The Sexism That Accompanies Single Fatherhood


Why do people assume that all men are perverts?

Recently, my 12-year-old daughter was invited to a sleepover party. Fun, right? Along with the start of the school year comes the start of the sleepover season.

Except, apparently, a lot of mothers didn’t feel so comfortable with this sleepover party, based on the texts that I was (very) unfortunately added to in a group chat.

Why did these moms have their knickers in a knot? Because it was happening on a Saturday night, at a divorced Dad’s house, on his weekend with his kids.

All the women in this group wanted to ‘meet the Daddy’ before they felt completely comfortable sending their daughters to one their friend’s parent’s homes for a birthday sleepover celebration. Really, was there anything to discuss?

I didn’t want anything to do with this conversation, because these women, I believe, were unfairly judging men and making unjust assumptions.

While I know a handful of my daughter’s friends’ mothers, I certainly do not know all, or even most, of them, and I send her off to sleepovers with mother’s I’ve never met, talked to, or even seen, aside from a quick wave hello. Why wouldn’t I feel the same when it came to a single dad I’ve never met? Or for that matter, a child who has two dads?

Why would I deny my daughter the fun of a sleepover at a home of a single dad? I don’t deny my daughter the experience of sleepovers at homes of single moms I’ve never sat down and had a coffee with.

Still in disbelief that these women thought gender mattered in this scenario, I started scouring the internet to see how other mothers felt about their daughters sleeping over at the homes of single dads.

One commenter on a site wrote, ‘Personally, I believe in the philosophy to be ‘better safe than sorry’, particularly on this issue. I would rather deny my daughter the experience at a stranger’s house, then to allow her to go and deeply regret that decision later.’

Sigh. So, pretty much, this woman assumes that penis = pedophile? Or would she also deny her daughter sleeping at a single mom’s house, because ‘better safe than sorry!’

Another comment disgusted me: ‘Personally, and if I’m being totally honest here, if one of my daughters were invited to the home of a single dad for a sleepover without a female present, I would find an excuse to not allow her to go. Until I get to know a man, even the father of one of my daughter’s friends, I have to admit that I proceed with caution when it comes to my daughters.’

So, the rest of us, who allow our daughters to sleep at divorced dad’s house must be throwing all caution to the wind then? Please.

The best? A so-called ‘expert’ weighed in, with what I believe is the stupidest f***ing bit of advice I have ever read. They wrote, ‘Call and say, ‘I’m sorry, and this is about me and not you, but I just don’t feel comfortable with a man supervising an overnighter. Offer to host the girls at your place instead, if you can, or ask to turn the sleepover into a ‘late-over,’ where your daughter stays only till bedtime.’ Yeah, because NOTHING could ever happen during a ‘late-over,’ or even an afternoon playdate for that matter.

Not all mothers are disturbed by the idea of their daughters sleeping at a single dad’s house. Most women seem to want to just meet these dads before they’ll allow their child in their homes for a sleepover. I can wrap my head around this. But do all mothers know every single mother who hosts a sleepover party?

In fact, I believe that single dads who host sleepover parties tend to put more effort into it and go out of their way just to make the girls and parents feel as comfortable as possible.

After all, if you’ve ever hosted a sleepover for a bunch of 12-year-old girls, you know that it pretty much consists of a bunch of screaming girls running around the house keeping you up all night. Why would that be different at Dad’s than at Mom’s?

My children have a lot of friends with divorced parents. (Who doesn’t?) Just as I would not even think twice about sending my daughter to a friend’s sleepover at a divorced, single, or two-dad household, I wouldn’t think twice about sending my young son for a sleepover at a divorced, single, or two-mom household.

Straight up? The behaviour of these ladies was completely sexist. But what really kills me is that while you may think you are ‘protecting’ your child from a divorced, single, or gay man, you know who you’re hurting the most? The child who just wants to celebrate their birthday.



  1. Melanie on September 14, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    What people fail to realize is a pedophile is not obvious about what they do. Sleepovers at a married couples house are actually more likely to have a pedophile than a single dad’s house. Pedophiles try to look as harmless as possible and will use every trick they can to sneakily get a child alone. They will outwardly appear to be hardworking, family oriented, safe individuals; while inwardly they will wait till your child leaves the group to go to the bathroom, or the kitchen. They will innocently ask the child they have chosen as their victim to help them do something really innocuous like feed the puppy in the garage or clean up the kitchen, or something else that removes that child from the group, and they are quick. To the point the spouse in the house wont even realize anything is amiss. They will rejoin the group and make some excuse, like “the puppy got out and we had to go get her” or “We spilled something and had to clean it up” etc. People need to wake up and STOP assuming.

  2. Autumn on September 14, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    It’s sad that people judge based on the sex of the parent throwing the sleepover. I bet it was a really fun night and exciting for the girl and her dad. Personally I have to know the parents(married/single, male/female, or otherwise) before I let my kids go to their house or for a sleepover. I can’t imagine dropping them off somewhere that I don’t know the people inside. It’s something my parents did with me, and while it was annoying at the time I completely appreciate it now. I had amazing friends with parents who were wonderful to me because of it.

  3. Kerrie Rough on September 16, 2016 at 12:55 am

    I usually love what I read on savvy mom but this article is atrocious. The views expressed by this author are uneducated and grossly misguided. Many individuals with pedophilic tendencies will avail themselves of any opportunity to groom their victim. It shouldn’t matter if the host is sngle, married, gay or straight.. You SHOULD ALWAYS know the adult you are entrusting to care for your beloved child. Your friends are correct to be more concerned with a single dad host vs a single mom host (96% of sex assaults reported to police were perpetrated by men). Moms of children 11 years of age and younger- you should be vigilant because 79% of sex assault victims are under 11 yrs of age.

    Don’t confuse sexism with vigilant and well guided parenting. Rebecca, may I recommend you consider getting to know who you are allowing to gain unsupervised access of your children to. You may wish to listen to the secret Audio recordings of Jared Fogle (subway guy) as he details how he picks off the weak and insecure girls who are easy prey.

  4. Melissa on September 16, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    100% agree!!!! One of my daughter’s friends mom & dad are divorced and mom now has a female partner. The only concern I’d have about sending my daughter to their house for a sleepover is wondering if there’d actually be any sleeping happening for any of them. If I had a son, I’d have no issue sending him to a house with just a mom or two moms either. It’s absolutely ridiculous to make any assumptions about people based on their gender.

    If you have legitimate concerns about the parenting ability – regardless of gender – or your child’s safety (like if your child has special needs and you don’t know what the home is like) then make the effort to go to the parent’s home, express your concerns, and deal with it like an adult. I’m not comfortable sending my child to a home with a parent I don’t know their name and contact number – and would make an effort to get that info before, but not automatically shut down the request based on an assumption.

    We say it to our kids all the time, so practice what you preach: Use Your Words!

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