The other day I wrote a post about single parenthood, a fact of life for many adoptive families. A lot of people (mostly women, but not all) choose to parent on their own, while others, like mine, become single parent homes after the children arrive. The other day I mentioned a recent study by the Pew Research Center which indicates that there is a bias when it comes to single parents and that about 2/3 of Americans believe that families headed by single mothers are actually bad for society. An attitude that definitely hurts my feelings!
I come to this issue from two perspectives: First, I grew up in a single parent household, and now I am experiencing it firsthand as a single parent to my own three kids. I know that fundamentally, my children are not any different from children who live with two parents…..Just as I don’t feel very different from the other moms I know who struggle to get dinner on the table, get to various practices and rehearsals on time, and keep up with the laundry….
But there might be a couple of ways my children could be a little different from their classmates:
#1) I think we have all learned not to sweat the small stuff. (Cliche, I know–but true.) My kids and I have learned that in the grand scheme of life, it really doesn’t matter if there are dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, if you flubbed up during your piano recital, you didn’t make callbacks in the theatrical production, or you squabbled with your friends on the playground. These things are trivial when it comes right down to it. Bigger issues, like our well being and the health of those we love, and how our actions impact others… these are things that matter.
#2) Self reliance: A couple of my friends have actually told me this–They tell me that my kids are a lot more self-sufficient than their children. By the time my kids were in kindergarten, they knew how to pour themselves cereal; they could make themselves instant oatmeal and butter their own bread. By the time they are in junior high I fully expect all of them will be able to do their own laundry and mow the yard–as long as I get rid of that horrid push mower!
I hope my children learn, like I did, that they can do anything they set their minds to.
If a different perspective on what is important and self reliance makes our society a bad place then I am confused about what attitudes and traits we want in our citizenry.