Now that you’re separated or divorced, how’s life going as a single parent? I know, I know. No red carpets rolled out and no spotlights here, pal. But I guess you’ll get used to it. So while you’re trying to be phenomenal at multi-tasking big time, let’s take a look at five types of people who appear on Planet-Single-Parent to make your life more challenging than it already is – sometimes under the guise of “helping” you. Brace yourselves for the Famous Five who are visible only to the discerning single parent’s eye.
1. The Big Spenders. Here you are, living on a single income and some grudging child support and what does your ex-spouse think? That laser-sharp vision when you walk into the courtroom scans your clothes, hair, demeanor, make-up, you name it. Verdict? “My ex is enjoying life spending my money on him/herself rather than my children!” Seriously, single parents scour discount or second-hand shops for great deals and their ex-spouse thinks we’re shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue! Having a laptop or a family vacation are luxuries bought by months or even years of being frugal. Single parents are rarely better off than their co-parents who see the kids every other weekend, but the suspicious ex wants to scrutinize every purchase to prove that we are secretly rich.
2. The Sniffers. If you’ve bought something new, chances are they will sniff it out. No room is off-limits, and they will snoop in your refrigerator and kitchen cupboards. Their point is that since you are always running short of cash you have no business stocking-up stuff in your house. No matter that you buy stuff only when your salary is deposited in your account and that you spend the rest of the month pinching pennies.
3. The Love Gurus. “Oh, everyone needs a mate, daaahling!” they say, smile plastered all over their face with that look that says they’re assessing your potential as Marriage Material. “Just because your first marriage failed doesn’t mean you have to be single forever! My friend’s cousin’s uncle married a single parent, just like you, coincidentally.” One valuable tip for handling a Love Guru is to nod your head and practice a fake smile – and always have a work or child-related event when they try to set you up with their aunt’s cousin’s friend’s boss. The same goes for all those who can’t seem to understand what you do for sex – and are rude enough to ask about it.
4. The Fade Outs. Here one minute and gone the next. These blink-and-you’ll-miss-them types are frequent fixtures in the life of a single parent. They pose as your friend but disappear when you need them to babysit, for instance. Heaven forbid that you talk to their partners: they’ll treat you like you’re trying to steal their spouse, because all single parents must be looking desperately for new partner to replace the one they “lost,” after all. They give you the cold shoulder at family get-togethers – suddenly, you find that you are invisible. Get used to it. Your invisible cloak, I mean. Master the act of disappearing by preparing a list of how busy you are and change the game.
5. The Career Fairers. And then there are those who think that, when you’re not with the kids, you should focus on your career and devote yourself to official duties. You see, according to them, a personal life where you enjoy hobbies and dinner with friends is for couples. For single parents, life ought to be about your job and your children. Period. If you don’t have a job, go get one (any job will do); if you have a job, ask for a raise; change to a new career path because you’re not doing well enough in your chosen career. Conversations always end with a disappointed look on their face and you feeling as though you’ve just been questioned by the FBI.
Now that you have the list of personality types you should avoid as a single parent, you can slot some of your “friends” and acquaintances into one of these compartments and disregard their advice and prying. Instead, try to enjoy being a single parent. It’s fun, mostly, at times. Oh forget it. Just be.
Angelica Tara juggles the duties (and fun) of being a single mother of a vivacious six-year-old girl and copywriter in an ad agency with a liberal dose of cooking thrown in. “This article was written while playing Criminal Case on Facebook, spilling tea, and finding my phone to be perpetually low on battery,” she says. www.angelicatara.blogspot.in