Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Why is America so afraid of single mothers?

According to a recent Pew Research Center Poll, 69% of Americans “disapprove” of single mothers, believing that women raising children outside of a traditional marriage are not only bad for the kids but for society at large.

I can’t say I’m surprised.  It’s something that is thrown at me, a single mother, quite often.

The assumption, time and time again, is that single mothers don’t make a living wage, that their children are neglected and struggling.  That single mothers are bad parents and a detriment to society at large.

So what is it that is so threatening about the idea of a single mother?  Why does it raise such ire?

Emma Johnson, a financial journalist, single Mom and founder of the new blog Wealthy Single Mommy, says that she thinks part of this idea comes from the fact we generally equate “single Mom” with “welfare Mom.”

It’s an easy thing to do.  But it’s a mistake.

“I see this as a very exciting time for women, moms and single moms to build careers and lives that are fulfilling and lucrative and that incorporate family life in a meaningful way,” she told me.  “But we never get that message. It’s always about struggle and failure and messed up kids.”  That was one of the reasons she decided to start her blog.  She is working hard to build a “wealthy” life for her family.  And she defines “wealthy” as something beyond just the financials–she wants her kids to feel happy, full, and, yes, rich in love, too.

I have to say, most of the other single Moms I know (who, for the record, are single for all kinds of different reasons) are working hard to do the same.  Successfully, too, I might add.

There is no “typical” mother, single or married.  We are all doing the best we can, regardless of our marital status, to raise happy, healthy kids.  Single mother does not equal “welfare mother,” any more than married mother equals “stay at home mother” or “mother without other issues that may impede her abilities to parent.”  And it’s high time we got rid of this stereotype.

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