black women

Why It Can Suck to be a Single Mom

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The Write or Die Chick, writing for Essence.com, recently wrote an article telling women that you don’t want to set out to try to be a single mom.    As a single mother herself, she says that the glamour of being a single parent is not all that it’s cracked up to be.  She warns that when her friends tell her that they plan to become single mothers, she winces, as if they don’t understand what they are getting into.

But raising a child solo isn’t a show of independent woman empowerment, like buying your own diamond ring or purchasing a house. Single parenting is way more complicated than that — for the mother and for the child. I’ve been doing it for 13-years now, which is hard for even me to believe. And most of the time, I feel like I’m walking across a thinly frozen pond in 5-inch stilettos: tiptoeing, barely making it, getting across, but not nearly as graceful, strategic or appropriately equipped as I should be. I always have this gnawing sense that I’m not teaching my daughter enough, telling her enough, preparing her enough. That’s because I’m only one person doing a two-person job
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The author goes on to note that even though black women receive accolades for their commitment to single parenthood, there are consequences being paid by both the mothers and their children.  Mental illness is a growing problem, and child abuse can result from leaving kids home alone at all hours while you’re working two jobs, snapping at your kids for no reason, or having them around men who might not be good for them.

Holding down everything all at once by yourself is hard work. I’m convinced that’s why more and more of us are mentally checking out and very noticeably spazzing out, cussing at our kids, flying off the handle. So I long ago came to the conclusion that I don’t want my daughter thinking I’m some she-ro, this miracle-maker who is capable of effortlessly doing all things. I don’t pull many punches when it comes to explaining to her that raising her on my own is no cakewalk. That’s because I don’t want her to repeat this lifestyle.

We agree that being a single parent should be a last resort, not a target from the beginning.  This doesn’t mean you have to be married, but it does mean that you should have a plan to get some help.  It could be from a mate, a co-parent, a best friend, a relative or even a lesbian lover if that’s what your heart desires.  No matter how you do it, you have to get some help because you can’t be in all places all the time.

Here are some other reasons that we came up with that  explain why it sucks to be a single mom:

1) Every single second of your life is dedicated to your kids.  You don’t have time to do anything for yourself and might as well check most of your dreams at the front door.

2) You can’t spend time with your kids if you’re also the primary bread winner

3) It’s hard to date, and you can’t readily trust new men around your kids.  That’s how a lot of molestation takes place

4) Kids need a father and/or primary male role model, we don’t care what anyone says

5) Even if you do your best, your kids may still grow up bitter and disappointed that other kids have two parents and they don’t.  So, you might be Superwoman, but they aren’t going to always see it that way.  Instead, your daughter ends up dating any man who can replace her missing dad and your son learns how to be a man by watching rappers on MTV.  Not good for you regardless.

Kids in single parent homes can be successful, we know that.  But a new model should be considered, rather than going for the same old stuff.  The same old stuff really isn’t working for black America, and it’s probably time for a change.