The other day I came across this article,”The problem with single mothers,” via the HuffPost Divorce page. Naturally, I wanted to find out for myself what this author’s purpose was with writing this article because the title itself pretty much disgusted me.
My initial response to this article’s title alone was exactly my reason for starting this blog of mine. Is there a problem with single mothers or is the problem actually society’s response TO single mothers? There are so many stereotypes and negative responses to us when we say we are single moms. I say we because most single moms I know personally have similar experiences as I do. After further reading, the author does explore the current trend in our society in terms of the numbers and research polls. The overwhelming result is that society has a problem with single moms who do not actively choose to single parent by themselves, however, single parents by choice receive a different response. First of all, I believe this article is wrongly titled. There is no support that there is something wrong with single mothers. The problem is bigger than that.
I have been a single mom most of my time as a mother. I can attest to the fact that I am not a problem, neither are any of the other single moms I know.
My oldest child is 16 years old. I conceived him when I was raped when I was 18 years old and was told by police that my case would most likely get dropped if I were to press charges because I was young. I was also told by doctors that the likelihood of me having conceived then was so slim as I was on my period. My boyfriend at the time, who I later married and then divorced, and I decided to keep him. I don’t know if I would have made a different decision based on different information, but I do know how I became a single mom. I have a lot of what if questions in the back of my mind. My son is so amazing and wonderful and has the most beautiful spirit. What was a completely tragic and difficult time gave me the greatest gift. I went on to graduate university with two bachelor’s degrees and a minor, while working 25-30 hours per week in four years with a GPA of 3.6. That alone is not common and I did it. Once someone made a comment to me that they were glad I had been able to turn my life around. I looked at this table full of men and women in disbelief because somehow they just assumed I had been a troubled young mother who was able to do something better for myself and my child. I was motivated, intelligent, a loving, caring mother. There was nothing troubled about me. The troubling thing I learned was that the assumption was that I was irresponsible and stupid for having a child. I was NEITHER of those things.
My other children were also wanted and loved. I was still the same mom- not just being irresponsible. My kids are thriving. They were NOT thriving when I was married. We were all struggling and were dealing with way too many problems at home.
The Problem is NOT Single Mothers
When people find out I’m a single mom with four kids, they don’t know the whole story. I wasn’t just out screwing around. I did not always make the best choices with men. I ignored some red flags. It doesn’t make me a bad mom. I love my kids more than anything in the world. They are not less valuable than the kids born to coupled parents (they were, too). I don’t want pity. Much of what single moms deal with, partnered moms do, too. However, it’s different. Single moms are TOUGH. We go without. We are sleep deprived more than any other mom. We are one person, taking on the job of two. We prioritize our families over a social life. We work incredibly hard to be able to make it. We know how to stretch a dollar. Our kids may not have the latest, best WHATEVER, but they do have amazing relationships with their siblings. They rely on each other. They have love and they are learning life is about more than material things. Our kids are learning to be independent and self-reliant. I love that my older ones look out for the younger ones and that the younger ones support one another. We take advantage of family dinners to connect and work on table manners, have conversations, learn how to set and clear the table. Intimacy is created by reading stories at bedtime, curling up together on my bed to watch a movie, playing legos, making bracelets for friends and just having coffee in the mornings. It doesn’t take much money to still have a good life, in my opinion, and hopefully my kids will learn to value these moments as well.
Whatever circumstance made a woman into a single mom is irrelevant. With so many children and families headed by a single mother (and even more if you include single fathers), it is clearly NOT the single moms who are the problem, rather the response of society towards them. To learn more, go here. That article is CHOCK FULL of stats on the single mom ‘epidemic’ in the United States.