A Mother’s Day Tribute to Single Mothers

— Lisa Brown • lisa.brown@rolesvilllebuzz.com • May 2017

Mother's DaySometimes it’s twice the headaches, but mostly it’s twice the love and hugs and kisses for moms who are raising their children on their own.

Once considered an anomaly, single motherhood is now commonplace as busy moms take on dual parenting roles and strive to balance work, raising children and having lives of their own.

Not having another person in the household to take some slack is at times overwhelming.

“I don’t get to be the ‘fun’ weekend parent,” said Jennifer, a single mother of two teenagers in Youngsville who spoke as Mother’s Day approached and asked to be identified by only her first name. “I have to make them do homework, go to bed early, clean their rooms, do their chores.”

While there are households run by single fathers, households with single mothers are nearly quadruple that of single dads, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Whether divorce or death, choice or forced situation, single motherhood can be difficult and challenging. Often, divorced parents can still continue a good relationship of co-parenting. Other times, mothers are left with most of the responsibilities of caring for and raising children.

Family, friends and co-workers who are supportive and understanding of the mother’s situation can make a big impact on the success of a single mom and her family. Jennifer had help from her parents even though they live three hours away.

“My parents have been a big help even though they aren’t close,” Jennifer said. “But I would rather have had a responsible partner in the raising of my kids.”

Michelle from Wake Forest, who is a single mom of a teenager and a younger child, also feels blessed to have the support of family and friends who love her and her children unconditionally.

“I have learned to ask for help,” Michelle said. “That has taken time and sometimes desperate situations, but allowing others to help is a gift to us all.”

Difficult for each, and likely most single mothers, is the burden of being “everything.”

“I am the decision-maker, the disciplinarian, the late-night homework project helper,” Michelle said. “Having to be the one to stay home when one of them is sick, trying to be both mom and dad, being the driver for all activities, doing all the house and yard work, and being emotionally present through it all.”

Michelle has made a point to maintain as good a relationship as she can with the father of her children, a situation she knows is best for them regardless of how it is for her.

“I have dealt with receiving and not receiving child support during my children’s years. At this stage, I get along with my children’s dad, his family members and girlfriends. It is about the children and what is best for them. This takes time though,” Michelle said.

Kenzie, a Wake Forest teenager raised primarily by her mother, feels her experience has both hampered and benefited her. She continues to have a relationship with her father. However, she feels her mother had to take on most of the responsibilities and hardships.

“I believe being raised by a single mother made me better and worse. I learned how to be independent and appreciate time with my family,” Kenzie said. “However, I have a hard time trusting people.”

The children can at times worry about their mothers and their future. Michelle’s daughter opened a Match.com account without her knowledge because she was so worried about her being lonely.

“I don’t have time to be lonely,” Michelle said she told her daughter.

Kenzie went off to college recently and was worried about leaving her mother alone.

“I worry about her having someone to rely on,” Kenzie said.

However, with the struggles of single motherhood come many wonderful moments and emotions.

“The rewards I receive from being a mom, a single mom, are double – double the kisses, the hugs, the I love yous, the laughter and love. The struggles are outweighed by the love we have for each other,” Michelle said.

Jennifer knows there are times when people judge or condemn her single motherhood status. She understands the perception but clarifies it this way: “It may be our choice, but it likely was not our intention to be single moms.”

Kenzie has learned to take what many see as a bad situation and turn it into something good.

“I hate when people pity me, because I know that I would not be the person I am today without going through the things that my family and I went through,” she said.