Single parents are ever-present in TV and film. But does Hollywood do them justice?
All too often, we see the helpless, poor single mother desperate to find a knight in shining armor. In stark contrast, the single father is often portrayed as either too busy for his kids (because he's definitely dating a hot, younger woman) or someone who uses his kids to score dates.
Neither of these is accurate. In fact, there are many complicated nuances in single parenthood that aren't portrayed in pop culture. Here's everything Hollywood gets wrong about being a single parent.
All single mothers are poor.
Not all single mothers are poor. In fact, some run their own businesses. Take Angela Benton, founder and CEO of NewME, for example. Her company has helped over 300 startup businesses raise over $17 million.
Don't let Joan Crawford's wire hanger moment in Mommie Dearest fool you. Single mothers aren't crazy. Unless, of course, crazy means balancing work life with home life and possibly a dating life like some kind of seasoned acrobat.
And need saving.
Cathy Lynn Lanier is the chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia. She had a child when she was 15 and is currently a single mother. She's the first woman to hold the position that she currently does. And she definitely doesn't need saving.
If they're not poor or crazy, they're intimidating.
Women who can "do it all," so to speak, are often viewed as intimidating. Instead, they should be celebrated. A woman with kids and a career to envy? She's a hidden gem.
Meanwhile, single fathers are God's gift to Earth.
Single fathers are typically less educated than single mothers, according to Pew, and usually live with a partner. They make more money on average than single mothers do and are much harder to come by.
Co-parenting is impossible.
Hey, Bryan Mills and Lenore St. John made it work in Taken. And if there's anything to learn from Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin's bizarrely worded conscious uncoupling, it's that co-parenting is possible. It might not always be easy, but one day, you just might come to think of your baby daddy "like a brother."
Single mothers have no dating life.
Match.com came out with a study that says single parents actually date more than singles without kids do. Single moms typically know what they want in a man and they definitely don't have time for games—two damn good reasons why they're so date-able.
And if they do, they date losers.
Not all women have terrible taste in men—especially single mothers. If anything, single moms have less time for nonsense, bullsh-t and games, meaning the men they choose to let into their lives are held to a higher standard. If you don't #WasteHerTime2016, she won't waste yours.
Single fathers have no time to spend with their kids.
Roughly 2 million dads work from home these days, according to Pew. That means more time to spend at home with the kids, which puts Hollywood's depiction of single fathers as workaholics with no time to spare to shame.
And if they do, their parenting methods are questionable.
What do Paul McCartney and Madonna have in common? Both were raised by single fathers and both went on to become two of the most successful and influential artists of all time.