Since a family with only one parent is still not the norm — although it is more common now — asking your child’s school to explain the concept of "family" a different way or to abide by you and your ex-husband’s fetching schedules may be tricky. Each school has its own approach to dealing with kids in solo-parent families. Find out how teachers interpret these situations on their end.
Sticky situation # 1: I wanted to enroll my daughter to this school but they required a marriage certificate – and I’m no longer married. Among school admission requirements, the child’s birth certificate usually is the most important one. But in some schools, the parents’ marriage certificate is a close second. “I think maybe schools that ask for marriage certificates are the more traditional, more conservative big schools,” shares Lani Mendoza, a preschool teacher for 10 years now. If the school you want your child to get into still requires it, you can still submit your marriage certificate with a note on it that says your marriage has been annulled.
If you really have no marriage certificate to show for, Asuncion Gracia, single mom of two and a former elementary school adviser, suggests informing the school that you cannot submit a marriage contract because you’re not married – period. There’s no need to disclose too many details. “It’s the same with filling up admission forms; you just can’t make up a name just to fill in the blank for ‘name of child’s father’ if he’s really not present in the child’s life. The requirement could be just for formalities' sake anyway. But if the school has a problem with that, then maybe it’s not the school for your child,” she adds.
Sticky situation # 2: I’m single but my child’s teachers address me as “Mrs.” in school correspondences. What should I do to correct this? Gracia explains that it may just be a printing issue: “Letters are printed by batches, so don’t take it too personal. Maybe your child’s teachers also don’t know about your situation yet.” “It's always best to talk to the teachers about the situation at home. It also lends [them] better perspective [regarding] the kid,” Mendoza adds.
Kristine Aberas, marketing manager and single mom to Marley, 7, says she just politely corrects teachers who address her as “Mrs.” “It’s sometimes tiring to correct people, but it feels weirder being called a name that is really not you. I also want my son’s teachers to know that I’m single and proud to be a parent.” Some parents don’t mind at all: “Teachers have other students, too, and other parents to deal with, so I can forgive a slip or two,” shares Ruby Canta, freelance graphic artist and mom to two, who had her marriage annulled recently.