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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A recent Reddit thread will leave you counting your blessings that sex doesn't actually go down like a bunch of misinformed, puberty-stricken kids think.
Good God that would be horrifying.
Let's face it. Many of us did not sit down for a long conversation about sex with our parents or our teachers. So, being kids, we used rumor and imagination to fill in the gaps.
Sex education often looked a little like the following:
First, someone's older sibling lied and said something crazy about how sex works. That kid believed the comment as gospel, and went to school the next day.
A committee was then formed at a lunch table, where any finer details and plot-holes were worked out through sheer will and blind enthusiasm.
Then, through oral tradition, a new understanding of sex took the school by storm.
jjgp1112 asked, "What were weird myths you thought about sex as a kid?"
Sheathed Until Sunrise
"I had no clue what ejaculation was in 5th grade, so I though the thing went in and stayed there for like, the whole night. 7 hours or something, then the baby appeared" -- HaroldMcbob
"I used to think the same thing! I was always confused on how you would have sex while sleeping. I assumed you just had to get lucky and roll over top your partner in your sleep" -- SpongeV2
Years of Training
"I was not aware of the vagina having an access to an inside before I hit puberty, so I thought sex was, well, anal. And that birth was basically shi**ing a baby out."
"So anytime I was having a hard time with number 2 in the bathroom, I would try to motivate myself that I'm basically practicing the pain for child birth, and that it could be so much worse."
A Scary 3 Years
"In elementary a kid asked me if I knew what a condom was."
"I went ahead and described a nicotine patch." -- Pluckt007
"Kid asked me the same. 'No,' I said."
"'Well... It's when you cut the skin off your penis,' he said as we kids stared at a used condom in the bushes at our elementary school."
"I spent 3 years believing that I had seen discarded penis skin." -- Snatch_Liquor
Power in the Bedroom
"Whoever tried harder would determine the gender of the baby.." -- rosenes2
"Sheesh, then I certainly hope they were in agreement on who would "win" lol. I can't stop imagining a couple battle f***ing to the death." -- PumpkinPox
"Charles Darwin would be proud." -- Kennyboy_7
"My sister thinks sex is two people laying naked on top of each other and talking about marriage" -- satansgoldfish2222
"Depending on her age that's either really cute or really disturbing" -- zoe_2703
"the two sat there and layed naked on top of each other"
"Him: now that we are finally here on top of each other, what kind of house do you think would be nice? Her: oh I don't know, a townhouse seems nice" -- tastelessryan
"That you just put your di** inside a woman and then the sperm starts flowing continuously, like pee."
"Oh and that you actually have to push the sperm out yourself, like pee. You learn to do that when you get old enough."
"I thought you literally could not have sex before marriage. It couldn't happen. The vagina would reject the penis like water and oil." -- ImInJeopardy
"I din't think this but I thought you could only get a girl pregnant if you were married."
"Little did I know, I was born a good 8 months before my parents got married!" -- jjgp1112
"I thought sperm were the size of tadpoles."
"I thought they shot out and filled up the condom like a water balloon and you would be able to see and hear them slithering and wriggling around."
"Needless to say I was scared of sexual maturity for a while."
The Warmest Condom Ever
"I heard about sheepskin or lambskin condoms when I was a kid and for some reason imagined a guy wrapping one of my rabbit pelts around his member and trying to get that into a woman."
"Never occurred to me they'd just use the skin and not the whole hide."
A Major Miscalculation
"I always thought homosexual meant that you like to have sex at home. I was trying to sound cool at summer camp when I was around 12 so I told everyone I was homosexual."
"All of the girls started hanging out with me and I thought all the guys were avoiding me because they were jealous."
"Realized my mistake later in the summer and never went back to that camp or talked to anyone there again."
One of my best friends growing up was Mormon. Luckily she had enough sexual education to understand how babies were made. She did, however, tell me about a distant cousin of hers who was so sheltered that she had absolutely no concept that sex existed at all. She and her husband both had no idea how to make babies. They thought married couples just had to pray to God to get pregnant, and they had no idea they were supposed to physically do anything.
They never had sex. After a year of "trying" (the prayer thing) they asked their bishop for spiritual guidance and what they were doing wrong, why God would not bless them with a child... And the bishop then had a very awkward sex talk with these adult people. Imagine, after a year of marriage, finding out from your bishop that you were supposed to be putting your WHAT in her WHAT!?!
I thought eating a lot of food until you got fat got you pregnant, this was reinforced when people said they have a 'food baby'.
Thought that babies were made by the kiss at the wedding. As in, you may kiss the bride, boom, pregnant. Also thought that you weren't allowed to kiss until marriage and this was why.
My friend told me when we were 7 that having sex was touching buts with a girl. Accidentally touched buts with a girl in the pool later and thought I had had sex. Took me a few years to figure it out.
