Splitsville: If You See Step-Children As ‘Baggage,’ You Shouldn’t Date A Single Mom

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Emily Maynard and daughterIf there was anything that might have tempted me to watch the Bachelorette, it was the fact that Emily Maynard is a single mom. I was really interested in seeing how this issue would play out with a bunch of guys who are normally just interested in getting their 15 minutes and maybe making out in a hot tub. (I’ve never watched a single episode of any Bachelor series, but that’s how I think of all the contestants.)

The single mom storyline didn’t end up being enough of a pull, because I still haven’t watched an episode. But I was interested to hear that Maynard basically went off on a guy who referred to her daughter as “baggage.” Literally, she told him to “Get the fuck out,” and kicked him off the show. No rose ceremony needed. I suddenly have a whole lot more respect for Maynard.

As a woman who dated and got married after splitting with my daughter’s father, I always find the discussions surrounding single moms and dating to be interesting. Personally, I had a whole lot of rules and hesitations when it came to dating. My first duty was to protect my daughter, even at the expense of a guy’s feelings, especially when I was’t sure how long our relationship would last.

And the scary thing for single moms is that a lot of men really think of their kids like “baggage.” When I wrote about my own dating rules after I had my daughter, plenty of men said that they were the reason no men wanted single mothers. One commenter said:

“I’m glad this article is here. Men, read this, then read it again. Look at the attitude, the expectations, the worldview. In the single mom’s world, you are tertiary. You’re a walking credit card, a schlep, a loser who has to tiptoe around some single mother’s child, rules, affection cues, gift rules — oh, and you’ll always be a second-class citizen to the kid. And single moms wonder why men won’t sign up for this hell. Men should rise up in unison and say: “No. Not now, not ever. No.”

Finally, the author needs to buy a clue. Single mom should be happy with any attention she gets, and if she disagrees, then remove yourself from the market. 99% of men won’t care if you’re unavailable, because they don’t want to raise someone else’s offspring. That’s your job, mommy. The harsh reality is, on the dating spectrum, single moms are a zero, ranking as low, if not lower, than obese women — for many of the reasons highlighted in this article. So thank you a million times for raising this huge red flag for all men.”

That sentiment is out there and it’s sad. There are men who think that a single mom should feel lucky she got a date at all. There are men who think that children are “baggage.” (Maybe that contestant reads Mommyish. It really seems like it could come from the same person, right?)

But the nice thing to remember is that there are also men like my husband. There are guys who don’t mind the rules and who understand the difficult position a mother is in. There are men who embrace stepchildren as their own.

Hopefully one of those kind of guys is competing in the current season of the Bachelorette. The truth is this, guys like the commenter above, or the “baggage” contestant, shouldn’t date single moms. Plain and simple. These men are selfish and they probably shouldn’t be around children. But let’s not forget that other men exist. Let’s not ignore the presence of really amazing men who aren’t too self-centered to share a woman’s attention with her kids.

Those men are out there and they are worth holding on to and being thankful for. I’m glad I found one. And I wish Emily Maynard the best of luck in her search.