Ideas & Advice

Why Single Moms Are Not Synonymous with Struggle

Why Single Moms Are Not Synonymous with Struggle
Written by Publishing Team

I want to change the way we think about single moms.

Seven years ago, when my son was small and mostly wordless, I took him to the local library to get his energy back before a nap.

He was in his stroller, happily distracted by a snack as I searched for a good place among the “smallest reader’s” books to drop him. As I walked past the librarian, I saw a bright orange flyer on her desk promoting a music class for babies and toddlers.

I picked it up, and before I could finish reading it, the librarian said, in a neutral tone, “We have financial aid available for this class. Do you want me to ask you? “

I looked around, sure she wasn’t talking to me.

“I… We don’t need financial help. But thanks?”
For good measure, she asked me if I was sure. Like, I really needed help but I was too ashamed to ask. I walked away, smoking.
At the time, I was a married stay-at-home mom who led a very comfortable life. But what the librarian saw in front of her was an unaccompanied black mother, no doubt desperate and alone in the world.


She was reciting an old tattered trope. Not only were black mothers all single, but all single mothers were struggling. By default, I have plotted all the stats about single moms and their kids, what they look like, how they think, what they need, and who will become their kids.

It wasn’t the first or last time that I was assaulted by ignorant assumptions about my status or my abilities.

People have offered me unsolicited parenting advice on the assumption that my momentarily unhappy child has been abused and neglected.

I was once asked what year I was, by someone who automatically assumed I was a teenage mother. (I was 31 at the time.)

I had the question “And where is daddy?” Threw my way into doctor’s offices, schools and even in a job interview. The very wording of the question assumes that “daddy” is gone.

These are the optics of single mothers, especially when they are black and brown. (Go ahead and check me out, I’ll wait.)

When I Google “single motherhood,” the first link that appears is an article titled “The Consequence of Single Motherhood” from 2011. Divorced Mothers, and lists a host of statistics that describe single mothers as the sole reason for all the pitfalls. of the society. School dropout rates, mental illness, unemployment and teenage pregnancies were all linked to single mothers.

Statistics are not invented: they are, in fact, representations of what certain single-parent families encounter. It is true that of the 8 million families headed by a single mother in the United States, about a third of them are poor, unemployed and food insecure, according to 2019 statistics.

Based on this, one could assess that these women fail and struggle with motherhood. But mothers do not struggle alone by nature. They lack society because it is rigidly constructed to accommodate a different family model.


Single mothers have been humiliated in one way or another since the dawn of time.

In the mid-20th century, it was common practice to send single mothers away to make their children disappear or have them adopted.

Single motherhood is often seen as a sin, the consequences of which fall more on the woman than the man who helped her achieve it.

Even Rosa Parks’ story is steeped in prejudice against single mothers.

Among his predecessors was Claudette Colvin. Ms Colvin refused to sit in the back of a Birmingham bus nine months before Ms Parks. Despite his arrest and his historic role in the Browder vs. Gayle case that reversed the segregation on the buses, the NAACP decided not to recognize it. Rosa Parks, a married woman with no children, put a more favorable PR face on Claudette Colvin, who was a 15-year-old single mother.

A few years after that day in the library, I filed for a divorce and indeed became a single mother. At first, the idea crossed my mind. I fell into a deep depression, completely paralyzed with fear.

I was the daughter of a divorcee and the granddaughter of a divorcee. I had watched the two matriarchs of my family travel this very rugged road throughout my life. They had to be less present, less rested. They had to show up later, wake up earlier, and pull the dead weight of painfully absent partners.

Beyond that, that’s what the media taught me. The portrayal of single mothers was consistently negative, especially for black women. In movies and on television, it was a “realistic” plot point used to explain desperation and struggle. Single mothers were either totally haggard or carelessly distant and neglectful.

But often absent from these representations of single mothers, that’s the other side of this truth.

For the full story, visit mater mea by clicking here.

This Ashley Simpo story first appeared on mater mea.

partner content, mea mater, divorce

About the author

Publishing Team

Leave a Comment