The Unsung Hero: The Single Parent - Sammy Makes Six

The Unsung Hero: The Single Parent

Thank you to The Motherhood for sponsoring this post where I get to talk to you about the hardest, yet most rewarding part of my life, being a parent.

Today I want to talk about the unsung hero - the single parent. There's a stigma around single parents, especially single moms. People are so quick to judge and make assumptions, without knowing the full story. I don't think anybody sets out to be a single parent by choice, and instead of us celebrating those parents, who do the work of two, we tend to shame them.  

Single parents are heroes: they have to work full-time jobs, sometimes more than one, in order to pay the bills, and do the job of both parents. Parenting is the hardest job you will ever have, even with two parents around, now imagine how hard it must be if you're doing it alone. 

I became a single mom of four kids after 6ish years of marriage. Having not worked for the last 5 years of my marriage, it came as a shock to go back to the workforce knowing I had to pay a full rent, bills, food and care for four kids, plus myself. It was also the first time I had to live on my own - rent my own apartments, set up utilities, etc. It was scary stuff for a dumb girl who'd let her husband take care of everything previously. But I think what most terrified me was wondering how I was going to take care of the financial responsibilities. It took me years and years to sort out child support for my girls and even after I had it, the financial weight of all of my responsibilities was a lot more than I earned, even with countless overtime hours.

Some single parents do have the help of the other parent, or maybe the kids go back and forth between two households. That was not the case for us. Besides a lot of behind the scenes struggles, there was no help. That's why it's hard for me to think back to those first years, to think of how many times I failed my kids. I never got to pick them up or drop them off at school, I never attended daytime school functions, and rarely got home before dinner and wasn't around much during the week besides a few evening hours. It really was the girls that had to bear the brunt of it though. My two oldest, they were the mom and dad during those times, they fed the two youngest, walked them to class and took care of them after school. 

My family is and has always been a big help to me. Because of them I can say I was not alone. I was lucky to have them, especially those first three years. After that my girls started growing up and even though the problems seemed to get more serious, I was more prepared to deal with them. We had to move a few times because my lease was not renewed because they had kids over while I was not home or I had to pull them out of school because of bullying problems, I also had one kid who loved taking my car out for joyrides. Those were the years I started getting gray hairs, each one earned like a badge of honor. 

As hard as being a single parent was, I would not trade a single second of it. Those years are the ones that shaped me into the person that I am today, those are the years where I found out my worth as a person. I didn't have to live with my mom, I didn't have to ask for government assistance (not that doing so is wrong) and even though we struggled at first, we never stopped living. We had our yearly trips to Disney, we were always out on weekends, and I was able to spoil them later for what they lacked those first years. I was not, still am not, the perfect parent - but I have always tried my best. 

My oldest girls are now all over the age of 21, we made it! When I see a young single mom or dad, I think back to my days in their position and wish I could tell them that it's going to be ok, I want to tell them that they are doing a great job. I don't think single parents hear that enough. 

Single Parenting Facts

  • There are 12 million single parent families in the U.S.
  • Eighty-four percent (9.8 million) of single parent households are single mother families and 16 percent are single father families.
  • 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. Thirty-nine percent of single dads have an annual family income of $50,000 or more.
  • The annual cost of center-based infant care averaged more than 40 percent of the state median income for a single mother.

Angel Soft® recognizes the joys and challenges of being a single parent and wants to honor these everyday heroes. Debuting on March 20, the National Single Parent's Day video shares the stories of three single parents, we invite you to check it out. You will be able to see the video on Angel Soft's Facebook page and website. We ask that you help us share the video to build awareness for National Single Parent's Day. National Single Parent's Day is March 21.