Heidi Klum may be a successful supermodel, designer, and TV star, but it’s her recent comments about single motherhood that really have people talking.
The Project Runway creator is this month’s Redbook cover girl, and in her feature interview, she opens up about life as a single mom. Klum was previously married to Grammy-winning musician Seal, but they divorced in 2012 after four kids and nearly seven years of marriage. Now, Klum is the primary caregiver. She tells Redbook that Seal was “never your typical dad” and has always traveled a lot for his career, so she’s used to being “a mom and a dad at the same time.”
She went on to explain that, in her eyes, single moms always have to take on the lion’s share of responsibilities and it’s not easy. She said, “Women are capable of juggling a lot of balls — we do things that guys just can’t do. Men typically can juggle only one ball, and even then they’re like, ‘I’m confused. Should I put it in my right hand or my left hand?’ A lot of them have a hard time just trying to figure out what to do with that one ball. And often they want us to hold that one too!”
Klum’s comments come down a little bit hard on the menfolk, but she’s not wrong. According to Catalyst.org, a non-profit dedicated to creating opportunities for women in business, 84 percent of single parent households are headed by mothers, and the vast majority of those moms work full time. Further, Kids Count reports only one-third of single mothers receive any child support. Single moms are more likely to live in poverty and to have trouble affording safe childcare. They’re also more likely to be forced take time off work because of their kids, often putting their careers in jeopardy.
It’s easy to dismiss concerns about these things when they’re coming from someone privileged and powerful like Heidi Klum, but it’s worth discussing that even someone with Klum’s level of success is supposed to take on full-time parenting duties while her ex-husband gets to do as he pleases. Klum’s status as a media mogul is no less demanding than Seal’s career, yet somehow it’s just expected that she must also be solely responsible for coordinating her kids’ day to day lives. The majority of the load is still on her shoulders.
The fact of the matter is there are millions of women in the United States and elsewhere who don’t have Klum’s wealth or resources, but still have to be “a mom and a dad at the same time.” It’s refreshing to see Klum admit that yes, it is damn hard, but it’s also vitally important that someone of her stature points out the inequality that makes single motherhood so incredibly difficult. Dads aren’t incapable of juggling as many balls as moms; it’s just that they’re rarely expected to, and in a time when one in four kids is raised in a single parent household, it’s simply unacceptable to leave everything up to moms.