- Family and Parenting
Societal Norms Challenge Single Parent Priorities
My mom is always busy!
A single parent's struggle to maintain balance between work and home is difficult. Having to make the decision whether or not to ask for time off in order to attend a school function seems like such a simple task. In reality this is exactly the type of situation that single parents struggle with daily. Now, consider those with multiple children and times this by two or three. We live in a society where up to 85% of children (in some states) come from single parent homes. The reality of businesses catering to the needs of all single parents is unrealistic. The traditional work environment is not structured to deal with the changing needs of families. This is also true with public education. Funding has forced many schools to do away with evening performances. This makes it even harder for parents who work during the day. to attend events.
What makes a single parent household different?
According to the US Census Bureau, Table 698. Money Income of Families—Distribution by Family Characteristics and Income Level: 2009, http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0698.pdf.
The disparities between one and two income earning families is clear; Unfortunately, it is not just the financial injustice that impacts a single parent household. If that were true, many single earning households with two parental figures would have similar struggles. They do not. There is simply no way to replace two adults co-parenting their children for support, basic daily needs, school, etc...
The following article sums up the struggles single parents face daily.
Other contributing factors
- America's Silent Crisis: The Plight of the Single (Working!) Mother - Gayle Tzemach Lemmon - The Atl
As marriage declines among the lower-income, single-parent families are becoming a new norm. And that parent is overwhelmingly a mother with a job.
What is a single parent supposed to do?
Many working single parents have succeeded in making enough money necessary to not rely on help from the public system. But life is a double-edged sword, financial success may not be the most important factor at all. Social norms have led us to believe that. With the newest ads and fashion trends, latest brands and electronic devices, kids grow up basing success on material items and not other more important factors. Society can't blame the single parent, or really any parent for that matter. Unless parents are glued to our children and watching each and every move, they are going to be influenced by societies norms. Single parents have an exceedingly difficult time because there is only one of them. Blaming society also feels like pointing fingers. After all, the marketing industry is only giving American's what they want or else they wouldn't be successful. The reasons for societal norms and the impact they have on raising a child solo is a deep and complex variety of reasons that is not entirely understood and definitely cannot be blamed on one entity alone.
Making Time for you Kids
Single Parents cannot and do not have the time to wait for society to change. In order to make change to society , single parents must start looking for alternatives. Being employed and self-sufficient is a great accomplishment. However, would making less money and spending more time with the kids have better outcomes? Just as each family is different, the changes needed will be different also. It is time for single parents to stop focusing on money and start focusing on what is going to benefit their family the most.