Single Moms - Am I Doing it Right?
You heard it first last night on Make Ya Think Radio. Being a single mom, or even a single dad for that matter is soooo hard on you and your child. But we're not talking about single Dad's right now. Yes, there are many out there but the reason single Dad's aren't talked about is because it's not in as much of an abundance as single moms. I'm talking about the REAL women/moms who are making things happen everyday. The moms who are doing it all by themselves without the help of the baby's father. Let me ask you. Do you ever stop and think, for once, about yourself? Usually not. When becoming a single parent you're priorities change. Things change in general. Let's remember folks, it's not about what life has thrown at you. It's about how you handle it. The average single mother needs over $2,000 a month to live and provide for just 1 child. The average single Mom makes about $1,600 a month. You see anything wrong with this picture? Here's a few things that should "Make Ya Think".
Up until that tiny life was put in your arms you had no other worries but your own. Now you have something that you live for as if you didn't have anything else in the world. This little human being is the only thing that matters to you. No matter what life throws at you this person is the one that makes your life complete. It can be extremely stressful and exhausting. You may not have time to do other things. Things you enjoy like going out for dinner with your friends. Are you able to get a babysitter? Dealing with different stages of your child's growth and maturity. Can you handle it? No really truly realizes a child comes with huge responsibility and 24 hour care and attention. Waking up, getting the kid off to school while you struggle to get ready for work yourself. It's just you. There's no hand off so you can do what you need to do while someone else takes care of the child. What if the kid gets sick and has to stay home from school. You can't find a babysitter last minute and of course everyone else works, right? So what do you have to do? Stay home from work. Lose that bit of the $2,000 you're going to need to get by for the month. You see what I'm saying here?
How Do I Do This Alone?
You have brought another human being into this world. It's time to make changes. Should you give up school? No way. Being in school to better your education produces better job opportunities for your future. Invest the time and the money will show eventually. After all, being a single parent doesn't exactly put you in a higher tax bracket. You are now responsible for now only your own future, but the future of your child. So what, baby's dad wants nothing to do with you or this life he helped create. Step up to the plate and take it like a responsible adult. No one wants to hear your "baby daddy" stories. It may mean something to you, but most people don't care. Be a strong woman and accept the things you cannot change. You cannot force anyone into doing something they do not want to do. Don't hassle the father for his money. If he doesn't want to be there for his child financially, he has no reason to be there for him emotionally! As far as you are concerned, you are Mommy AND Daddy. And that is perfectly fine...
Receiving Child Support vs. No Support
I know many single mothers. Some of which struggle and some of which are perfectly fine on there own. Some try to force baby dad into paying and some simply say, "I'm better than this...get out of mine and my babies life, we are better off without you.". Child support from the father can be a huge help when dealing alone with a child/children. You can still work your full time job, have money for a babysitter, take your kids out, and just be there. Most of the time without having to worry about financial issues. But you also have to deal with the drama of Child Support. What happens if he doesn't pay? That's more of your time and money you are losing to chase after him. If you have to chase after your baby's father for support, he obviously doesn't care enough about his own offspring to take the initiative to show love and buy a pack of pampers!
But let me tell you...it takes a stronger person to say, "I can do this alone. I don't need him." And to be honest, that's exactly what my sister did. She took all the responsibility onto herself. Took everything that involves being a parent solely on herself. Yes, she has support from the family to help when needed but imagine...having to live your life knowing your child's father is better off out of his life than being in his life. When she decided not to chase after him for child support she was taking a huge risk, and she knew that. So she did and still does the best she can to survive with only 1 thing on her mind. Her son!
On last night's Make Ya Think show, Harry mentioned the issue of women not requesting a child support order, which he disagreed with. Sorry Harry but I have to point out and give props to the rare 2% of the 40% who don't have a child support order. What if that child's father is mentally incapable of being a father? On top of not wanting to even buy pampers and food, he is emotionally unstable and incapable of creating a better environment for himself, let alone anyone else. Any unselfish mother, whether she wants the father in the child's life or not, will choose to just avoid having him create a negative environment for her kid. If this incapable and unstable man is paying something towards this kid, he is going to want to see and be around this child. I know a very tough woman who's baby's father is emotionally and mentally unstable. The minute she told him she was pregnant he wanted nothing to do with it then came out the side of his face and said, "Well, I want to be there for him emotionally, but I don't want to have to pay anything." Are you kidding me?! At that point she decided, for the sake of her child, to just let it go. No child support, no government assistance. Just her and her drive to make a better life for her and her child. You wanna know where this man is now? JAIL! Good call Mom!
For Single Moms
How many times in the last year have you had to call out of work because you could not find a babysitter?
- 76% of single moms work full time jobs, but are still in poverty.
- 75% of homeless families are run by single mothers.
- 40% of single moms do not have an active child support order for the baby's father.
- 1 in 4 kids in the US are being raised by single mothers.
- Most single parents are single mothers — 79% of the total last year. No surprise here.
So What Do We Do About It?
Create awareness! Welfare reform. Stop giving to the women who expect a hand out and start giving more to the women who are actually trying! As discussed on Make Ya Think radio, there is a difference between a Single Mom and a woman who has 9 kids and 8 different baby daddy's. There needs to be a way to start tracking things so the real women who are holding down the fort and working hard are getting the help they need. Rather than assisting the the woman who slept with every Tom, Joe and Billy but don't know which ones are the fathers of there 6 kids. On top of that she expects a hand out instead of getting out there and making stuff happen! She doesn't need a hand-out, she needs birth control and someone to tell her about herself.
A study found that single parents here have one of the highest — if not the highest — employment rate, but also the highest relative poverty rate. One reason is their concentration in low-wage jobs — and what seems to be pay discrimination. Another is our relatively small investment in affordable child care and free education for very young children. Still another is our paltry income support programs, our lack of a national paid leave mandate or a monthly cash benefit specifically to help with the costs of raising children.
We need people to start recognizing the real problem. The problem is we aren't helping our women enough. Our hard working women. We need leaders in office who talk about it more and are aware of the issue and can/will do something to make some of these mother's lives easier. Government paid child care is in effect but because that hard working, 2 job single mom "makes too much money", she isn't able to get the assistance. So if she calls out of work too much because her kid gets sick and she can't find a babysitter or doesn't have money for childcare that week, she's at risk losing her job. Because let's face it, there are not many bosses out there who care about what's going in your personal life. So not only is she losing a days worth of pay but she is at risk of losing her job. So let's make it worse by raising the unemployment rate while we're at it. What is wrong with this picture? Think about it!
What Happens to the Kids?
Kids of unmarried parents, according to all of those studies (of rich moms and poor, educated moms and not-so), are supposed to be failures. They are supposed to abuse drugs, get pregnant, and end up in jail rather than grad school, right? One-fourth of them are supposed to experience the kind of havoc that renders them useless forever. This goes to show how important it is to do right by your children whether you are single or not! No mother wants to fail her children, but the fact of the matter is...provide less, teach less, support less, be less. Being a single mom isn't just about making the money to make sure baby JoJo has diapers and food. It's about being the one and only support system he has in his life to grow up and do great things. End of story...
The Bottom Line...
No woman wakes up one morning and aims to be a single mother. No one wishes for that, it just happens. Life is not about what happens to you, it's how you handle it. Do you want to be on the streets begging for change to feed your kids? Or do you want to be a strong woman who aims and make things happen for her and her baby's? As any other social support topic, it all starts at home. If we had more of an organized system in place these mothers who are legitimately trying would not have to struggle. The other...well...you ask for struggle you're going to get struggle.