Why has the situation become so critical? The statistics are staggering. According to The Atlantic, 19 million children live in single-mother families in the United States. Legal Momentum‘s “Single Motherhood in the United States – A Snapshot” shows that half of single moms have one child while thirty percent have two. One third of this number are black moms, one fourth are Hispanic, and another two fifths are white. And many single-mom households are living at or just above poverty level. Yet it may surprise you to know that a full twenty-five percent of these single moms have a college degree.
With single motherhood, we are led to believe, comes all sorts of baggage: poor students, higher risks for teen pregnancy and are veritable breeding grounds for criminals. Bah! Stereotypes abound. Talk to real moms and you hear stories of strength, dedication, admiration, lessons learned and sisterhood–moms helping other moms.
True it’s hard. We have less money, less time and a different family structure. There are awkward moments at school events. And having a social life can be near impossible. But I think there are still important life lessons a kid of a single parent learns. As a divorced mother of two, mine have learned valuable lessons in resiliency, the importance of work ethic, and family budgeting. It’s taught us creativity and brought us closer together through facing tough times together.
Single motherhood is just one of the issues America faces, and it’s an important one. The single mother poverty rate in the U.S. is far above the average in high-income countries.
Rather than place blame on single mothers, it’s time for positive change regarding daycare, employment opportunities, flexible work hours, and access to higher education if desired. And those are just some of the issues.