If you live under a rock, or just don’t watch “reality” television like Dancing With the Stars — a show that gathers already rich, privileged or just plain annoyingly famous people and pits them against each other in a dance competition — you may not know that Bristol, the eldest daughter of Sarah Palin, is a contestant on the show.
Bristol made headlines for being pregnant at 17 whilst her mother was John McCain’s running mate, etc., and is now (after much “we’re getting married/ no i hate him / it’s back on / no now i really hate him” drama that was sold to the highest-bidding magazines) a single mother.
Now Caroline Heldman thinks we should all be cheering for Bristol.
Bristol Palin has publicly experienced many of the hardships that pregnant young women privately face. I can only imagine what it must feel like to be 17, pregnant, and find out your “mistake” will be front-page news.
Bristol had plans to go to college and become a nurse, but, like many of the other 13.7 million single parents in the U.S., her life shifted when Tripp was born. Instead, she got a job at a medical office and started classes at a community college in Anchorage. Bristol’s celebrity and money cushion her experience relative to that of other single parents, but she, too, is struggling to manage work and parenting.
Except, no, she isn’t.
I sympathize, for certain, with Bristol’s position. Being a single parent is hard. I’ve done it, and there’s nothing more exhausting, rewarding or challenging. Nothing.
But when I did it, I didn’t have a mother banking millions as a Tea Party speaker or pulling down major bank with a book about, well, whatever that book was about. And I wasn’t, unlike Bristol, getting paid $15 to $30K to encourage other youth to stay true to the abstinence-only sex education that failed us both.
Most of the other 13,699,000 single mothers in the U.S. are like I was: pulling down a salary in the very low two figures, struggling to be a present, quality parent while meeting obligations with work.
That’s why I won’t root for Bristol: because she’s not really a single mother. The single mother I was, and the single mothers I know, won’t pass on to their sons and daughters the same stupid ideas about sex and love that kept us ignorant. The single mothers I know don’t splash their faces on the front of a magazine (which has paid them a handsome fee) and lament the difficulty of their posh lifestyle while decrying the lack of privacy.
The don’t do any of that, because unlike Bristol and her speaking fees and familial wealth and appearance fee for “Stars,” they haven’t got the time.
They’re too busy being single mothers.