Single Moms Deserves Equal Opportunity

We Can Do It! Rosie the RiveterEver since I joined a local mailing list for Indonesia Single Parents Community, I’ve learned more about life as single parents in Indonesia and the daily struggles facing us.

One email that got me all worked up came from this lady, a principal in a religious School, she’s clearly a smart and educated woman…the only downfall is she’s a divorcee with one child.

She was venting out about the unfair treatment she’s been getting from the school’s board and her child’s school’s principal. They made what I considered very insulting remarks to her about her status as a single mother.

As I had written before, divorce is still hugely considered a big taboo in Indonesia – and in some Asian countries as well – but the biggest stigma is being labeled at the women. Divorced women – be it a single mom or divorcee without children.

Like it or not, Indonesians still look down on divorced women especially in this case single moms and it is not only sad, it is degrading!

Why should women get jabbed for her marital status? What does intelligence, diligence and work appraisal get to do with being divorced? Apparently, in some companies, it matters!

How shallow can these people go?

Being a single and working full-time moms means WE have to work double – EXTRA harder than married women. Why? Because we are constantly being pushed to prove to everyone around us that we could manage to do it all solo. That we can in-fact fly solo!

When some people think that we single moms would be seducing their husbands/boyfriends…we are more concern about making it all up to our children for the lost time – especially if we work long hours. We are more worried about making ends meet when we have deadbeat exes who refused – some even doesn’t want to see their children!

Some of us ‘graduated’ from an abusive marriage – be it emotional or ones that left us barely alive! Some of us have exes who hump around like rabbits with every single girl they can get their hands on! So to be that insecure in your own relationship to worry so much that we would snag your partner is really laughable at times!

Being a working mom is hard enough (single or not!) – knowing that most companies in Indonesia would rather hire single women because they worry mothers cannot sell their soul to the companies and put their work above anything else in their life. We are constantly trying to break that image and proof that we can perform in the work field as good as anybody else. Yes, we worry about our children that we MUST leave behind and there are emergencies that stopped us from coming into work (Read: very sick children!) but most working moms I have met are giving not only 100% but 200% of their efforts to show they are qualified in their fields. As the single breadwinner we are working our asses off to pay the bills, to pay for school – and God knows how expensive education in Indonesia is – to raise a child… So for companies to look down on us simply because of our status is truly disgusting!

I’m not saying that other working moms (married ones) and dads don’t work just as hard but I really feel that to some Indonesian companies, being a single moms means we need to prove ourselves over and over again.

I considered myself lucky to have a boss who never judges me for my status. He told me to go when I asked him if I can take a day off on Lil’A first day of school before he went down memory lane telling me stories of his own kids first day of schools.

Equality really is the words that most companies – heck, most Indonesians needs to learn and understand.

Breaking this ‘bad image’ might take years to accomplish but I have faith that if our people can look beyond the ‘single mom’, ‘divorcee’ labels they can see that underneath it all we are all just human with hopes and dreams just like everyone else. We want whats best for our children, it is because we love our children so much that we dare to venture out facing the world alone. The only difference is…we are doing it ourselves.

Instead of throwing us with stones and making us wear this huge scarlet letter, just leave us alone and give us the equal treatments. If we want to discuss our divorce or failed marriages we would be talking to our confidantes. So please, if you meet a single mother next time around…don’t treat her any differently. Equality is the keyword!

Some countries are offering financial aids to single moms or educational packages to help women to get back on their feet. It may take years for Indonesia to even have one of these but let’s start with something simple, STOP JUDGING us! Simple as that.

Single moms, let’s keep showing these people that they cannot break us! Chin up and keep marching on.

Have you faced unequal treatments just because you are divorced? What do you think can be done to change this? Yes, I know it is a long battle to change what cultures had ingrained in a lot of people minds.

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5 thoughts on “Single Moms Deserves Equal Opportunity

  1. John Reply

    You’re so right. I feel very sorry for my Indonesian friends who have to deal with this. Maybe if you were a widow they would make life easier for you. I live in Jakarta (although I’m a bule) and I’m a single part-time dad, and I’m lucky that I work for a German employer who is a bit more sympathetic about these things than an Indonesian boss would be. My daughter lives in Australia so I’m forever trying to find ways to get there or have her here so I can spend time with her. But to go to Australia I need to be able to take time away from the office (and either work while I’m away or make up time later). To bring my daughter here means she often spends the day in the office with me and I try to keep her amused with books and games and stuff while I work. It’s very hard to see how that might go across in a real Indonesian office though.

    Have you got any thoughts on how you can spread this message in Indonesia, though, Maureen? Your audience here is no doubt sympathetic but probably not very influential in helping to bring about much change?

    Best wishes in all your struggles


  2. Daria Reply

    I have no idea what women in Indonesia face, but I hope that companies in the USA are getting better about supporting a work/life balance for both moms and dads. Kids are our future and if we can’t understand that having involved parents (and companies that support parental involvement) is important, then where are we headed?

    I’ve seen more and more corporate support for moms (and dads) and hope it continues. I’m a little concerned about how the economy may affect flexibility and benefits for working parents, but in general I see the trend in the right direction as it supports working parents. (both men & women).

    By the way, the only issue I have with your post is the implied assumption that only single moms are working hard. Married moms and single dads and married dads are also struggling to find that elusive work/life balance and make up for the time at work.

  3. Bi Reply

    So sad that in Indonesia they “penalize” women for being divorced. Has nothing to do with what kind of human being you are. Totally agree with you here in this post!

  4. Busy Brain Reply

    Well, I must admit that I don’t socialize that much that I don’t feel the difference of being single and divorced anymore! I used to feel that there is something missing when I just got my divorce, I have to say I was quite sensitive. But now, the only thing I hear from others are, “How come she is still single?” without any negative vibes in it. Have to say that my life is only work and gym, and my social life is just with my other single friends (single parents, some of them) so my opinion doesn’t count. Anyways, I do agree that some women might be intimidated if their partner is close to me, but, let me think…I don’t have any close male friends who are married. If any, I’m good friends with their wives, too!

    Just don’t bother, walk with your heads up high and be proud of yourself. Not proud of being divorced or widowed, but just proud of where and what we do. Just don’t anybody let us down.

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