Happy Mother’s Day to the hundreds of thousands of mothers who make this community hum at work and at home.
But we know for some women, for some local mothers, life is hard when they are the only parent in the home — and are holding down a full-time job.
The percentage of children living in single-parent households in Miami-Dade is 39.5 percent — and as always, the majority of those single parents are mothers, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
In comparison, the national median is 30.8 percent of households led by a single parent — again, mainly women. That puts Miami-Dade at the troubling end of this spectrum.
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It means that more single moms are behind the eight ball in Miami-Dade. Statistics show life for these families can be grim: Adults and children in single-parent households are at a higher risk for adverse health conditions, such as emotional and behavioral problems, compared to their peers in two-parent homes.
And children in such households are more likely to develop depression, smoke and abuse alcohol and other substances.
Consequently, they experience increased risk of morbidity and mortality.
And their single mothers suffer from lower health problems and a higher risk of dying young.
Earlier this year, the United Way’s ALICE Report — short for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed — which studies households that earn more than the U.S. poverty level, but less than the basic cost of living for the county, threw a spotlight on these often-challenged households. They are part of a large population of Miami-Dade residents who work, yet are one emergency from falling into poverty. Others are already living in the 21 percent, or 180,000 households, in the county that are in poverty, or the 58 percent struggling to make ends meet and are one paycheck away from financial ruin.
Thousands more single moms are receiving public assistance and food stamps to stay afloat. They will not likely be brunching at a fancy Brickell Avenue eatery on this day.
Thankfully, that’s when the community steps in to help. United Way, The Children’s Trust and other agencies invest in programs in Miami-Dade to ensure the children of single parents, and others, get off to a good start in school and in life. Adolescents receive academic and social support to graduate from high school, families in crisis get back on their feet to walk a path to financial stability.
And it’s not all bad news for single and working mothers in Miami-Dade. On its front page this Mother’s Day, the Herald features moms who are getting their college degrees. Among them is Nyamekye Daniel, 31, graduating from FIU with a journalism degree — she’s also the single mother of two children, 1 and 11.
As she juggled school and motherhood, Daniel worked as managing editor of the South Florida News Service. She offers no excuses.
“Single mother or not, you can still be successful and do whatever you want. Don’t let others define you. Define yourself,” Daniel told the newspaper.
Working mom Gloria Jimenez, 53, is helping put five of seven daughters through college — and she’s graduating herself from Miami Dade College with a bachelor’s degree in business.
Today, Mother’s Day is the day to salute the spirit of moms like these two.