The Benefits of Celebrating Single Motherhood
I recently came across an opinion piece in The Washington Post titled, “The Dangers of Celebrating Single Motherhood“. The title alone put a knot in the pit of my stomach. The words contained within added to it.
The author argues against pieces she has seen that have celebrated single motherhood saying, “Whether it’s good for the kids, though, is another story entirely. According to research done by Pew’s Economic Mobility Project, 54 percent of young adults today who grew up in an intact, two-parent home in the top third of household income have remained in that bracket, compared with just 37 percent of today’s young adults who grew up in a top-third divorced family.” And the author closes the piece saying, “And while our culture celebrates singledom as being not only fun but also a symbol of strength, it ultimately makes our lives, and the lives of our children, harder.”
OK, deep breaths. I could not disagree with the premise of this piece more, and I feel inclined to make it abundantly clear that every single thing I do in my life is to make my child’s life better. Part of this includes going out of my way to drown out noise like this. I honestly do not think my daughter’s life would be any better if I was married. In fact, I think if I got married for the wrong reasons, like, for example, to appease people who think single motherhood is responsible for all of society’s ills, then I’d really be making a big mess out of her life. And mine as well.
And, thankfully, I am not alone. I posted The Washington Post piece on my Facebook page, and after reading it, single mom Heather Palm penned a response this piece. She sent it to The Washington Post, but it was not published, so I decided to publish it here. You can read it below.
For some, single motherhood is not a choice, rather a result of an unwanted divorce, death of a spouse or unplanned pregnancy in which the father chooses not to be involved. I was married for six years. My son was planned. An unwanted divorce changed my situation.
I was thrust into life as a single mother with a newborn. Instead of rolling over and giving up, I decided to give my all to providing the best life for my son. I have a Bachelor’s degree and hold a position as Director of Marketing at a local bank. My son goes to day care, where he thrives. He’s loved beyond words and his needs are always met. He doesn’t need a two parent household to become a contributing member of society.
It’s not always easy. There are tears from both of us, but isn’t that the same for all parents, regardless of their relationship status?
I understand the statistics cited in this article are fact, but not all single mothers are welfare hungry, uneducated, lazy women whose children are destined to a life of crime and addiction. In fact, many children of single parents grow up with a strong work ethic, respectful attitude and strong family values, because it takes a village to raise a child regardless of marital status.
Let’s stop fueling stereotypes and empower all single parents to live their best life.
Heather Palm’s Bio: I was born and raised in rural Central Pennsylvania, I experienced city life in Philadelphia and Baltimore for several years after college until I came full circle settled back into my hometown. My days are a mash up of my career as a Director of Marketing at a local bank, keeping up with my three-year-old son and our pug, Wiggles, along with trying to find time to stay fit and active.