On SCOTUS and Single Parents

I have mentioned several times over the past year how I’ve become aware of how we bring our own assumptions to the table.  We see things as colored from our lives and not always how they really are.  I’ve shared that this happened to me, someone close to me made an assumption that was very real and valid in their reality; however, it wasn’t what was really happening, and it was a big eye opener for me.  I’ve worked very hard to leave my assumptions behind and see things as they are today, to see people as they are today.  Not as they were when I met them, or last year, or last week, or even yesterday.  Part of my journey to live in the Now has really focused on this.

Allow me to reintroduce myself did that just happen blog

Apparently some days are better/easier than others.  And that’s okay, it helps me learn and grow, but man, those off days…

I stole the title of this blog post from Deborah at The Monster in my Closet for several reasons.  First off, it’s a kick butt title, secondly, it totally applies and third, you MUST go read her blog post by the same title.  

I have massive respect for The Monster in my Closet, she has a wonderful life story, and while we are on different paths, it has been fun to read about her journey.  One of my favorite parts is that she welcomes discussion.  I watch her communicate with others and I really enjoy seeing the different view points and perspectives that show up on her blog!

She posted something a few days ago, on a different media outlet, that immediately sent me over the edge.

And not in a good way.

When the Supreme Court handed down their decision on gay marriage, The Monster in my Closet read it.  Not skimmed it, not read what others posted, but read the actual words set forth by SCOTUS (Mad props for that!) and in that ruling, she found a beautiful paragraph that addressed the children of gay couples, and how SCOTUS took them into consideration.

And, it was beautiful, I found it awesome that the children were addressed; however, there was some verbiage included that pretty much had me reverting to an older version of myself, getting defensive and well, with hands shaking and stomach quivering, I shot off a response.   I was upfront and told her that I recognized I was taking this single paragraph out of context – and I was, but it sure didn’t stop me!

Excluding same-sex couple from marriage thus conflicts with a central premise of the right to marry.  Without the recognition, stability and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser.  They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life.

Stigma? Somehow lesser? Material costs of being raised by unmarried parents???

whaaaat? And how SCOTUS decision didn't change my family | Did That Just Happen Blog

I was okay until they threw in “unmarried parents” and then all of the sudden, the ruling became personal.  I have worked so very hard to make sure my son doesn’t feel a “stigma” because he comes from a “lesser” family because he is being raised by an “unmarried” parent.

That was a shot to my heart.  How could I NOT read that as an affront to all I have worked for for 16 years?

No stigma for single parents | Did That Just Happen Blog

There is no stigma there, unconventional, yes.  But a lesser family?!? Them are fightin’ words!! 

Again, in one part of my brain, I recognized I was taking it out of context, but apparently we have found the issue that is still, well, an issue for me! Deborah and I exchanged several emails as we discussed this – not mean or nasty, but genuine emails with a real discussion.  And here is the best part.

While I knew in part of my brain that it was okay, I just couldn’t get the rest of me there.  I was fixated on those words.

Stigma

Lesser

Then Deborah sent me a link to an article posted on the American Academy of Pediatrics site.  And I cried.

AAP has supported families in all their diversity, because the family has always been the basic social unit in which children develop the supporting and nurturing relationships with adults that they need to thrive. Children may be born to, adopted by, or cared for temporarily by married couples, nonmarried couples, single parents, grandparents, or legal guardians, and any of these may be heterosexual, gay or lesbian, or of another orientation. Children need secure and enduring relationships with committed and nurturing adults to enhance their life experiences for optimal social-emotional and cognitive development. Scientific evidence affirms that children have similar developmental and emotional needs and receive similar parenting whether they are raised by parents of the same or different genders.

The rest of me finally caught up.  It’s okay.  I’m okay.  My family is whole.

This is my family, I found it, all on my own.  Is little and broken, but still good.  Yeah, still good.  Did That Just Happen Blog

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47 thoughts on “On SCOTUS and Single Parents

  1. I had to get back to this post; I read it a while ago in the bus but didn’t have time to comment. But I have to say: Kate, I am so happy about where you ended in your reasoning, because I am so sure you’ve been awesome in creating a loving, caring and fun but safe environment for your son. You could not fake on your blog what an awesome young man mr T has grown to be!

    And I am soooo happy being a single mum is not judged any more (at least where I live. It is far too common for that).

    Personally I have an even deeper respect for all single mums after this year, when I’ve been a at least every second week alone with my kids. Even though my husband does a lot when he is home, and of course we have double income, I still have sometimes felt extremely tired to make it all work in our daily lives. And then I remind myself of friends who do it always on their own, and how superb, balanced and happy their kids are.

