How difficult is it for the single mom? | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

THE AUTHOR with sons Mark (left) and Joshua
THE AUTHOR with sons Mark (left) and Joshua
THE AUTHOR with sons Mark (left) and Joshua

I was a big fan of Snow White when I was a child. My mind had probably been wired to hope for that one man who would sweep me off my feet and bring me to his castle. We’d have beautiful children so we could play games without worries in the world—nothing but plenty of food, laughter and love.


Then I grew up.


Fast-forward many years after, and I find myself a single mom by separation. I married at 26, but it didn’t turn out well.


This happened when my youngest was still a newborn. Since then, not a few times have I been asked, “Are you affected by how other people perceive single mothers?”


“Honestly, not really,” I would say. “Or rather, I just didn’t mind it. I was too busy surviving.”


Would I have answered differently if I was unmarried, considered too young to marry, financially dependent or had gotten pregnant for failure to use contraception? I wouldn’t know, but other women may have also dealt with this question.


Single parenting arises from bravely choosing to become one, or out of separation and annulment of marriage. There is no definitive story that will explain the reasons for being, the challenges, and the social stigma a single mom goes through, because there are as many stories as there are single moms in our country.


Different light


In the first few years of becoming a single mom, I experienced how it was to be seen in a different light once people found out about my marital status. As if I didn’t know they were sizing me up, they would ask me what my plans were, what I did for a living, if the father was contributing financially, what my family thought of what happened, if I had a boyfriend, if he had a girlfriend, and so on.


I very rarely went into details. I just thought it wouldn’t really change anything. I had a choice between being affected or not, and chose the latter.


In time I started wondering how difficult it could be for single moms to be directly or indirectly judged.

There are common notions that equate single moms with disgrace, dishonor and humiliation for a family, and that includes the belief that single moms are promiscuous, unconventional and an easier catch than single non-parents.


My mom was very conservative, but she brought me up with a liberal thinking. My father, the greatest love of her life, passed away when my brothers and I were barely teenagers. I surmise that bringing up four children on her own has brought her much wisdom.


When my marriage failed, mom and the family had nothing but love and support for my decision.


I went through self-pity, resentment, vulnerability and lack of self-esteem. I eventually learned many lessons, and I didn’t take a long time to get back on my feet.




You’d be surprised how willpower and finding a reason to live could be great motivators for positive change. It felt like crossing a mountain range, but I stuck to my priorities and focused on my life with my kids.


The hardship I have gone through is something that all, if not most single moms, have experienced, too, although in varying degrees.


Society and culture are shaped by men and women through time, with influences ranging from religious and moral habits to political and historical laws and economic conditions. But I like to think that culture, like man, will evolve with time.


Right choices


I am not against the norms of society, nor do I wish to counter religious thought. After all, don’t we all long for peace, a sense of belonging and brotherhood? Don’t we all wish we could make all the right choices? Don’t we all dream of a happy family?


But individual circumstances that challenge a person’s need for survival cannot be predicted. Each single mom has her reasons why she chose to stay single, separate or raise a child on her own, no matter how logical, confusing or crazy the reason may be. I am not in a position to say that adolescents who become single moms are bound to fail, because we know those who have gone through it and succeeded in raising responsible children.


This, I think, is what everyone needs to know: that any single mom, regardless of what has happened, still deserves to be called a mother. What would matter in the end is what she does with the circumstances, how she will successfully bring up her children and continue to value herself as a human being.


Hence, the issue might not be whether or not a single mom is accepted in society. Maybe that unsolicited judgment will change if the single mom transcends the challenges and comes out stronger.


People can spend years searching for their lives’ meaning. I found mine in my sons Mark and Joshua. I had been called names because of my being a separated, single mom. But I knew I was just in a situation that society wasn’t too ready to accept.


But I am thankful to society for giving me the opportunity to persevere, even if society itself won’t be accountable for the way I will raise my sons. I will be accountable. And I hope all single moms would be, too.