I saw the episode of Seinfeld where George wanted to have makeup sex. I thought they meant makeup as in the beauty products you put on your face. When he was struggling to open the condom, I thought it was the pack of foundation he couldn't open. So nine year old me thought that people smeared makeup all over each other during sex.
My parents had six kids, all of us almost exactly two years apart. The logical 10yo me deduced that my parents had sex once - on their wedding night - and then the babies just started coming every two years.
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Sexual invitations are apparently in the eye of the beholder.
Never again will a sneeze or a lollipop be a PG behavior. That stuff gets X-rated QUICK.
When a purely functional action appears wildly sexual, it's a total paradigm shift.
It does not matter if years went by with no promiscuous conclusions. The action could have been totally functional, a mundane behavior of daily life.
But it shifts.
When the threshold is crossed into the sex universe, the once behavior can never regain the old innocence.
It’s like passing the risqué Rubicon.
But this is not the Roman army stuck on the wrong side of a river. This is an array oftongues and lips and teeth and eyes, in no particular order.
All About the Subtext
"When I was 15 I made an animation for my friend's dad's drilling company. It showed a drill rod rotating in and out of a dirt hole which had a patch of grass around it. My mother saw it and told me to rethink it."
COUGH INTO YOUR ELBOW
"When people make a fist to cough into, that second when they have their mouths open, I always imagine them sucking d*ck, always. And it doesn't matter who, everyone." -- tibisay_the_monkey
"Read this. Coughed like this. Got enlightened. Not doing that ever again." -- secksiboi62
In Good Hands
"When a guy is putting the car in reverse and puts his arm around the passenger seat to look behind him." -- kaylapears
"YES LORD" -- Belialzebub
"Highly underrated. Being focused is so hot." -- themoondream
"Pulling out a wedgie/adjusting the crotch area. I'm just feeling like a sandwich down there." -- ParadoxicalProblem
"I feel really embarrassed when I notice my zipper is down. I try to fix it without anyone noticing because I'm afraid they will think I'm doing some perverted stuff." -- oldcoffee
Through a Lens of Loneliness
"When I was younger, getting a hug from a girl would have me fantasizing about our future together for months." -- Diraka
"Sh*t, it wouldn't even take a hug for me. When I was younger, a girl could just be polite while I was paying her for my Auntie Anne's pretzels and before the transaction was over she was the one and we were going to be together forever." -- compendium88
"Look at this player." -- Maselang_Bahaghari
Gotta Be a Freud Quote for this
"The look on your face when you're about to sneeze." -- SomeOriginalContent
"Can confirm. People pay me money to sneeze, and it is definitely sexual to them." -- wanderingnightt
"They say a sneeze is 1/8 of an orgasm. That's why I keep a pepper shaker on my nightstand." -- Torpid-O
The Hot, and the Not So Hot
"Seeing a guy take off a sweater by reaching over his head and pulling it off. I have no idea how guys are able to undress this way but it can definitely be a turn on." -- DazedAndConfused0112
"Because they don't have boobs." -- aqua64
"I stuff my arms into the sleeve then slip my head in..." -- Synzy
"I no longer eat ice cream in public thanks to multiple people telling me that I eat them 'seductively.'" -- dragon8713
"Similarly I got in trouble for deep-throating a popsicle when I was like 8. I don't even know why I did it. My step dad told me to stop." -- Chipring13
"Trying to make a friend of the opposite sex once you're over 25. It's SO hard to just make friends without it seeming like you're trying to get with them." -- ACakeCalledDenial
"I have a female coworker that I chat with regularly, my wife thinks she wants to bang me. 'No, Honey, not all opposite sex relationships have to revolve around sex.'"
"Turns out she was right... but I shut that down lol." -- medium2slow
The Most Innocent, the Most Sexual
"Genuinely listening/responding. I can find you interesting without wanting to get in your pants." -- Sloth_Reborn
"This. God knows how many times I have given the wrong idea because somehow people have come to conclusion that you only listen to opposite gender if you wanna f*ck them." -- Moonlights_Embrace
Teenagers Explain Which Things They Thought Were Puberty Related But Turned Out To Be Something Else
Puberty is a confusing time. SO many things are happening to you on several levels: mental, physical, emotional, hormonal.
And while all that is swirling around you, you are bound to encounter some other life challenges. At the time, you might connect these things to puberty, only to find out later it was something completely different.
Here were some answers.
It's Not Just A Mess Sometimes
When I was a teenager, I always thought that having resentment towards my mom (single parent) was normal for that phase in life. Everyone told me I was just an over-reactive teenager, going through changes, "hypersentitive" and it would pass and one day I'll realize how lucky I am to have her. While I agree, she was a good mom; I still harbor a lot of resentment toward her over a lot of things, and my family was extremely toxic and would consistently diminish my feelings to make themselves feel better.
