Posts Tagged ‘lone parent’

This is something I have been pondering for quite a while.  Obviously life is full of contradictions but there are two that really get my goat.  Namely:

  1. Single fathers are considered to be heroic, while single mothers are treated as if they and they alone are the cause of all of the problems of society.
  2. Everyone who is half intelligent recognises the importance of mothers to young children and the value for a baby/toddler/child of being raised by his or her mother.  However a lot of these people draw the line at single mothers for some reason, and think that these women should get ‘back to work’ for the sake of their children. 

These two points baffle me totally.  Firstly, there are hardly any single fathers who are the full time carers of their children.  Those that do are in the lucky position of being looked upon with admiration and sympathy for all the sacrifices and difficulties that they must face.  I don’t take issue with this at all, but wish that this could be extended to the millions of single mothers who face equal difficulties and make exactly the same sacrifices.  Why are they not afforded the same admiration and sympathy?

There seems to be some strange assumption among aspects of the press and the public that a single mother is somehow to blame for the situation she is in. 

Whether it is the stereotype of the teenage mum trying to get a council flat (for goodness sake, how out of touch are these people?) or the woman with 5 children by different dads or whatever.  Most of the single mums I know are not so by choice, but through unfortunate circumstances.  Whether that be a violent father, a lazy father, a cheating father or an absentee father: in most cases the cause seems to be the father not the mother left holding the baby and trying to make the best life for her family.

Secondly, the single mother who chooses to listen to her instinct and/or the overwhelming evidence concerning the best care for young children (their mother) faces criticisms ranging from laziness to an inability to be a good role model.   Why is it that an arrangement that best suits the wellbeing of the child and, therefore, benefits society in the long term is almost universally ignored if the family in question consists of a mother only? 

Everywhere you turn there are ‘welfare to work’ programmes, nursery places for younger and younger children targetted at low income or lone parents and legislation cutting benefits to those who need them most if they dare take full responsibility for the raising of their children.

It drives me absolutely crazy and goes against common sense and reason.  I don’t know how single mums handle this so well, they are so maligned by society while doing such a difficult and amazing job single handedly. 

I would love to see any political party actually extending the hand of reason to single mothers, but as far as I can see all women get a rough deal but none harsher than the women who heads her family alone.

*I have used the term ‘single parent’ as opposed to ‘lone parent’ to account for the fact that many of the fathers are around and able, if not willing, to fulfil the other parental role.  No offence is intended.


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