Single mothers command respect, and they ought to.
Left to raise children without a spouse, these women must be financially independent, have eyes on the backs of their heads, and somehow find additional hours beyond the normal 24 hour allotment.
And that task only becomes more difficult when they have to wrap their heads around raising boys.
There are, of course challenges and anxieties unique to male and female children and teens. Without another male person around the house to empathize, single mothers have to be very resourceful and candid to get through the years-long struggles.
Perhaps gearing up for a similar situation, Redditor RocketQueen1992 asked:
"Sons of single mothers, what is something all moms need to know while raising a boy?"
Of course, puberty was discussed at length.
A Knock Makes All the Difference
"If they've hit puberty, knock before entering."
"It will save both parties some trauma and awkwardness."
It Can Wait
"Do not wake up boys in the morning and immediately ask them to get out of bed."
"It will result in a very awkward conversation neither of us wants to have. Wake us up and tell us to come do whatever you need in a few minutes."
"Research male puberty so you're prepared to give 'The Talk.' Also be prepared to teach your son how to shave because his father may not be available to do so himself. My mom was fully prepared for all this and more, she credits that to having 3 brothers and being the only girl."
"Also don't be afraid to expose him to girly things too! Every boy should also have an understanding of the female body because it helps them empathize with their female friends and family."
"Also don't be afraid to share your interests and hobbies with him too, it will only deepen your bond! One of my fondest memories of growing up was watching the Golden Girls with my mom."
"A teenage boy is going to have mood swings from I want to punch everything to I want to hump everything.. he needs outlets to deal with both."
"And both are helped with healthy doses of privacy so he can sort it out."
Still Can Be a Teacher
"Definitely inform yourself about the male body. My mother never understood it and could never teach me about myself, I had to discover everything myself, and I did, but those were some years filled with strong anxiety."
Time and Place
"Don't harass him about girls he likes or dating, it's not funny or cute to prod, it's uncomfortable as hell and not something everyone wants to really talk about"
"Not a son of a single mother but a medical student: please for the love of god teach your son to dry his penis after he leaves the shower. You have no idea how many rashes and infections are caused by that."
People Explain The Worst Thing That's Ever Happened To Them On Their Birthday
Other people discussed the importance of being patient with a son's inherent position as a man in society. Sometimes, the wounds of the man who left take awhile to heal.
He's Not Him
"Even if you have a hardcore hatred of men you can't let that influence the way you raise a son."
"My Mom hated men because of whatever my father did to her. I was treated different from my sister because of that. I still love my mother but at one point after I moved out we didn't talk for years."
"My sister was bigger, stronger, and more athletic than me. Despite being younger she would bully me so badly. If I laid a finger on her my Mother punished me badly. Not only that, I was literally raised as a girl for the first 6-7 years of my life because of how much my Mom hated men."
Let Him Start Fresh
"Please.. Never put another man before your son."
"Also he is not his father, don't hold him accountable for things that his father may have done."
"I'd say for boy or girl, never, ever, compare your child to the parent that left. Every time my mom says 'Don't act like [Dead beat]' or 'Don't make that face, you look like [Dead beat].' It breaks my heart every time because I know just how much she hates him and I don't want that for anyone else."
At Least It Only Lasted Two Weeks
"Don't berate nor trash talk men with sweeping generalizations. My mom is a single mom and my dad split when I was 10 and my mom trash talked him so much that for about 2 weeks, I just about resented women until I realized how foolish and ignorant of a thing to do it was."
And others talked about the ways some single mothers try to fill the absence of a father and husband figure. The truth is, it can't be filled easily, so try to do so only makes things more strained.
It's Gotta Be Real
"Don't marry someone you don't love because you think your son needs a father-figure or for the sake of financial stability. My mom did, no one came out of it happy."
"Leave if you find yourself with more abusive men."
"It's not fair for a child to feel as though the most important person to him chooses a**holes over him. It causes lasting damage."
He Is Still a Child
"Do not expect your son to fill your missing spouses role."
"My mom would constantly act like I was some male patriarch of the house, constantly giving me extra stress like financial concerns and death plans. Gave me an unnecessary amount of stress and didnt allow me to have much of a fun childhood since I was 'playing dad' "
Not a Zero-Sum Game
"When you meet another man that you fall in love with we are still there and we still need your love and attention"
Of course, we cannot let this list make us think that all single mothers do these kinds of things. There are so many amazing mothers out there busting tail and maintaining compassion all the way through. Here's to you!
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