For some strange reason, people seem to think that the life of a single parent should be an open book. You may be surprised by the number of intrusive, personal, and inappropriate questions people ask you once they find out that you are a single parent and you may be caught so off guard you don’t know how to answer!
I have been asked questions like: “How did you ‘end up’ as a single parent?” and “Is your kids’ father ‘any good’?” I’ve also been asked if I would have had kids at all had I known I was going to be a single parent and, I’ve been amazed at how many times people ask me questions about my finances: how do I afford raising three kids, who pays for what, and why I don’t get any child support or alimony after fifteen years of marriage? All questions that are inappropriate at the very least and often rather offensive. I know that I am not alone and that many of you single parents face similar intrusive personal questions from coworkers, friends, dates, etc.
So what can we do? I find that I often just say something really simple like, “I’m happy with my family and we seem to do just fine.” I know it seems rather vague but it usually works. With closer friends or people I think I know pretty well, I can be more direct. After all these years, I don’t have any problem telling people that my divorce, custody arrangements, finances, etc. are not for public consumption. “We manage just fine, thanks for asking” is a good closer to many conversations that stray into the personal and the intrusive.
All in all, I think the supportive and understanding folks balance out the clueless, invasive ones. It is amazing though that people continue to ask such questions without thinking how they would feel if someone was probing into the structure and fabric of their families!