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Divorced Mothers: What these brave women don't need

Divorced mothers are among the bravest people I have ever met.

Not only are many fighting financial battles with a former spouse, they are at the same time negotiating with schools, coordinating visits to doctors, ferrying children to and from sports events, strategizing visits for the children with the other parent, and trying to placate a boss and colleagues at work.

Simultaneously, many are trying to maintain some form of sanity though attempting to develop the semblance of a social life while having to face a stigma (thankfully it is diminishing in some cultures) about being divorced at all.

What divorced mothers do not need is:

1. Romantic involvement with a needy man – especially one who is in search of a mother but doesn’t know it.
2. Judgment about her parenting, her discipline, or her children’s behavior.
3. Questions about what went wrong in her marriage, or the suggestion (overt or covert) that had she “given” her marriage to God, or been more obedient or submissive, or prayed more, fasted more, tithed more faithfully, her marriage would have survived.
4. To be thought of as an easy target for sex as if it is the one thing she must surely be missing now that her marriage is over.


Rod E. Smith column can be read daily in The Mercury newspaperRod E Smith has taught family therapy and courses on related topics for various institutions in many locations around the world. His “You & Me” newspaper column is widely enjoyed in South Africa where it has been published every week day for 9 years in The Mercury.  

4 Comments so far:
Kerry on 22 October 2010
I feel that your article is skewed and makes out that divorced women are poor victims having to strategise visits with the father and fight financial battles with him. The way it is written you leave out the number of fathers who pay religeously but are denied access to their children. You don't write from a perspective where some of the women are the guilty party.
Rebekah on 22 October 2010
I thought this was a good article and was thinking that my sister would benefit from it BUT I must say I agree with Kerry. Also to take in consideration is divorced mothers that expect the father to do everything for the child in terms of transporting and planning for school holidays or sick days. We have this daily and it would be nice to see my husbands ex actually get off her ass and do things too - he politely does just does it but she should take some responsibilty too.
Kerry on 23 October 2010
Don't get me wrong I think the article has value and the intention of it is great, but I don't want it forgotten that divorced fathers are sometimes getting a very raw deal! Some divorced mothers are very brave and genuine people others are not so great. It is important in any situation to look at the specific situation and the facts of that situation.
Cathy on 29 October 2010
I am divorced for more than 10 years now and never have I come across a better description of what my experience is of what people’s perceptions are around divorced women. Thanks Rod, you have hit the nail on the head. You are shockingly honest. I can’t wait to share this article with a few misinformed people.
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