Mom Confession: I Feel More Judged on How My Kids Look Now That I'm Single

Keeping kids groomed is a pain in the neck -- especially active kids that love to play outside in the dirt and grass, do art projects, and eat pudding. So you know, all kids. That’s why it’s such a cliché for moms to lick their thumbs before wiping the latest shmutz off their kids’ cheeks. Because there’s always something there.

I used to not care quite so much about it. Of course I dolled them up when they needed to be dolled up, and generally tried to keep the tangles out of their hair, but I didn’t dwell on it. Now that I’m a single mom, I’m finding myself trying to keep them more presentable more of the time.


Which got me to wondering ... are single parents judged more harshly on their kids’ appearances? Something along the lines of, no wonder your marriage fell apart if you can’t even keep your kids together.

My ex-husband doesn’t seem to be as concerned with the cleanliness level when it comes to our kids. They’re not little Pig-Pens or anything, but they’re usually a little rumpled and definitely in need of a bath by the time I get them back.

I’ve noticed this trend with a few other joint-custody kids at school ... they always seem to be a little more polished when they’re in mom’s care than dad’s.

So is there a double standard on keeping kids well groomed for single moms and single dads? I feel like people will just shrug if they're a mess with him, because he's the dad, and the grooming of the children is not typically seen as his responsibility. Whereas when they're with me, I feel pressure to keep them presentable to prove that I can still do it even though I don't have a husband to help me.

Or is it just that as women we spend too much time worrying about things we shouldn’t worry about?

Have you ever judged another parent on their kids’ appearances?


Image via Isabelle/Flickr

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