Single Parents - My Tribute
Single parents are to be commended for the things they do to raise their children. According to the US Census Bureau there are 13.7 million single parents in the United States today raising 21.8 million children. That accounts for approximately 26% of children under the age of 21. Most of those single parents are mothers at a whopping 84% . I have chose to write about single parents in general because I want to be sure to include both single mothers and fathers.
A friend of mine just visited us for the holidays. She is a single mother of one little precious boy. I knew how hard it was for parents to raise children today as a single parent but it really hit me hard while she was here. My own mother raised my brother and me alone. It still did not register with me as much as it did to have her here over the holidays. I just wanted to take a moment and give a shout out to all you single parents out there.
Single Parents Get No Time Alone
I have four wonderful children. I also have a wonderful husband that helps me every day with those children. His presence allows me to do the simple things for myself that I would not be able to do without him here. For example, taking a shower with the kids in the house. Or running out to the grocery store, ALONE, to pick up a few groceries. Single parents typically don't get those few minutes to themselves. They are the only ones there. Their children go with them everywhere. They can't leave their children alone to go jump in the shower. I could tell that my friend was not used to having anyone watch her child as she did things. She would ask several times if it was okay to go jump in the shower. I would have to assure her that we were fine with watching her son while she took a shower. We went out to dinner one night without children while we had our great babysitter watch the children. I could tell it was driving her crazy that she was not with her son. She did lighten up and finally had a great time as we got into having dinner. She was not used to having time to herself. She desperately deserved this time to herself but had never had it. Babysitters cost money and as a single mother she could not afford it.
Single Parents Typically Don't Pamper Themselves
I am a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant and something my friend was looking forward to was us playing with makeup while she was here. Well, we actually did not get much time to do that but we did have time to find her some skin care items and makeup to take home with her. She was using samples of skin care she had gotten from somewhere and old makeup that she really did not like. However, it was not practical for her to go out and buy things like this for herself. She works hard and it takes every dime she makes to support her son. There is no money left for her to pamper herself. I made sure she was hooked up with some great skin care products before leaving here. She deserved it. This woman works hard every day and just like so many other single parents out there, she only gives. Not much receiving to be had.
Single Parents and Child Support
I hear stories every day of dead beat dads or moms who don't pay a dime of support to their children. I feel like I need to say that there are a lot of dads out there that do help support their children and I commend them for that. My own father was guilty of not paying child support. He always said that he felt like my mother would spend it on herself and not us children. Not a very good reason in my opinion but that was his. Almost 27% of single mothers and 13% of single fathers are living in poverty.
I remember growing up without so many things that we could have had with a little support from my dad. We had a garden that my mother worked in every summer to provide for our family. She would can vegetables every summer so that we would have them to eat all winter. I did not realize exactly why she was doing all this at the time but as an adult I understand. She would go to the grocery store once a week and that was the food we had to eat all week. There were no picky eaters in our house. You ate what was on the table or you went hungry. My friend is another single mother who receives no support from her ex-husband. She told me how she would make the most out of every meal and stretch it into multiple meals for her and her son when possible. A whole chicken would last 3 nights if she did it right. It amazes me how creative a person can get when it comes to feeding their children.
Single Parents and Public Assistance
There are a lot of single parents out there who receive some type of public assistance. I feel like there is nothing wrong with this as long as that person is working and doing their absolute best to provide for their children. Almost 80% of single mothers are employed while 90% of single fathers are employed. The problem from what I understand from my friend is that if a mother does work and makes a decent income then she can not receive any public assistance. She makes what I would consider a good income of $45,000 per year. By the time she pays rent and other misc bills that money is gone. She is not left with a lot of money to make it to the next pay period. She admits to riding on fumes for two days until her check would be direct deposited. She said she would hold her breath going to work and coming home. She would water down the milk she gave her son to make it until the next day. She has applied for different types of public assistance and was told she made too much money. Yet it is still not enough. She lives paycheck to paycheck. She has no insurance on her or her son. She can't afford it. She has one credit card that she uses to get his immunizations and for emergencies. She doesn't go to the doctor when she gets sick. She feels like the money could be used in more important places. She doesn't qualify for food stamps because she owns a vehicle. Doesn't matter that she only spent $500 on that vehicle. She still owns it. I commend her and every other single parent out there working their butts off to provide for their children. It is hard enough for families with both parents to provide for their children these days. I could not imagine doing it alone.
Single Parents Deserve an Award
I do not feel sorry for my friend because she would not want me to. She is a hard worker and a great mother to her child. She is very happy with her life and enjoys every day she gets to spend with her little man. She has said more than once that they are not rich in money but they sure are rich in love. I believe a lot of single parent households are the same way. They spend more time together because they can't afford to do much else. Single parents are to be commended for the things they do every day to provide for their children. I am very impressed with my friend's accomplishments on her own and how well she has done raising her son. Just as I am impressed with all you other single parents out there. You deserve an award in my book!
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