A comment from one among my circle was probably meant as friendly advice: “Unfortunately,” he said – educated, urbane, younger than I was – “you have made things very difficult for yourself.” Both comments were referring to the fact that I was – am – a single mother.
Both stung horrendously and though others, in an effort to balm the hurt, urged that they should not be taken seriously, they were taken as serious expressions of blame, judgment and even hostility to the type of motherhood mine was. This label is rarely used in today’s discourse, the pejorative connotations – to be “not-married” – do not sit well with our view of ourselves as having moved beyond such value-laden attitudes.
Given the teachings that informed the birth and evolution of the State, teachings that still have a profound influence on our idealisation of motherhood, our society reserves a particularly special disdain for single mothers.
In this newspaper in 2005, columnist Kevin Myers writing about “mothers of bastards” said: “from such warped timber true masts are seldom hewn”.
This is a fundamental feature that allows single parents to cut down on time-wasting with matches that won’t accept children in the relationship Single parents are often concerned with finding a match that has a similar lifestyle.