top of page

Parenting - single mothers need a medal not a reputation...

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

By definition a single mother is a mother who has a dependent child or dependent children and who is widowed, divorced, or unmarried.

In my best David Attenborough voice....

The single mother species lurks in shadows of society with their young. The single mother who raises troublemakers, future offenders and criminals, you can tell their young, as they are the unruly ones that misbehave. They commonly ‘sleep around’ and are a drain on society and taxpayer’s money, having children for the ‘welfare’.

Jokes aside.. not too long ago .... If you were a mother out of wedlock, or single then you could not receive parenting payments or ‘welfare’. During this time you simply could not leave your husband no matter how unhappy or abused you were. Remembering this was also a time when raping your wife was legal. And if you were not married then you were often sent of to “school” or to see “family” for nine months to have a child and adopt out, or you made out that it was your parents’ child and your child became your brother or sister. The secrecy was astonishing!

How times have changed for the better and things are moving in the right direction. However sadly, society makes all sorts of assumptions about single mothers that are terrifying, ridiculously unfair and by all accounts emotionally crippling and wildly untrue. Single mothers are people with their own personal story and parenting journey, which usually involves hard work, fear, guilt, exhaustion, desperation, patience, tears of sadness / joy, and happiness. But mostly with a staunch determination to be the best they can be for their children, the same as any other parent or family.

In Australia approximately half of the population of single mothers are divorced, widowed or separated. The other half have never been married, but that does not mean that they were not hopeful for a long-lasting relationship with their baby daddy? You must remember people are not subscribing to faith and conventions such as marriage much these days so its a new normal. In hindsight the mother's dreams and ideals may have seem naive and fanciful due to the nature of their relationships, but never the less she was likely hopeful for a 'family', just like everyone else. And to discuss 'welfare' babies, well it is my experience that mothers having children for money is as rare, as the fathers of these children providing financial support to these families. The vast array of mothers I have worked with are often uneducated, have their own abuse history, mental health issues, substance misuse, domestic violence and simply do not have an understanding of significant challenges of raising children (do any of us really).

So what is a successful single mother? it is a mother who is thriving through all the challenges, a ‘super women’. Someone we should be supporting and helping across Australia. Single mothers are doing the job which by all standards is a two person job and maybe more, dependent of culture and other factors. And most parents will tell you that its hard with two of them, but single mothers are expected to run the same race, be a good as other mothers, work full time, parent full time, clean, cook, pay the bills, pay the same costs for childcare, all the while often having dynamics which make it more difficult, such as strained family relationships, access and contact issues.

Overall I think that makes them superhero's, well to their children anyway. It is time that Australia EMPOWERS, SUPPORTS & PRAISES SINGLE MOTHERS for the great job they do, not stereotypes and judges them.

19 views0 comments


bottom of page