Is it even possible?
Can you change millions of minds when it comes to unmarried mothers?
Can you show the naysayers that you're more than your past shortcomings and bad decisions?
With some folks, you'd probably have more luck scaling a tower than changing their opinion about how your children came into this world. You could give them your last dime and shirt off your back. But at the end of the day, you're still just a floozy who got knocked up with no ring to them.
But in trying to rebrand the growing population of the unmarried mother, I guess the more important question would be why are unmarried moms classified by people who've never walked the walk of a single parent, were never raised by a single parent, or more importantly, played any role in creating children from unmarried mothers?
Why can't we be classified by how we've made light of our situations? Not every unmarried mom is tripping about getting child support. Not every unmarried mom relies on government assistance for food, healthcare, or other necessities. And if she does, so what? Judge her by her ability to dig out of that hole and stay out, not by the fact that she, like nearly a third of the U.S. population, has to take advantage of government assistance.
One of my personal heroes, Emily Johnson, created two Facebook groups, Debt Free Single Moms and Millionaire Single Moms, for single moms (divorced, widowed, never married) and trust me when I say, not all single moms are sad, pathetic little charity cases. We can pay off debt, buy homes, pay off student loans, raise happy, healthy, academically accomplished kids, and be smart with our money too.The stories of these women prove that although single moms have been dragged through the dirt and continue to be dragged through the dirt through hurtful assumptions and opinions (I can't wait for the colorful commentary on this!), we are more than capable of crawling through all that nonsense and coming out squeaky clean on the other side.
Of course, being an unmarried mom is not an ideal situation. But it doesn't mean you cannot live and embrace a beautiful and successful life.
So, how do you rebrand yourself as a mother who never managed to get hitched? How do you show people that you're not some loose-leg hussy just making illegitimate babies for checks? Maybe just not saying anything and playing the right tune could make the world of difference in an unmarried mom's life!
Silence is Golden
Momma always said silence is golden, right? The best way to combat naysayers of unmarried mothers is to just let them talk and not acknowledge them. Bottom line: don't feed the trolls! Allow them to swim in those silly assumptions about you being broke, on welfare, living in the projects, arguing with one of your many baby daddies over child support... while you get your straight-A making children ready for school, right after you check your plentiful 401k, paid off all your credit cards, sent your mortgage payment off early, and watched your credit score creep over 780. And you did it all while carrying on a civil and warm conversation with your child's father about their soccer practice.
Kick your feet up and sip your wine because tea ain't strong enough for this! You're doing a damn good job, unmarried mom. Worry not of the haters!
Be A Bad Mama Jama
Chic, be so damn dope with your game, shock the hell outta them when they find out you've got babies and never been married. Be the smarty pants that speaks with grace and authority and facts at the executive table. It's not about trying to overcompensate because you're an unmarried mom. It's about being showing people -- or more so yourself -- that you are so much more than a woman with kids who never bothered to get married and do things the right way. During the company cookout, throw together the bomb potato salad, BBQ chicken, and apple pie and give those wives something to talk about! Be that hardworking mom they are fortunate to know. So what you're a mom who never married. In the words of Carl Carlton you can still be just as "foxy, classy, oh sexy sassy" like any other woman!
The Glamorous Life
If you really listen to this classic Shelia E. banger, she's talking about a woman wrapped up in materialism, not bothering with true love. There's nothing wrong with wanting nice things in life. But being an unmarried mom sometimes means you get dropped to bottom of the dating barrel. Too often, men assume you got more complications and drama than a soap opera simply because you're a single mother. Well, that's fine. That's more reason to celebrate you. Buy that fly ass dress and stilettos for yourself. Treat yourself and your girlfriends to that exclusive steakhouse in the city. I'm certainly not saying to give up on love or to downplay it as unimportant. I'm saying that while love is still making that pilgrimage to find you, enjoy some of the niceties in life that you enjoy and go crazy with it. And don't apologize for a damn thing.
A Movement By Myself
Neyo really resonated with me on Fabolous's song "Make Me Better." He's basically chiming that he's good rolling solo but he's even better with the right woman by his side. You should apply the same to your life. Be the mother who can pay all her bills and rent effortlessly. Be the unmarried mom who doesn't have to scream about child support or a lack of. In fact, be that mother who replaced her child support payments through a side hustle. Be that unmarried mom who got her credit in order and just got approved her first home. Set yourself up to accomplish many small goals to the point your biggest challenges seem like child's play. Bottom line, set yourself up where a spouse will greatly compliment your life, not greatly hinder it.
As I stated early, being an unmarried mom is not an ideal position to be in. And that could be hard when trying to re-brand something that's holistically undesirable. But at the end of the day, sometimes shit just happens.
You could be in a very stable relationship with a boyfriend or fiancé and experience an "oops." Anyone can fall victim to an unplanned pregnancy, including married couples. But it doesn't mean your life automatically equates to that of a degenerative immoral tart who's good for only laying on her back.
Drown out the haters, be a boss at your job, enjoy the things you love, and worry about your obligations and desires, not those of others. The best way to re-brand your unmarried mom life is to embrace your life and accept it for what is. Although imperfect and flawed, your life is entitled to just as much love, success, and prosperity as the married woman beside you.