Redditor "Coady417" had a problem with one of her friends, Eve, touting an acquaintance, Kate, for being a wonderful single mother.
But here's the thing about Kate—she's lived with her partner who is an active presence in her kids' lives for a decade.
According to Eve, Kate endured some hardships in life and in spite of it all has proved herself to be a "successful single mom." The Original Poster (OP) listed all the reasons why Kate doesn't qualify for the distinction and wound up upsetting her friend.
The OP asked AITA (Am I the A**hole) for telling Eve that their mutual friend doesn't deserve the title of single mom.
The front-porch chat had a pleasant beginning.
"I'm (f60). I was hanging out (front porch, masks on) with my best friend, Amy (50), who has a 10yo son, no partner, and no financial help from the bio dad."
"She also takes care of her 80 yo mother. They live in a 2BR 1BA house and I made her come over to chill and have a drink of wine."
"She's a terrific parent. I'm very proud of her. Our mutual friend, Eve (57), was with us."
"Eve started talking, in glowing terms, of a woman she and I both know, Kate (40s). Nice lady, smart, hard worker."
"Eve was talking about all the awful things this woman has been through and survived (all very admirable) and kept saying, 'And she's a single mother!' This is how Kate represents herself, successful single mom."
However, the OP didn't see it that way.
"Except... she's not. I said, 'She's not a single mother. She's had her partner Eric for a decade. They live together. He's been in the boys lives since they were 7 & 9 (Their bio dad has not). That's not a single mother.'"
Eve continued to praise her friend, but in all deference to Kate, the OP shared her observation about being a "single mother."
"Eve said, 'But, she supports herself.' This also isn't true. I said, 'Eric makes mid six figures and he's generous and contributes to household expenses and he's been there for those boys.'"
"I said this not because I don't like and admire this woman but, because I'm tired of women completely erasing the long term, cohabiting men in their lives who HAVE contributed to parenting and finances."
"It pisses me off that some women feel okay adding 'single mom; to the list of obstacles they've overcome like a badge of honor when they've had someone going through all this with them."
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"Someone who shuttles kids, contributes to expenses, helps with homework, comforts crying little boys, sits in the hospital when they're sick... I just think it's f'ked up."
Eve became upset when the OP spoke her mind on the topic of single motherhood.
"I told Eve: 'Kate is terrific but, I think her claiming single mom-hood completely erases everything Eric has done for ten years.' Anyway, Eve got mad, a fight ensued and she's not talking to me."
"I never raised my voice, but I did dig in. Maybe I should have backed down but, my best friend Amy truly has NO ONE and NO FINANCIAL SUPPORT."
"She works 2-3 jobs at all times. That's a single mom to me. Not someone who hasn't married their long term, live-in, wealthy boyfriend. AITA?"
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked to weigh in by declaring:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH - No A**holes Here
"She isn't even 'technically' a single mother because she has a boyfriend." – MiniiMocha
"She has a live in partner. If it was a single income house hold maybe but there is 2 working adults in a relationship."
"I wouldn't consider her a single parent." – eribear2121
Of course, there are exceptions according to different situations.
"Definitely. My parents divorced when I was 10. For 1-2 years after the divorce my dad paid his child support and did his weekend visits. I would have called them both single parents."
"Then he met someone that didn't like kids, moved away and didn't pay CS or really speak to me until I was 18. My mom was definitely a single mother then, in every sense."
"I find it odd how people gatekeep the term though."
"I mean in this particular case there is someone parenting with her financially, emotionally and physically. So although she was a single mother that's not really the case anymore."
"But take someone whose ex has the kids 2 nights a month and sends 200 of the 2000 it takes to raise the kids and people will go ape crap crazy if she uses the term single mom."
"It's a loose term without a firm definition and people are going to use it differently." – Canadian_momma2016
This Redditor finds it frustrating how the term automatically defaults to mean a divorced parent.
"I've always found this frustrating. I think most people now call themselves a single parent if they're separated/divorced from the other parent."
"My mom raised me on her own (with help from my grandparents) and she found it a little frustrating to hear 'I'm a single mom from women with ex's still very much in the picture."
"You're not raising them on your own in any way, you're not a single parent. But maybe that's just me and my bad attitude lol." – zomacl
People felt bad for Eric, who was being discredited for his long term presence in Kate's family.
"NTA. Yes, she's just one person out of the whole world, but part of me feels that Kate claiming single motherhood discredits people like Amy."
"Again, Kate is one person out of 7 billion some so her claim doesn't necessarily cause damage, but I can understand why it rubbed you the wrong way especially with Amy being your best friend."
"Additionally, if I were in the shoes of Kate's partner, her saying that she's a single mother would kind of hurt my feelings. There are biological parents, and then there are parents—parent that do the things you listed in your post and more." – introextropillow
"Right? I feel bad for Eric, because the man has clearly stepped up and been a father to those kids for years now and he's being denied the recognition of all he does in their family."
"He may not be their bio dad or even legally their stepdad, but he's their dad." – praysolace
"NTA. If a guy went around calling himself a single father in that situation he'd be roasted!"
"If the partner contributes he shouldn't have his contribution dismissed like that."
"It also kind of seems like she wanted to rub it in your other friends face a bit. Not nice." – taserbear
Some saw the situation earning an ESH (Everyone Sucks Here) distinction.
"ESH - What did it matter? Was it worth the fight? It's better to just not argue and press the issue. Most people are not open to their ideas being changed. You or Eric or whoever gain nothing out of that correction other than the drama. You know the truth and that's enough."
"Eve obviously sucks for blowing up like she did, but it may have been a good idea to just back down once you saw it getting heated."
"You should reconsider your friends. Your friends should be open to listening to you even if they don't agree with you. It should also work the other way." – punchybot
"ESH for not social distancing." – loony007ny
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