Anti-Feminist, or Reflections on Single Motherhood

Strong Woman

I hate being strong-

The compliment makes me cringe.

I hate to hear the sentiment-

a preemptive argument – might as well have said,

“No, I won’t help you.”


When someone says, “You’re so strong!”

in that admiring tone

I want to bash her teeth in.

I am not strong – I am faking

because people like her are no service.


I don’t want to be strong, don’t want to carry

my burdens alone strapped across my shoulders

bearing down equally on each side.

I don’t want to be a pack mule

winding my way through the mountains.

I don’t want to be old before my time.


I want help! Weakness works

for other girls – I’ve seen them

dithering and fussing and arousing

those instincts in men that make them

open doors and carry packages and lie

coats over mud puddles so their

feet don’t get wet. I’ve seen them

inspire weak men to be more and

make heroes of wimps and I want to

lie helpless and cause a transformation

like that.


I want someone to catch me when I swoon, I’m tired

of waking on the floor after an all-night crying jag and dragging

myself to the bathroom to retch and wash

my own damned face

so I can cook breakfast calmly

for a little one

who has no idea

that mommy is tired.


I want help with the bills and help with the raisin’

and someone to tell me that dinner was great

and the kids will be fine, the future is bright

and tomorrow can only be better.


I don’t want to be strong, shoving my way

through a life that won’t move, that won’t bend

that won’t take a break from its vigilance

so I can sneak a quick nap while it’s

looking the other way.


My mother said, “Do it on your own.”

She said, “Never depend on a man.”

Said, “You can’t trust anyone but you.”


– Jenny Braswell 7/14/03

I’ve never forgotten what it was like to be a single parent, and my heart goes out to all of you out there.


~ by gypsyjonga on June 13, 2009.

2 Responses to “Anti-Feminist, or Reflections on Single Motherhood”

  1. Awesome.

  2. This is one of the most thought-provoking and emotion-provoking poems I have ever read. My instinct reading it was, “Oh, no, no, no, it’s good to be strong…oh, wait, I see the point… owwwww my heart.”

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