It wasn't just a teenage mess of emotions; these were real problems that my mom couldn't be bothered with. It was more important for her to be the victim, and that hasn't changed still 20 years later. Most people are on the outside looking in, and don't hear both sides of the story. Sometimes the smallest thing can lead to a life of depression, anxiety and self-deprecating. In other words, you're not just 'finding yourself' as a teenager. Life comes with constant growth and realizations; don't ignore your instinct because everyone is telling you otherwise.
When I was about 14 I started to hear a crazy amount of people yelling at me inside my head. I would just be sitting on my bed or something and it would absolutely overcome me. I heard my parents and siblings and friends all at the same time yell at me things I've actually heard the week before and then everything in real life would be moving super fast and there was no way I could trick my mind into moving slow. I would actually move slowly but it would make it worse and I would just have to lay there and nothing would help... I attribute it to panic attacks but no one has ever been able to help diagnose it.
Ain't Just The Hormones
Insanely heavy, painful period. Massive weight gain. Being uncontrollably mean to my mom and then crying because I didn't know why I was being mean to my mom. My "puberty" was so bad my mom took me to all kinds of doctors. She felt like I was possessed and also dying. I physically could not get out of bed on my period. Turns out I have PMDD, bipolar disorder and an under active thyroid. I went on birth control at 11 to control the bleeding and mood swings. Mood stabilizers around 13 and then thyroid meds at 15 and life was much better.
The Vibrance Goes Down
Losing the vividness and emotion of life. I thought society cherished and glorified childhood so much because everything feels so much more real and vivid back then. Turns out i just have a condition called derealisation lol
Some People Can't Handle The Truth
I get extremely bad pains in my legs - which was suspected to be growth pains.
Multiple doctor visits later, without my mother as she never believed me, and I was told I have very weak tissues in my legs that often tear or get inflammed, and had to start physio to try build them up more.
My mother still thinks I'm lying, even though I have been diagnosed by professionals. It hurts.
Being Isolated Forever
I was feeling a very large disconnect from everyone around me, especially people my age. I constantly visualized being in a bubble separate from everyone else, and I had a hard time having conversations. But I just thought it was puberty, because I didn't want to self diagnose, and I figured everyone else felt the same.
Turns out it was Aspergers.
Though Sometimes These Go Hand In Hand
Being always afraid is to talk to people, planning every word I will say to make sure I will not make any error, looking at every single detail of them to make sure I'm not saying anything wrong. Turns out I have social anxiety
'Twas The Cows
That was when my lactose sensitivity kicked in. Milk always made me feel a little ill as a child but I thought it was normal. Then I started getting really sick and my parents didn't believe me, so I spent several years being forced to drink milk every day and feeling really sick but thinking it was the price of growing up.
The Price Of Identity
The emergence of a deep seated anger towards my parents. Television and media showed me that conflicts between teen and parent was a normal part of growing up and my unidentifiable (at the time) anger was just raging hormones. It didn't help that my family would sigh at me citing my growing up as being the cause of the troubles. In some ways they were right.
Turns out I was just beginning to understand that my parents were controlling bullies and they felt threatened and wanted to knock me down harder the more I tried to have my own identity and boundaries. Teenagehood sucks for so many kids, they're just trying to figure life and themselves out and get stereotyped and invalidated by society at large just because of their age.
Just A Normal Virus
Hi! Mom here, not a teen. My pre-teen had the flu a month or so ago (time means nothing right now). He ran to the bathroom and got sick. I grabbed what I could to comfort him and when he was done he asked me "is this puberty?!" I assured him it was just the flu. Puberty would suck too, but not like this.
Do you have something to confess to George? Text "Secrets" or "" to +1 (310) 299-9390 to talk him about it.
Young children are powerless little monsters. They depend entirely on their parents or guardians for food, warmth, hygiene, and emotional well-being.
Yes, that can be a total hassle. But there is something so endearing, so fulfilling about providing for such a vulnerable person. When that vulnerability has left and gone, that crash-down-to-earth feeling of a parent is palpable.
The means that prove the great shift are varied.
Sometimes it’s a look in eyes. It can be behavior observed from far away.
Or maybe it’s a subtlety of speech: a sly new absence of permission- seeking can hammer it home too.
When “Legal” is More Important than “Allowed”
"I was on vacation in the Bahamas. Atlantis resort. I was in the casino at a video poker machine, and my daughter sat down at the machine next to me...drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other."
"For about a nanosecond I wanted to scold her, but then remembered that she was 20."
