Do Single Mothers Deserve Your Pity?

by Leigh Anderson
Originally Published: 

Yet children who are wanted and planned for, whether they have two parents around or one, tend to fare better than children who result from accidental pregnancies or shaky, brief partnerships. Chate notes that kids who have a happy single mother will probably have a more stable home life than those who have two parents in constant conflict:

“Single motherhood also eliminates the stress and complications that arise from incompatible parenting approaches and values in a two-parent home. Thinking of my friends and acquaintances with inadequate partners, I wonder why more people don’t choose single motherhood. Parenting alone allows me to make the best decisions for my son without needing to compromise for a partner’s differing personal beliefs, needs or career demands.”

Educational outcomes for kids hinge more on financial security than on the size of the household—middle class or affluent children are more likely to do well in school than poor ones, regardless of the presence or absence of a father. And, as the stigma of raising children out of wedlock fades more, more women are making the same choice the author did.

My friends who have become single mothers unexpectedly, via the departure of their husbands or partners, have told me that while the logistical problems increase with single parenthood, the fact that they are no longer living in a tense environment is well worth the loss of a partner. “Sure, I always do the dishes, because there isn’t anyone else to do them,” my friend said. “But that’s the way it was before, too, only I was pissed and we were constantly fighting about it.” That’s nothing to be sorry about. Pity is outmoded.

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