The very first time I was introduced to the thought of referring to myself as an independent mother, opposed to a single one, was while listening to a Mater Mae podcast with Ylonda Gault and Roachelle Negron back in April of 2016. (Btw, now that podcasts have broken into a more mainstream lane, those of us who have been down are now entitled to remind everyone that we were here first. I think three times is a good max, because after that you're a douche.)
"...you know I'll just be talking about my children or my business or something, and somehow, someway, psychologically, unconsciously, I find a way to validate myself by slipping in, 'I'm divorced....When I was married..My ex-husband...', as if somehow that legitimizes my motherhood, my woman hood, my relationships, anything..." -Roachelle
Moved by an article she read where the women were referred to as independent mothers throughout the entire piece, Roachelle began evaluating and questioning the label of single motherhood.
"...why should she be considered a single mother? That refers to her relationship with another person. It doesn't refer to her relationship to her children or her relationship to the world, as she is out there."
After I listened to this podcast, I remember feeling inspired and ready to leave the weight and stigma of single motherhood behind me. Revisiting this now I realize that I haven't, and how hard it is to do so. Even if being a single mother was something I was ready to leave in the past, was society? Even in the workplace I feel like whether or not I have a partner, and if that said partner is my daughters father, is constantly brought up. Like when people realize I have a child, and then ask me if the child stays with my husband during the day or if he works too. The automatic assumption that I not only have to presumably be in a relationship, but also married, has always irritated the shit out of me. Especially knowing, that it is the complete opposite situation for men.
When some men are asked about their kids I assume the conversation goes something like, "How often do you see them?" or maybe "Is your babymama cool, or do she be tripping?". There is no, why don't you have a wife shaming for men. There isn't any, I wonder why he's always free to get drinks after work thoughts either.
As women, we are already expected to be the primary caregivers of our children, even though we are pitied when we have to also provide. The very least we can do is disassociate the idea of what we do as mothers, with our relationship status in regards to men.
I am an independent mother because, it is by my force and state of mind alone that me and my daughter make it through every day.
What makes you an independent mother?