Thank you flier for all the moms. Art by Aliyah Brown.
By Aliyah Brown, Staff Reporter
Imagine carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders while also providing for your children who rely on you for water, food, and other necessities. Your physical and mental health comes second to theirs because you have to get up and play the part of a superhero. This is the reality for numerous single mothers around the world.
With variables such as earning less money, a lack of financial assistance, and the added costs of raising children alone, single mothers might face numerous financial obstacles.
In 2022, about 15.78 million children were living with a single mother in the United States, and about 3.44 million children were living with a single father. 47 percent of them were living in poverty.
I was one of those children who grew up in a single parent household. On several occasions, I saw my mother worrying about how she would cover some of our living bills.
She had her first child at age 20, her second at age 23, her third at age 26, and her fourth at age 30. My mother was the only parent who remained steady in our lives despite her heavy workload, which sometimes included a 14-hour work day.
Growing up, I would hear my mom say, “I’m only working to pay the bills,” yet she continued to drive us to school, work two jobs with just 30 minutes in between, and return home at 10 p.m. As a result of my mom’s hectic schedule, it affected our relationship with her because she was never home.
Single mothers earn less than their male counterparts and other two-parent households, making it more difficult to pay bills and save for the future.
Apart from this, they may also have limited work schedule flexibility, making it challenging to reconcile job and parental commitments. As a result of this, finding a job that pays well and meets daycare demands is challenging.
In 2022, assuming full-time childcare (30 hours or more per week) and no subsidized child care, a typical California family might pay infant child care costs between $319 and $353 per week. Preschooler care costs between $212 and $220, and approximately $120 for elementary school students. This accounts for only one kid; imagine having many.
A single mother, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the most difficult aspect of being a single parent was that,”The government only assisted you if you were poor; if you earned more than a certain amount, you were on your own.”
CalWORKs is only available to families with resources of $10,888 or less ($16,333 if the household includes a disabled person or someone aged 60 or older). “I never wanted to stay on government assistance because I always wanted to give my children everything you ever wanted,” she said.
The amount of child support that a non-custodial parent is required to pay is typically decided by state standards that take both parents’ salaries and the number of children being supported into consideration. Many people wonder why single mothers do not seek child support. From experience, the system may be difficult and time-consuming, and it is not worth the effort to get little to no support for them.
Growing up in a neighborhood where most kids had both parents it was hard for me to understand why my mom could not be around like the other kids’ parents. It was a time that my mom would say she could not afford something that my friends had in a two-parent income household.
According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, children raised by single parents are more likely to have emotional and behavioral health difficulties, such as anger or participating in high-risk activities, than their counterparts raised by married parents.
Since we can’t learn if we’re preoccupied with other things, this has the potential to negatively impact many kids’ schoolwork. Sometimes I think about how much better my academic performance would have been if I’d been raised in a household with two parents. For all of junior high and freshman year, I maintained a 2.5 GPA.
Since I was surrounded by individuals who were consistently scoring in the 4.0 range, I knew I had to work harder and seek out the appropriate resources when I needed them. I ended up finishing my high school career with honors, however, my mom could have helped me more outside of school if she had had more support.
Although single mothers are often faced with many difficulties, including working long hours to make ends meet and giving emotional support to their children,they are highly resilient and committed to their family.
It is critical to recognize and respect the hard work that single mothers perform every day, and to give assistance and resources wherever available. Little gestures such as lending a listening ear, volunteering to assist with childcare, or just expressing thanks for all that they do, may go a long way toward showing single parents that they are valued and appreciated.
So to all the single parents out there, know that your hard work and commitment are not forgotten. You are an inspiration to us all, and we appreciate all you do.