August 22, 2017
I think in a lot of ways, it is still quite difficult to be a single parent and to not be lumped in with criminals.
What I mean by this is that while society might now be okay with having sex outside of marriage, it is not okay if there is visible proof of it in the form of a child. Then, the single mother’s morals are questions and can be even confused with her seen as being a criminal.
Bizarre, isn’t it?
Single parents: A societal reality in need of support
by Tanya Lester
On a recent CBC Radio Sunday Morning report, a journalist repeatedly lumped single parenting among Chicago’s black “underclasses,” together with social problems such as poverty and drug addiction. Yet one single parent said she decided to become a mother because she believed it would make her life more stable and help her stop taking drugs.
Whether the young woman was able to meet these personal goals was not explored in the report.. But the point is: in an age when sex outside of marriage and divorce has become quite acceptable, an increasing number of women and men are not ‘ending up’ as single parents; they are choosing this role. Lone parent families reached 853,640 in 1986, which is up 139,630 over the 1981 Census of Canada figures. For many of us, the choice we made is not the problem; society’s failure to accept us is. This lack of support is a key factor contributing to our isolation, overwork and poverty.
When we decide to listen to the ticking of our biological time clocks or free ourselves from partnerships that are no longer working, single mothers are confronted with the question: ‘But what about a male role model?’ We even ask it of each other.
Male Role Model? My father is my child’s male role model. He sees my son, Luke, regularly once a week. That is m’ore often that I sometimes saw my father when I was growing up. One single mother pointed out to me that male role model should not be confused with ‘positive’ male role model. Another said he husband never parented their six children when they were married. Some find the father lives up to the parenting image more effectively in a joint custody situation. One told me she spent a lot of energy protecting her children from her partner’s physical abuse when they were together.
But somehow the picture of the family is not complete without a husband. “The only thing I noticed that bothered me during my pregnancy was people not accepting I was a single mother,” says Suzanne Mitchell in Being Pregnant by Daphne Morrison. “Like telling people I was pregnant, in stores…they’d say ‘what do you and your husband want? and I’d say, ‘I’m not married,’ and they’d say, ‘Oh, ‘ that sort of quiet, ‘Oh, I see.’ End of conversation…In the hospital , calling me Mrs. Mitchell, constantly, even though I would correct them and say my name was Suzanne Mitchell…that I wasn’t married. They totally ignored me.”
For me, it was when I took Luke on holidays last summer. The travel agent insisted on “Mrs. Lester and infant” for the airplane tickets. Single mother Pat Rawson mentioned the irritation “Mrs. Rawson” from telephone solicitors.
“…Just from watching my parents fight, and my mother’s friends and their fights,” Mitchell continues. “They’d come over and cry on each other’s shoulders about their shitty, rotten husbands, and how they wished their husbands would die. So I decided that I would have kids… and that I would never get married. I didn’t feel bad about that part, I just wanted people to accept it.”
So let’s accept single-parent families and let’s admit that the perfect family: two parents with 2.5 kids living in harmony in the suburbs– never has been the reality for most of us…
Tanya’s books are: Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader, Friends I Never Knew (for purchase from the author or from amazon.ca), Women’s Rights/Writes and Dreams and Tricksters. All these books are available in some library systems.
Tanya now works as a psychic and is a fulltime housesitter as well as reiki master. To getting a reading or find out more about her work , go to teareading.wordpress.com or her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. You can also contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-538-0086 cell.
To read more posts in this blog of eclectic previously published writing, go to writingsmall.wordpress.com and tealeaf56.wordpress.com