Sad when such a declaration can make a headline. Someone might actually believe it.
According to this statement in bold, screaming caps, I am contributing to a national catastrophe. (Worse than Iraq? Better? The author doesn’t specify.)
It’s not my headline. It’s Emily Yoffe’s and she’s the advice columnist for Slate. (Note: This article did not offer advice. http://www.slate.com/id/2185944/)
As a spoiler, it ends with
“… why is it verboten to express the truth that growing up with a lonely, overwhelmed mother and a missing father is a recipe for childhood pain?”
Well it’s not. You can express whatever it is you want even if it is just plain stupid and ignorant. However, the verboten, exceptionally wrong part is to express an untruth as a truth.
No disrespect to you, Ms., I mean Mrs. Yofee who has supported this with “Studies have found that children born to single mothers are vastly more likely to be poor, have behavioral and psychological problems, drop out of high school, and themselves go on to have out-of-wedlock children.”
Studies can show a whole lot of contradicting results. It really depends on who and what you decide to study. That’s why I’ll dwell on the word “more likely” because this statement doesn’t appear to apply to the children of the single moms like me. The studies seemed to have missed us. I find among my “case study” group – college educated, older, somewhat financially stable, professional women- there are a lot of arguments to be made FOR being a single mother. (AND I'VE GOT A LOT OF GREAT ANSWERS COMING UP FOR THAT)
To start with the misconceptions, single moms aren’t all lonely. (Should that lead to the belief we “created” a baby to grow a best friend?) We had friends to start with and they didn’t all abandon us in droves upon the arrival of the shower invite even if it did have a few too many bows. I myself received many, many pink gifts. Single moms can and do have relatives too. Women who choose to be single mothers even have an international organization for support, Single Mothers by Choice. I’ve been to a lot of events and made a lot of good friends there. There’s even a healthy, active and friendly South Florida chapter. http://singlemothersbychoice.com/
As far as overwhelmed. It’s possible we’re no more overwhelmed than many other parents are, married or not. Have a hands-off husband or one who works away from home a lot– you’re know what it’s like to be an “overwhelmed” single mom and, possibly, “lonely” as well.
I challenge anyone to pick out the single moms on a playground by anything other than rings. And even those may fool you.
So it’s an economic thing. That I can agree with and, as always, I welcome the exceptions. But, in her blanket statement, Mrs. Yoffe has lumped us all in this social 9-11 together. Me and the 15-year old, 6th grade dropout mother. However, she’s nice enough to sum up all this angst and unhappiness as an economic thing though you’d have to comb the article very well to get it.
So it’s not all a catastrophe! Have the economics and becoming a single mom is quite doable and cause for great joy!
In fact, to be a Single Mom by Choice, it helps to be somewhat financially sound. It fact, it might not even be do-able if you’re not. While there’s always the natural “oops” method to consider, as many of the women, having had babies via sperm donors, IUI and IVF know. This process can run $20,000+ to succeed.
And it’s well worth it! Smart good kids can come from single mom environments IF the right environment is created. How do I plan to raise my child? To start, I left a life I loved in a city I loved to move to Miami to be closer to my family (mom, two sisters, their husbands, and Penelope’s 3 cousins) so my daughter would have a family oriented environment. My daughter is happy and thriving and has people who adore her and it shows. My daughter is the one who says “hi” and “bye” to everyone individually when she goes places like the park or the store. (This includes birds, cats and dogs) I have a less paying job but I see my daughter more. No amount of money is worth that time.
And the benefits go on and on. But rather than hear me do all the prattling, and since there are no studies done on the subject (that I could find on my databases), I did a non-scientific poll. I sent an email out to the women I know and am in contact with who are Single Mothers. They represent a broad range of lifestyles and geographic areas. And next week I will reveal the results of my study: What is better about being a Single Mom!
I have a feeling, perhaps, many women, even the marrieds will be in agreement. No judgements here.