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

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.

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  • CW

    The stepchildren wouldn’t be the baggage I would see in dating a single parent. It’s the ex-spouse or baby mama/daddy. Ms. Maynard is a widow (or at least her fiance died) so she’s got far less baggage than the typical single mom.

  • bobita77

    I agree, it is usually the ex that causes the problem. I was also a single mom and found a great man who loves me and my son as well. But I do have a crazy ex who keeps taking us back to court and it can definitely be tough on a relationship. I thank life everyday that my man is still with me and fights with me. He never saw my child as a baggage, but he does consider my ex as a huge bag full of bricks,and he has a point big time.

  • tyler

    Listen, the guys arent being MEAN.

    ITS A fact, deal with it and stop being a hypocrite.

    Guys OR GIRLS, do not find anything fascinating or advantageous about starting a relationship from scratch with someone who has kids. PERIOD.

    Its not an opinion. Its a fact. HOWEVER, there are EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE.

    Would EVERYONE date a terminally ill patien who has 3 years to live? Sure MAYBE A FEW WOULD. Does that mean its “IDEAL”? NO….

    Wake up, your no longer 18 years old and guys are no longer drooling at the prospects of you. by the way, this new reality… is what EVERY GUY deals with everyday, we get absolutely NO favoritism.

    Wake up, its not being “mean” or “bad” or “jerkish”.


    Go ahead date a single father with 4 children… I bet you would you hypocrite.


  • anonymous

    Single parents should only date other single parents.

    Why not only date when the kids are with the father?

  • Sun

    You have GOT to be kidding me.

    WHY would any man date a women who **** another man, got inseminated, and produced an heir that is not his in blood–who is a constant living reminder that you are taken by another man (on top of the other problems that come along with dating a single mother)?

    Please, I’m curious about how far the ignorance goes…

    P.S. You found a man because he was able to look past that mainly due to your looks (assuming that is you in the picture). If you are a single mom who is still young and attractive you MAY have a chance.

  • Lo

    That comment went south so fast… You don’t want to come second; that’s fine, but it’s bizarrely stupid to say that single moms are worthless. The red flags are those dipshits who see women as heir-producing vessels or men as walking bank accounts.

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  • J

    So people are selfish if they aren’t interested in single parent baggage (and yes, it IS baggage)? I’m glad you found someone willing to put up with you, but seriously, no one owes single parents dates of they aren’t interested in the baggage that comes with. The rest of us get to have dating rules and standards too, you know.

  • Why the heck not?

    Single mothers, those of them who aren’t widows or donor inseminees at least, are the , ones who like irresponsible bad boys, by and large. So you want irresponsible bad boys to stay away from single women, when this is exactly the type of man that single women have proved that they like? Given that irresponsible bad boys are irresponsible, and bad boys, fat chance.

    Also, responsible good boys of the world – in 2012 even a responsible good boy can have a hookup or casual “just for fun” dating. Why can’t some of these hookups or dates be with single moms? Why the hell not? To whom is this article addressed?

    • Why the heck not?

      single women –> single mothers

    • pj

      I’m a childless single guy and won’t date single moms and this is why.

      My friends and alot of people I meet say im a nice guy but when I approach of ask out most lady’s they’re NEVER intrested but they’ll always go for thr bad boys.

      Later on down the line if I happen to cross paths with any of these women again (who are now pushing prams/strollers) they’re the first to strike up a conversation with me then ask me for my number.

      My point is nice guys aren’t gonna give single moms a chance simply because the lady’s wouldn’t give the nice guys a chance pre mother hood.