Wind Out of the Sails
"When I was starting to get after my son about cleaning his room, and suddenly realized I was looking up at him." -- Sixthman27
"I'm 5'2. I'll be looking up at my toddler in no time." -- Zer_0
A Profound Absence of Question Marks
"When my oldest just recently said, 'Mom, Dad, I'm moving. Here are my plans, this is who I'm moving in with, and here is how I'll handle my part of the bills.'"
"Hit me like a ton of bricks."
Handing Over the Reins
"Running through the Toronto airport trying to catch our flight that was leaving in 5 minutes. I hear 'Dad! Not that way, this way!'"
"She basically took charge from that moment on because she had a cooler head in that moment than I did."
"We made it to the plane with seconds to spare."
He’s Who’s Driving the Bus
"When he hugged me as I buckled into my airline seat -- then walked forward and entered the cockpit." -- pullin2
"Can't wait to do that. Give my mother a great big hug as a thanks for all the stress and hardship my piloting career is gonna give her when I start soon." -- tHaTwAsChEeSy
Outdoing the Master
"My boy who is 3 and a half years old fell in love with Mario kart when I play on the switch. On his 4th day of playing, he drifted." -- JT_the_Irie
"I spent my entire childhood not knowing you could drift, so he's like 15 years ahead of me."-- Sharpman76
Didn’t Even Feel the Need to Share About it
"A local news channel interviewed my 16 year old son about how he was feeling about the schools in our area closing for a month due to the pandemic. Most of the interview clips they showed in the segment were from my son, but he didn't mention it to me."
"A relative sent me a link to the story that evening and I watched it three or four times, with tears in my eyes. His answers were so articulate and mature, and he looked so grown up and comfortable in front of the camera."
"It was kind of like seeing him through someone else's eyes and realizing all of the sudden that he's a young man, not really a kid anymore."
Proof is in the Plate
"When I started plating four same sized plates of food for dinner." -- ncconch
"My daughter's nearly 2 and we're far from this stage at the moment. The other night however, we were eating a pasta bake. This girl would just not stop eating, demolished 2 portions then went on to start picking from my plate." -- Flopper2k19
Conveyed through Materials
"I was separating laundry and I couldn't tell my wife's and my daughter's underwear apart." -- theworldisaniceplace
"My daughter is 8 and my wife wears sensible, comfortable britches. This is me everytime the laundry is done and the first time it happened it was just weird emotionally for me." -- flperson
No Questions Asked
"Besides the fact that he's made me a grandmother (with help from my lovely daughter in law, obviously), there was a recent family tragedy, and they really stepped up and took charge when it was needed."
Apparently Mario Kart Milestones are Common
"When she was 5, my daughter kicked my ass in Mario Kart. Tbh, I was rusty and she had been playing for months and had gotten quite good."
"I could see in her eyes that she lost a bit of respect for me that day."
To Be Fair, She Sounds Like She Moves Fast
"When she looked at me with disdain & said "take your money back" after the tooth fairy visited. She's 7." -- Pointer_Brother
"Mine was when my twin boys about the same age tried to scam the tooth fairy. They tried to kick each others teeth out. Luckily they told me they had lost a tooth when they got the first one out." -- Ak_Lonewolf
"See, my brother and I just lied about believing in the tooth fairy as long as we could to con my parents. She just gave up a goldmine." -- CultOfWawa
A Wake Up Call that Comes with an Image
"The day I found my Unscented Lubriderm chilling on his nightstand.
"Oh. So that's now a thing." -- LittleMissWu
"I would die a little inside. My son is that age. I'm wondering when or where I will find the evidence." -- HotDem70
The Need for a Entirely New Logic
"I don't remember exactly when or what had happened, but I was talking to my wife about something the oldest did and suddenly realized that I had to start punishing him differently."
"All of the kid things (taking away toys, go to your room, etc) wouldn't phase him anymore as he was no longer caring much about those things."
You're Both Just Employees Now
"Unfortunately, that moment when my kid had to go to work during a pandemic and I got to laze at home." -- billyblue22
"Yeah, my lazy butt is home (job is closed) and my daughter, a nurse, is at work." -- Mysid
Disney Movies: Less Appropriate with Age
"When I was watching an animated Disney movie (no, I don't remember which). There was an adult joke hidden within the normal dialog. I thought it was funny, but was keeping my mouth shut."
"My daughter busted out laughing.....that was when I knew that she was no longer a baby."
"They (similar age) started fighting, but instead of the usual shit flinging or throwing punches, they started throwing actual arguments at each other."
"Like, actually making sense. And they were even replying to each other's arguments with more arguments!"
"It took like 20 seconds before they went back to sh*t flinging, but for a moment I could see the future."
Mothering an Adult
"I asked my mom this and she said it was when she had to go to the bus stop to drag my drunk ass home after I had already missed it once. Not my proudest moment."