Fact: There are 12 million single families in the U.S.
That means there’s a lot of eligible single dads right? But wait – who has time to actually DATE?
Don’t get too excited: Eighty-four percent (9.8 million) of single parent households are single mother families with only a mere 16 percent are single father families.
Woof. It gets worse.
The 2013 median income for families led by a single mother was about $26,000, one-third the median for married couple families ($84,000). Nearly half of single mother households have an annual income less than $25,000. AND the annual cost of center-based infant care averaged more than 40 percent of the state median income for a single mother.
Now let’s toss in the 3 times higher cost of living in NYC – where rents are $2,000 or more for a two-bedroom and even a banana on the street costs $2.
And you wonder why I am always running around working my ass off all day and night right?
I don’t need your sympathy but I appreciate it. There are many more out there that have it way harder than I, and honestly, I think being a parent in general is just hard.
So really – what’s the hardest part you say?
It’s going to be a lot of first world problems honestly. I wish I could say we were really down on our luck and life is unbearable like many think for single parents – but it’s not.
I think the hardest part was wondering IF I could do it alone – especially in NYC and without any family. I would truly be on my own. We are told so much that we can’t – we can’t do it all, we can’t have it all, we should run off and get married the second we think we are in love. But really, life isn’t that way at all. The hardest part was allowing myself to believe that I COULD DO IT ALONE.
After that, everything else just finds a way to work. The “hard parts” are just like any other mom out there whose husband might travel a lot or leaves for work super early. We do a lot on our own. Yes, there are people to “help” but as any mom will attest, we do the bulk of the load: schlepping to school, cooking dinner, laundry, homework, on top of trying to find a way to pay for it all.
The dark side:
Mom shaming is real. People will always find a reason to finger point. Whether it’s that you’re not breastfeeding, raising a child with two dads and no mom, or if you’re not single enough to be a single mom. While I have never been married and living alone with Max for four years, his dad is still involved in his life. But because my son has an involved father, I am not “considered living in despair” (nor have I ever claimed to be) and thus, do not earn the title of single mom – you know that stereotypical image you have of a sad, lonely mother crying in a corner because she has to choose between getting her kids to school for an education and being late and losing her job. There is even a song out right now that talks about a mom “working down by the water” to provide for her son. This is the stigma we have of single mothers. But with 9.3 million households out there full of single moms, I am going to go on a limb and say many of the ones I know are in fact, not working down by the water at night. Also sadly, the hate I see spewing is usually from other single moms directed towards single moms – as if they have to hate on each other for not being broken down. I have always been a strong, independent lady – anyone who knows me can attest to that, and I personally don’t let others drag me down with words. But alas, many are not as strong as I am – so respect your fellow parent – not matter what the circumstances. It’s a hard world out there and we’re all just trying to raise happy, respectful and descent children.
But on the bright side, here’s why I love being a single parent:
– Max and I spend a lot of quality time together. We wake up together, we chat over breakfast, getting dressed and the walk to school every day. We actually sing songs and have real chats. We talk about what we’ll do together after school, which movie we want to watch and how we’ll cuddle on the couch since it’s too cold to go outside. My heart melts a little every time he says I am his best friend, and I know that as he grows older, he is always going to have that fondness for his mom.
– It helps us see what’s really important in life. We don’t need fancy dinners and cars – we save our money to take trips together and make memories. We do so much around NYC that he’s seen more than most New Yorkers twice his age. Maybe fancy dinners are what is important to you – but it’s realizing what it is that matters most.
– It makes me a better mom. I think it’s really grounded me to see what’s important in life. Not only is Max, but so am I and I make sure to find time to workout, meet deadlines and have lunch with friends, etc. while he’s at school so it doesn’t cut into our time. I have found myself to be happier figuring out what to prioritize, what is important and to really cut out the things that don’t matter anymore.
– I’ve made better quality friends. Maybe this one is just age, but I have found some of the most incredible people on earth since becoming a single mom. People who have always stood by my choices and understood if I had to cancel a dinner cause Max wasn’t feeling well. Those who can tell when I am at my breaking point and step in to help even though they know I would never ask for it – even if it’s just sending me a card in the mail. You know who you are and I am every eternally grateful for you in my life.
– I treat others better and see people in a different light. When I was younger and just me, I was a rather selfish, spoiled 20-something old girl – in fact to be honest, I don’t think I ever wanted kids. Max has literally changed my life, and I know he’s always watching now, and try to be the best example of a human being. I treat people how I would want him to treat them, and I smile every time he now asks me for $1 to give to the performers on the subway ride home, or says hello to strangers on the street.
So when you see me next time (or any other single parent for that matter), you don’t have to feel bad for me as a single mom – just know I am doing the best I can – just like so many other great parents out there. Just smile and I’ll know you appreciate the sacrifices I make to provide my son the best life he can have.
And this video by Angel Soft is sure to bring tears to any parents eyes – because we all know the struggle, the love, the hardships and the rewards – regardless of our situations. One love.
This is a sponsored post by Angel Soft on behalf of The Motherhood. All opinions expressed are my own. Thank you for supporting Football Food and Motherhood.
 U.S. Census Bureau
 U.S. Census Bureau
 U.S. Census Bureau
Author: Stephanie Barnhart
Stephanie Barnhart is Author/Founder of Footballfoodandmotherhood.com, New York Editor for Mommy Nearest Magazine, and Founder/Social Media Strategist of SocialmindedMediaGroup.com. Stephanie is also a speaker of best online practices for small business and soloprenurs, as well as an educator to parents on social media monitoring. She has also been seen in the New York Times, PARENTGUIDE News, NY Metro Parent, ABC News, and been a contributing author on various websites.