The #MeToo Movement has raised several questions about permission, consent, privacy and violation. Mainly women have bravely shared their experiences of rape and harassment, opening the door to conversations and debates about these traumas. This article examines how single fathers are discussing the complexity of sexual relations with their sons and daughters. Their observations and insights were authentic and sincere, and I so admire their courage and compassion in taking on these difficult topics.
A Canadian court supported the payment of child support to an unmarried parent caring for her adult child with disabilities. This decision was in line with an update to Ontario’s law on child support payments to children with disabilities. Originally, children in school were eligible for support; now, that support must be paid for as long as the adult child needs it. Great news!
British Prime Minster Theresa May came under fire for proposing that child support payments be written off because chasing this money was not cost effective. These legacy cases go back some 20 years. Dismissing these cases would affect 970,000 single parents and the children in their care. The United Kingdom’s Women’s Equity Party has been fighting this plan, calling it an “insult to single parents.” Keep on fighting!
A government program that provides subsistence allowance to single mothers who work and go to college could end because so few women knew about it and qualified for it. Originally, Israeli single mothers were not permitted to receive financial assistance if they were going to college, but the law changed in 2008 and exempted single mothers from this provision. To receive funding, single mothers had to accept employment while attending college. Unfortunately, most the jobs conflicted with courses. This Catch-22 has essentially alienated mothers from enjoying a potential great benefit.
A Naples court agrees that a single woman can adopt a Belarusian girl who has been exposed to radiation from the Chernobyl disaster. This is huge news in a country that prohibits single-parent adoption, a distinction that sets Italy apart from every member of the European Union. “The ban on adoption assumes that we single women cannot raise children well,” said the plaintiff, who goes by the pseudonym Antonia. “Yet in Italy there are millions of divorced women who are alone and are still good mothers. All this while in other countries such as Belarus, single people are allowed to adopt.”
Several unwed mothers in Prince Edward Island in Canada had their babies sent to the United States and other locations in Canada for adoption by Catholic families during the 20th century. Many of these women said they felt pressured to do so. Playwright Linda Wigmore is telling the stories of these women in her play The Shame of the Meek. “When you read the women’s stories, it reads like a catalog of violations against their human rights. It’s horrifying.”
The traditional family seems rather stifling after reading this article. The so-called “mommune” is a cross between Party of Five and Full House as three single mothers and their children live and love under the same roof. One of the mothers described it best: “We all knew what the others were going through without having to explain. We shared the pain. We could be as mad as we liked. If you can’t express those feelings to someone, then they are just echoing back in your face all the time.” I absolutely loved this shared house concept!
Single parents and solo parents, whose partner is gone because of military obligations, for example, discuss their experiences traveling with their children. These adventures feature Australian single-parent families, which have nearly doubled from 6.5 percent in 1976 to 10.2 percent in 2016, according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies. One single parent described how disheartened she felt about not having a father for her daughters. “I thought I wanted that complete nuclear family but then it dawned on me we have that happiness already. What I was longing for I already had.” Another single parent enjoys vacations now with her children since they became teenagers. “I decided that, while they were young, I would never go on another miserable single-mother holiday to a strange place where I still had to do everything. It adds another layer of difficulty and it’s exhausting!”
Politicians, social activists and corporatists have been known to manipulate statistics to suit their particular agendas. This columnist translates the U.S. Census data on single-parent households into reality. For example, divorce parents who share custody as well as a parent who neglects their children are grouped in this category. Unfortunately, many people wantonly misjudge and denigrate single parents, attributed society’s failings to their own presumed failures. “Attacking single moms, or single parents of any gender, looks past the real problems parents face — and that means solutions to those problems will continue to elude us.”
The column’s title grabbed my attention. Finally, someone was addressing what I have always known to be true about myself: I don’t want your husband. Just because I am single and a parent does not mean I am desperate. Many single mothers find themselves in awful predicaments with married women who assume that all single mothers are “sexually loose” and “financially struggling.” At the hands of married women, many single women and single moms have been bullied in the workplace, alienated and condescended to. Sadly, I have endured these experiences.
Editor’s note: If you have trouble getting to these links, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send PDFs of them to you.
On Thursdays I will be sharing a blog about a day in the actual life of a single parent. Every fourth Thursday, instead of a personal post, I will put together one where I assemble news on and about single parents nationally and globally.
I would love to hear from you! Feel free to send any comments and questions to me at email@example.com. I am also on Twitter @parentsonurown and can be found by searching #singleparentandstrong.