Preface: I am not a single mother. I don’t even think this information is relevant, but I include it only for the ignorant folk that think the only people who stand up for and don’t disapprove of single mothers are other single mothers.
Today was supposed to be a non-writing day, one where I spend my precious time doing some of the many other things I have to do that have nothing to do with this blog or my books. Everything was going fine until I came across the latest study from the Pew Research Center about views on single mothers. Actually, the study was about views on non-traditional family units overall, but I’ll only be addressing the part on single moms.
As you can probably imagine, this study is stirring up quite a commotion out there in cyberspace. It stated that, of the 2,691 people surveyed, 2/3 of them felt single mothers are “bad for society.” (Yes, that is an actual quote.) Most of these respondents were more against single mother-led households than any other family unit type included in the study. Based on the flood of comments I read on various sites, I’d say it’s fair to draw two conclusions:
1.) Single moms are pissed about this study.
2.) Single moms have been vilified in our society, and many people (male and female alike) have no problem treating them like second-class citizens–as long as they’re protected by the anonymity of their online screen names, of course.
It seems many people equate single mothers with “good-time girls” who just can’t seem to keep their legs closed. Let’s be honest, there are some women that fall into that category, but not even on my craziest day would I say that all, or even most, single mothers meet that description. There are many single mothers who are widows, divorcees, or women that were once in stable relationships with good men who fell on hard times and turned to drugs and alcohol. These women are not loose, easy, irresponsible, or uneducated. They’re just doing their best to handle a difficult situation.
They’re also invisible. Of all the varied single mothers out there, the media likes to showcase a particular segment exclusively. They, the media, love to showcase single mothers who have created their current situations by having sex with losers. By portraying single-motherhood this way, it allows the impressionable public to focus on the women’s bad choices and not the men’s total abandonment. Through that lens, the women become the evil culprits and the men fade into the background, escaping judgement and accountability. After all, how can you be mad at a fool who made no attempt to hide his foolishness?
Oddly enough, I agree with that last statement. I still think absent dads should be held accountable for their absence, but it irks the mess out of me to hear about women getting pregnant by men who had already proven themselves as complete jerks with zero father potential. The hit show Teen Mom comes to mind. I wouldn’t call myself a super fan, but I watch whenever I happened to come across the show. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard young, pregnant girls say things like, “We were only dating for (insert a short period of time here) when I got pregnant. *Nervous laugh*.” These are teen girls making these unfortunate statements, but there are also adult women who hold this same truth… #*%#&*hf!@h?
Sorry about the gibberish. I let my anger get the best of me. I’m usually very composed. I don’t know what came over me. No, I know. It was my frustration and concern. I love women. I think God did an amazing thing when he created us. We hold such power, but are still so vulnerable. What a combination. I know we have the potential to be great. That’s why I get so bothered when I see some of us making bad decisions when it comes to men.
Hey, I get it. Men are attractive. They’re big and strong and know how to make us feel good (some of them, anyway). I can see how some smooth talking and the touch of a firm hand can get your knees to shaking, but we’ve got to be stronger than that. Men are not the ones that can get pregnant. We are. Men are not the ones who have to loan their bodies out for 9 months. We are. Men are not the ones who have to grunt, scream, contort, pray and push a baby into the world. We are. And men (unless they choose to) are not the ones that have to raise these children to adulthood. There is so much more responsibility on us. We have to have a discerning eye when it comes to who we share our beds with. For him, it may just be a night of fun, but for us, it’s a life decision.
P.S. To all you big, bad commenters who think single moms are the worst thing ever, what are you doing to help the situation?