"She's Cool, But She Has a Kid"

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that phrase used in defense for why a guy doesn’t want to pursue a relationship with a single mom, I’d be rich. Even though it’s not uncommon to come across a young, single mom nowadays, we’re still treated like some rare species who aren't suppose to be approachable (let alone go out) because we’re mothers.

For so long, I struggled with trying to realize it’s OK to go out and be young, free, and enjoy life like anyone else my age.

Sure, there’s a ton of things I don’t do, because I know I have a little one to come home to at the end of the night, but I had to remind myself that the way society perceives me isn’t my problem.

No matter what, everyone will have an opinion--including the men I come across.

However, it wasn’t until one of my good male friends said the phrase: “She’s cool, but she has a kid.”

Then, it really hit me--this is an existing “issue” to some guys.

Well, I’m here to clarify this for you fellas--99.9 percent of the time, we don’t want you for the reason you might be assuming. We aren’t looking for a replacement dad, we aren’t expecting you to swoop in and take responsibility for a piece of love that we work so hard to protect, and we are definitely not trying to have another baby after one date.

We are, however, looking to be respected as a woman and viewed as a human and not some type of baggage that you assume we want you to carry.

In my case, I’ve been single for quite a while now. By choice? I guess you can say so. I’m solid proof that a handful of us single moms don’t go looking for a man to “take care of us.” Instead of focusing on who to commit to, I focus a handful of  my energy on committing to be the best mother I can be to my son, and working hard so that he sees it’s possible to be anything he wants to be in this world despite circumstance and situation.

This has also resulted in making myself a better woman so that when allowed, I am the best version of myself for someone else to love, and together, we can show my son the proper way to appreciate a person he loves.

Sure, there may be some mothers who aren’t on the same page as others. And there may be some out there lurking for what you fear. But please don’t categorize us all under one label.

If we’re cool and we have a kid--cool. We are not abnormal and chances are, we have our shit together because we aren’t living for ourselves, we’re living for someone else.

If you meet a young mom just remember, she had to grow up fast. She has already begun a journey that you've yet tapped into, which may make you open your mind. There are a lot of ups and downs that she’s gone through and is probably still going through--be there for her.

She may not be able to hang out with you every weekend or be as spontaneous as she wants to be, but that will bring out your patience and persistence. She may not return your text messages as fast or pick up the phone every time you call, but again--patience and persistence.

We are not what the reality TV shows play out, and not all of us are a reflection of the stereotypes society portrays us to be. Every mom’s story is different.

Don’t judge. Don’t categorize. Don’t be scared.

She’s cool… And yes, she has a kid.

Mother and writer doing everything she can in one lifetime. You are appreciated.