I used to look towards Angelina Jolie with a jealous eye. “Used to,” as in past tense. Sure, she is still gorgeous, thin, and successful, has oodles of money, works to help the starving children in Africa and happens to get to sleep next to Brad Pitt every night. What’s not to be jealous of?
But then she goes and lends sympathy to the struggles of single moms in an interview with the New York Daily News. If you missed it, then you must have been off on a tropical island the past few days.
Twitter is all a-flutter.
Said the mother of six: “I actually feel that women in my position, when we have all at our disposal to help us, shouldn’t complain. Consider all the people who really struggle and don’t have the financial means, don’t have the support, and many people are single raising children. That’s hard.”
So when a mom of Jolie’s stature raises the sympatric notion that being a single mom is a tough job, all of a sudden, the world turns, albeit briefly, with a nod of compassion towards single moms. I guess I’m OK with that. Personally, after divorce seven years ago, I never imagined the magnitude of the difficulty of being a single mom.
And maybe that’s why, Rachel Simmons, another single mom and author of The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls With Courage and Confidence received a social media shellacking yesterday from her post on Slate, “You Are Not a Single Mom.”
Simmons had the audacity, according to many responses, to actually complain that being a single mom is a tough job. I guess the masses don’t dish out sympathy to single moms who actually choose to be a single mom, as Simmons did.
Me? I think single moms can spout off their stress, anguish, lack of sleep and finances as much as they want. My guess is Simmons didn’t realize when she made the decision to be a single mom that it would actually be this tough. Hindsight is 20-20, right?
But what really got Simmons’ ire up is laden in her sub-title: “Just because your husband is away this week, does not mean you are ‘single-parenting.’”
Honestly, I have to agree. From my neighborhood’s Facebook posts, I read frequently about the angst and frustration of married moms whose husbands are away either on business or golfing with the guys.
So all of a sudden, these married moms are thrown into flying solo and trying to wear the disguise of a single mom. Ran out of milk before dinner? Yeah, you go without because there is no one to stop at the store on the way home from work. (The scene is especially desperate when you realize you ran out of wine!) Two kids have to be at two separate activities—at the same time? Either pick one or call a friend to help. And the list goes on. You get the idea.
The difference between “temporary” single moms and real-life single moms is the former has the opportunity to converse with their partner, even over the phone or texting, about the day’s activities, problems with kids at school or the low bank account balance. The latter, well, maybe we can share some things with a friend, but in the end, the burden is all on us.
So, the next time I see Bragelina on the red carpet or in People magazine, I will admire them both for their efforts in helping their communities, those in need and being the best parents they can be. The jealousy is gone, Angelina. Thank you for acknowledging the single moms.
Well, maybe the jealousy isn’t all gone. You still get Brad—and that’s just not fair!