I will start off with a personal anecdote. One of my best friends is a single mother with two children. She didn’t choose to be single at the outset but her partner turned out to be so, to put it frankly, rubbishy that she decided the family unit was better off without him than with him in it. She threw him out after much physical violence (against her) and verbal abuse (by him).
Her family unit does not have a male at the helm but it is a happy and healthy one. Yet, the system of Patriarchy that we have would have us believe that having a man as the head of the house is always the best model to aim for. So, my friend should have put up with the constant disruption to family life that was causing mental stress and ill-health because he was, put simply, a HE.
The flaws in the attacks on single mothers are plenty. The argument assumes that ALL men are worthy partners and parents; that they have vested interests in the family unit and will strive to make it a better one; and that providing financially for the family is a paramount concern to them. Not so. The argument is also hollow because it assumes that ALL mothers who are single have chosen to be so in a level playing field. What about widows? What about those who suffer from domestic violence?
A strident opponent of single mothers is the controversial American Political Scientist and author, Charles Murray, who said illegitimacy was the single most important social problem of our time because it drives everything else. Single mothers, take heed, you are to blame for climate change, world poverty and famine. That is how ludicrous Murrray’s statement is.
The stigmatisation of single mothers is a rolling bandwagon. Politicians of certain persuasions use single mothers as vote winning fodder. It is the divide and rule manifesto that plays to the smug marrieds or the suburban unhappily married women who are made to feel superior because, if they left their marriages, welfare and poverty would beckon.
In the week that celebrates Single Parenting let us remember that the eco-system of parents is a diverse one. Single parenting results from a number of reasons. The stigmatisation of mothers involved will tar her children and it is because of this that it needs to be stopped.