A single mom’s parenting duties are no different than they are for a married one — except that you’re on your own. Here are some of the biggest worries of new single moms, and a few words of wisdom to help you overcome them.
When my daughter, Mae, was 7 months old, her father and I split up. He left the country — without saying goodbye, I might add — to start a new life. I was a hormonal, heartbroken 28-year-old, and in between work hours spent editing textbooks, I nursed Mae and mashed up baby food.
That first year was chaos. It didn’t help that there were no single-mom role models in my life — except, say, Madonna, who was also parenting solo at the time. If she can do it, I can, I used to think, but I hardly had a superstar’s life. Fortunately, I had a fantastic group of friends who helped. Maybe none of them knew exactly what I was going through, but they babysat and showered Mae with love, which I appreciate to this day.
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After a time, I got back on my feet and ventured out. And what did I see? A lot more single moms than I had ever noticed before. In fact, the birth rate for unmarried women was 41 births per 1,000 between the ages of 15-44 in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control. One caveat: Statistics don’t tell how many single moms are with a partner (and choosing not to get married), how many live with family (so they have some help around), and how many are truly alone. But the point is, there are a lot of single moms out there.
Day-to-day duties for a solo parent are no different than they are for a married one: coping with sleeplessness, finding child care, paying bills. But… you’re on your own. Even so, single mothers agree that even when overwhelmed, there’s usually a way to work out problems.
Here are some of the biggest worries of new single moms, and a few words of wisdom.