    But my respect is there. And the wishes for wanting to give more to my children when I just can’t any more. But I believe, at the end, the most important thing for children is that somebody loves and cares for them. What their relationship status is, is just not that important. But if the children feel they are accepted by the environment too, that can only be a positive thing.

    • I’m so glad you wanted to come back because I am in love with your response! I do agree, all kids really need is to know that someone loves and cares for them! And, I’ve been reading about your adventures and think you’ve been holding up well being on your own as much as you have! It’s not easy, but I find we can do so much when the love and welfare of our children are the top priority in our lives! 🙂 Thank you so very much V, this comment was just what I needed today!

    • awe, thank you! And I don’t know why, but I had such an immediate and visceral reaction that I couldn’t keep quiet – but the nice thing is, it was with a person (Deb) who was willing to take the time to help me see her point of view and was respectful about mine. But, yeah… you can’t say words like that!!! LOL.

    • Thank you! And yes, I was so off balance and my Ego sure had a hold on me, but I’m glad, too, that I regained my equilibrium! And thanks, he posted a picture yesterday, they went to Daytona Beach and he had a good time!
      Thank you Nancy!

  2. Hey, I think it’s totally naturally to take things personally, especially when they hit a nerve. The fact that you worked through those feelings and recognized the gut reaction for what it was: a gut reaction, and have explored it fully, is a true sign of growth. Good for you.

  3. I am glad I took the opportunity to read through all of the replies and comments. I needed the time to stop the tears and simmer down, and I needed to read some intelligent and sane replies. I try so diligently to “respond” rather than “react”, but like you those words and your emotion had me on fire. I am not a single mother today, but have been in my life…twice. When I got pregnant as a teenager I experienced the stigma. I did marry her father and we had another child together, but found myself single again when he walked out (actually drove 600 miles away) on the 3 of us. More Stigma. Lesser. Of course, I realize now that how other people viewed me (or at least I felt) was a reflection of them and not any reflection of me as a human or a mother.
    I have voiced my thoughts on your parenting many times, and you are an amazing human and a stellar parent! We are all created uniquely with our own story to write… I love the way you are writing yours!

    • Thank you so very much! Something in those words just hit me, and hard, And I’m telling you, I know I’m a good parent, and I know those words weren’t meant for me, but in the moment I just felt that judgement raining down on me! Which is silly, because it was me judging me!! Lol, but I had to share in case I could help validate someone else’s feelings, and to prove to myself that I was actually
      okay! 🙂

  4. wow! Kate. I loved this posting. I very much understand what you mean about something we think we are “fine” with, being triggered by a comment or two. I will sometimes feel this as a stepmom. People assume SO very much, when they have no experience with it or any real understanding of the situation in which I exist. I love the quote by the AAP because it is so true.
    I like what you write at the end “The rest of me finally caught up”. I needed to read that today, Kate.

    • I’m glad it resonated! I knew that it was okay, but my brain had that flood of chemicals and I just couldn’t recover! I find that happens in real life, too, when someone thinks they know the situation I’m in. So I’m sending you some hugs, and am honored that we are part of each other’s village helping support each other and helping each other get back in sync!

  5. People are living and raising families in many different types of situations. One size does not fit all and to say some are lesser seems harsh. Regardless of whether you had read that AAP information, you should know that you do a great job at being a mom. The only confirmation you need is from your son.

  6. Great post Kate! We think we are doing okay and then something or someone comes up and judges differently. Its so easy to be triggered and question our choices or circumstances.
    But when we look to our heart and connect with our nner knowing … we can let go of whatever needs to be let go of … and hit our own internal “reset-I’m okay-and I come from love-button”
    Hugs xo

  7. Took me a second too. Breathe, Holly, breathe. The first time I heard the line from Lilo & Stitch I cried. I was still married at the time but it reminded me of my little, single-parent family growing up. And then when the kids’ dad left it held all new meaning. Family is about love. I think Garth Brooks said it best “Blood is thicker than water, but love is thicker than blood.”

  8. Excellent post. I am right behind you.
    My situation is totally different than yours (divorce in late fifties after 37 years of marriage) but the ‘broken family’ image has been extremely painful to me.
    Sometimes I feel like a lesser member of society simply because I am no longer in the ‘married’ club. Sometimes I feel our family is now somehow different. Not so!
    I am not lesser and I have equal rights as those in different situations.
    Each person in society should be accepted equally.
    Each family should be accepted equally.
    Single, unmarried, same-sex, split. All are different and yet equal.

