Take 2: Statistics show that 90% of all single parents in America are women. That’s approximately 10.4 million women. Unfortunately, statistics also show that most of these women are living under the poverty level, struggling not only with day-to-day living, but also with the day-in and day-out challenges that single-parenting provides. Being a single parent is difficult. Not only do single parents experience the challenges mentioned above, they deal with the fear of being alone, abandonment, resentment and, most importantly, the anxiety of wondering what will happen to their children should they not be, for reasons beyond their control, able to care for them.
Besides all of the above, single parents have the additional stress factor of doing their best to fill every role as a single parent. Is it impossible? Well, the answer to that is clear. Yes. Single parents can do their best to fill in the gaps as best as they can for the absent parent, and most of the time they do a very noteworthy job, but it is literally impossible per say to be a mother and try to fill a man’s shoes in the life of your children. Just as it is almost impossible for a man to fill a woman’s shoes. I can tell you from personal experience that for years I believed that I could be the “be all and do all” for my two older boys (during my single parent days), I was adamant that they didn’t need their fathers (due to their non-involvement at the time) and I would scream to the world that I was “daddy” as well as “mommy.” However, as my boys grew into teenagers, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized how wrong I was. Being a father is just not in my dna make-up. I could teach them all I knew about what I “thought” or “expected” a man to be, but I couldn’t teach them how to be a man or really even ”understand” all that they were going through. I could and did certainly do my best, but it became very clear that I certainly could not fill those shoes. It was a hard pill for me to swallow. Children need both parents for totally different reasons besides just parental nurturing and love. They need both parents because that’s the way God planned it. Unfortunately, in today’s world, we have to make do with what we have.
On another note, unfortunately, single-parenthood is a vicious circle in our country. In a study conducted by Bumpass and McLanahan about daughters and single mothers, the statistics may surprise you. Daughters of single mothers have a:
- 53% chance of marrying while teenagers;
- 111% chance of having babies while they are teens;
- 164% chance of having babies out of wedlock; and
- 92% chance of having marital problems.
Source: Parenting Tips
In conclusion, raising children on your own is more than hard and more than a challenge. However, it can be done successfully with intuitive, well-rounded children who grow and become successful, adults. Is a two-parent family a better option? Probably. However, we don’t live in Wonderland where everything is perfect and where everything works out the way we plan it in the beginning. In some cases, a two-parent family is also not indicative of what most consider a good home. Actually, some two-parent homes are completely counter-productive of what a child needs due to constant conflict and sometimes verbal, emotional and physical abuse.
With that being said, it is my opinion that if we have to be single parents, we should be able to and should encourage healthy co-parent relationships so that our children can grow, learn and be nurtured by both parents. So that one parent doesn’t have to fill the shoes of the other. However, I live in reality and I know that some parents just do not want to be parents, let alone co-parent. To that end, single parents, keep your head up. Keep encouraging your children to grow. Your children will be better because they have you.
Peace & Blessings,