According to Wikipedia, a single parent is an uncoupled individual who shoulders most or all of the day-to-day duties of raising a child–a child born from an unplanned pregnancy or one raised in a situation caused by divorce. Despite this, people label single moms because of their marital status not their parental duties.

When I used to say I was a single mom, I would get the I feel so sorry for you look from strangers. At first, I didn’t mind the sympathy. Heck, I was dumped during my second trimester. Someone should feel sorry for me, right? Those who didn’t feel pity, felt admiration.

People acknowledged that motherhood was hard, which in turn meant that I was strong. The pat on the back for working, parenting, cooking, cleaning and juggling felt good.

Although I sacrificed, stretched and achieved, I realized I wasn’t really doing this alone. For one, I cop-parented with my ex. And for two, I moved to back to my hometown to raise my daughter near my large, close-knit family. My team. My cheerleaders.

My support system stretches for miles, with an endless list of family and friends playing the role of babysitters, chefs and chauffeurs.

If snow closes my daughter’s school, or I need a girls’ night out, I drop my daughter off at my parents’ house. If I can’t buy something until my next paycheck, my dad loans me money. If I forget to stock the medicine cabinet, my friend runs to the pharmacy to avoid dragging a sick child out in the middle of the night. And even if there isn’t a minor emergency, there is always an abundance of love.

I don’t have a ring on my finger, but I’m not traveling the road of motherhood all alone.

Together, my family and friends make up my village. They ensure my daughter grows up healthy and happy. And they put a smile on mommy’s face as well! I can turn to them to pray, rejoice and vent.

Do you think society should get rid of labels like single moms? Do you think the term single mom should be rebranded?