saying goes, “Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”


by Simon Walker for


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