Whether it is by choice or the result of an unfortunate circumstance, single motherhood brings about its own unique sets of joys and challenges. Understanding the challenges that single mothers face can encourage proactive solutions and arm parents with the tools needed to make the most of the single-parenting experience.
Financial and Health Care
Single mothers often experience the stress of financial strain, especially if they do not have the support from an ex-spouse in the form of child support or alimony. According to MayoClinic.com, single-parent households also generally have less access to health care. Increased costs and financial burdens mean that some working moms are forced to work overtime or take on a second job to maintain financial stability, which can translate into less family time.
Spare Time and Support
Single moms are responsible for managing the home and child rearing by themselves. Even with help from family members, the bulk of responsibilities for dinner, laundry and other household tasks falls primarily on the single parent. This can result in exhaustion and less energy and time for other things, like an active social life.
According to HealthyChildren.org, many fathers stop seeing their children on a regular basis after the first year of divorce. This can cause children to act out from the hurt and lack of a positive male role model. Behavioral problems can also occur when single moms are too over-scheduled, making it difficult to manage discipline effectively. According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, youth in father-absent homes have higher chances of becoming incarcerated and are more likely to get poor grades.
To help minimize the struggles of single motherhood, both parents can make a plan to stay involved, if possible. Scheduling time to rest and relax and building an emotional support system are important ways to reduce stress and exhaustion. HealthyChildren.org recommends professional counseling to help cope with the challenges of single parenthood, and FamilyDoctor.org recommends that children of single mothers take advantage of connections found in play groups and after-school activities.