Sometimes, I can wave it off. People are used to this way of thinking, I remind myself. But when confronted with it - or rather being ignored because of it - I have to take a stand.
I'm a single parent, and that's not going to change. I exist, my children exist, and we're here to stay.
I went to two seminars where the speaker's attitude towards single parents was either negative or entirely absent. I'm not sure which one is worse.
In the financial seminar, the speaker was trying very hard to be inclusive; maybe you're married with children, or maybe you're single without children. Over and over, those were the choices. Here's what you do if you're married with children, and here's what you do if you're single without. Okay, then maybe I should just GO because clearly, I don't exist in your mind.
In the seminar on education, the speaker was addressing some of the challenges children may be facing; divorce, death, or drug use. Yes, folks, coming from a "broken home" is just as bad as having a dead parent. There are a number of divorced parents who interact with their exes just fine and both parents are still involved in their children's lives. But one of them may just as well have died. And if a spouse did pass away, then you don't count to the speaker from above because you're no longer married with children or single without.
This is 2011!! And yet, still, somehow, we can't get away from thinking about families in one way. Or if we do happen to acknowledge a difference, then it's an acknowledgment of irreparable damage.
I agree with the speaker that said drug use can be devastating to young children. Which is why I initiated the divorce! And I refuse to believe that we are hopelessly damaged because of it. In fact, the repair began with that particular dissolution. (And disillusion.)
I didn't say anything to either speaker. It wasn't the time or the place. But it's been bugging me ever since. It can be frustrating at times to live in a world where so many refuse to acknowledge my existence.