  9. It’s so hard to not take things personally. I try and remind myself I am not that important, the world is not out to condemn me. Usually what is said has nothing to do with me. I breathe, remind my ego to cut it out and try and move on. It is such a tough battle though 😉

  10. I can so see how this broke your heart. I’m sure you understand that in the ruling, those words were used to describe parents who were not ALLOWED to be a family leaving an impression in the eyes of the child their their family is somehow “lesser” but no there is nothing, I repeat NOTHING wrong, less significant, less meaningful, less impactfull or less important about a family with a single parent. Althoughhhhh… there used to be. NOT REALLY. Not in my eyes, or the eyes of the child unconditionally loving the parent who sacrifices so much for them but in the eyes of society. We are surrounded by assholes who judge the shit out of people for no damn reason other than not doing life the way life is “supposed” to be done. Well who the hell decided what is “supposed” to be done??? I’m so glad that has mostly changed and that ANYONE can get married or NOT married! We have the right to be happy and to be productive for ourselves and our families no matter the size the gender or the color! I mean, hell it wasn’t too long ago that I would be looked down on to for marrying a Spanish man when I white as plaster. Don’t let this get to you. It seems like you found closure from it, but really… I admire you so much for being so strong and I agree wholeheartedly that there is NOTHING wrong with you or your family.

    • I was thinking that had I been born not that many years ago, when I got pregnant I would have been sent to “visit my aunt” overseas for a year! So really, I’ve gained a freedom that in the past couldn’t be done per societal norm! It was a good reminder not to judge anyone else, as obviously I still have my own crap to figure out 🙂 Thank you, loved your kind words!

    • Man, do I hear you. I’m a White lady married to a Black man … with the marriage happening well after the pregnancies.

      It surprised me how many think the battle is completely over because of this victory. It’s an amazing step the right direction, but I can also tell you I have witnessed some wild things the last few years. Things I wouldn’t have believed a few years ago, when I thought the word of law meant racism was truly over.

      A few years ago, I’d have thought it comical that a school principal would assume anyone with a Yale shirt was a t-shirt collector. And yet, in light of what I’ve seen since, that question–implicit in it the suggestion a Black man can’t possible have gone to Yale–was enough to make me think I’d not found the right school for my older son. Not yet.

      The things people ascribe significance to confound me, but I find consolation in the love overflowing from other places I look.

      • It’s never ending. People just want something to hate, and at the heart of it all they take something as beautiful and empowering as religion and try to justify their hate with it. If it’s not same sex marriages, it’s interracial relationships, or women’s rights, or equality for the races. People are so filled with hate and judgement and it just baffles me why no one seems to have the sense to take a step back and think to themselves, “does this hurt me?” Because 99% of the time the answer to that question will be a sold no. A single parent busting her ass to raise a man does not hurt you. A white woman marrying a black man, or a hispanic man does not hurt you. A man or a woman holding hands with the same sex, does not hurt you. I wish we would spend more time focusing on ways that we could improve the evil children we are raising (like the 21 your old man who shot those innocent people in church, the people rioting and burning down the homes and business of innocent people, men who think it’s ok to slip drugs into a woman’s drink and date-rape her)… but you don’t see people standing up for our right to live a good life. All you see is them putting down the rights of GOOD people who’s lives are not hurting anyone. UGH, I could go on forever. But thank you so much for taking the time to respond to me, Deborah. It’s good to be reminded that there are people out there still who are good people and who “get” us as well as to remember to look for that overflowing love from other places 🙂

  11. Being a single parent myself I totally get your response. I love this chick though. She seems to have the type of brain that I admire. Will check out her blog!

  12. Oh, man. Something in my eyes reading this.

    I actually thought this morning of someone who no longer talks to me, and hasn’t for 2.5 years. I am now such a different version of myself, you know? But for that person, I will always be the me od then. So strange, and also so liberating to realize I don’t own how anyone else remembers me. I needn’t let that define my now.

    I know this, on some level … and yet reading your post somehow bought me another little piece of freedom. Thank you. ♡

    • I’m so glad it gave you a little piece of freedom, because you gave me the freedom to be myself and then find myself, and that was a massive blessing to me over the weekend! Thank you so much for everything!! Sending you lots of hugs 🙂

  13. Do remember that SCOTUS sees the big picture – all of America. There is a major issue in poverty stricken areas that has left many single parents who are unable to cope economically on their own. That is obviously not a problem for you. However, increasing the ability of poor parents to form marriage partnerships definitely helps their children. Again remember SCOTUS talks in generalities, not in specifics – in fact they will not even hear a case unless it has widespread impact.

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