You don’t look like a single parent. You must get loads of benefits. You’re so lucky to only have you and the kids to look after rather than a grumpy old man…
Gingerbread (the charity that advocates for single parents) has compiled a list of things not to say to single parents – apparently drawn from things people have said to their members. Some of them ring a few bells (particularly “I’m like a single parent myself, my partner is at work so much” and “well, you chose to be single”) but most are so bizarre I can’t imagine anyone ever said them.
For instance, “that’s so sad for you. You must be sad all the time.” No. Nobody has ever said that, ever.
“Have you met a new man yet?”. Perhaps someone’s grandma might say this (in the same way as grannies are programmed to ask about your lovelife if you’re under 30) but nobody else.
“I can’t believe you didn’t try to work it out for the sake of your son”. Wow. Perhaps tweeted by an ex-in-law who hates your guts?
My favourite, most weird thing someone (allegedly) said was “you could use your son to get women”. People are so strange. Can you imagine if the genders were reversed?!
There are so many of these lists – thing not to say to someone with cancer, things not to say to someone who’s just lost a parent, things not to say to someone with two heads (Zaphod Beeblebrox aside…). Their target readership is surely only those of us suffering with the affliction. I’m not sure anyone other than a single parent would choose to read a list of things NOT to say to single parents.
The article ended with the 7 things you should say to a single parent. The short version is “you’re amazing. Let me surround you with admiration, chocolate and alcohol”. Given that this is pretty much a universal way to make people happy (whether suffering illness/bereavement/double-headedness or none of the above) I’m not sure it deserved the aspirational photos and obvious advice: “bring wine and cakes”.
This post is dedicated to anyone who brings me wine and cakes.