Remember when Sheryl Sandberg admitted that it was hard as a single parent to lean in? It made headline news for a full 24 hours in the online world. “Some people felt that I did not spend enough time – in her now infamous book advising women how to get ahead in their careers – writing about the difficulties women face when they have an unsupportive partner or no partner at all. They were right,” she wrote. The Facebook COO wasn’t the only person who didn’t write about it enough because, for the most part, single parenting isn’t an open book topic that makes headline news even in 2017. We don’t hear or read about it that often – the joy and trials and tribulations that come with it – not like we do for the “traditional” family model, at least. And yet, the ideals of the traditional family are constantly changing and evolving. Families have sole mums, sole dads, two mothers, two fathers and some are raised by other family members. Even in terms of Hollywood, we’re bombarded with countless variations of the same story – Ryan Reynolds gushing about his family life and children with Blake Lively. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, but what about the other (at this stage) multiple sides of the coin?
Which is why Mad Men star January Jones’ comments on how proud she is to be raising her son as a single parent are refreshing and uplifting – that’s another side of the coin. She says to hell with the traditional family model and feels unapologetic to have her son growing up surrounded by a group of strong women, not seeing the fact that he doesn’t have a typical father figure in his life as something that will hinder him as he gets older. She’s candid about the fact that she doesn’t have a partner – she has never spoken about her son’s biological father – and seeking one isn’t a priority, either, not when he’s surrounded by incredible women.
“Xander has a lot of bro time with the neighbour dads and my dad, who is super young,” she said in an interview with Red Magazine. “It’s good to have strong women around a man. To teach him to respect women. He doesn’t have a male person in his life saying ‘don’t cry’ or ‘you throw like a girl.’ All those shi**y things dads accidentally do.” She’s honest too; the thought of raising a child alone scared her at the beginning.
But fast forward five years and the actress isn’t eager to sacrifice her life for the sake of having another person in it; she loves her life and parenting set up as it is.
“Something else would suffer if a relationship came along,” she continued. “Yes, I’m willing to make that sacrifice for the right relationship – I just don’t feel I need a partner. I don’t feel unhappy or lonely. It would have to be someone so amazing that I would want to make room. Someone who would contribute to my happiness and not take away from it. My life is so full. It’s not like, ‘Aww, I wish I had a man.’ After I had Xander, I went on a couple of dates and I was like, ‘I’d rather be at home sleeping, or watching TV or hanging out with my kid.’”
“I don’t believe in regret. I just try to be a better person. Try to be a better mum.”
Read our editor, Ellie Balfe’s, article on being a single Mum too – Imperfectly Happy