Gender & Identity, Life

I was raised by a single mother, and it confused me when she remarried

Why is it still shocking that one woman can wear the many hats needed in order to raise four kids?

Although I was raised primarily by my mother, my father has been heavily involved in my life and my siblings’ lives. Debunking misconception number one.

The main thing I would like to address, however, is this notion of children being raised by single parents, whether it’s by their mother or by their father, aren’t just as successful as children raised by two parents in the home.

Statistics have shown that when raising a child, even though there has been a significant increase in unmarried mothers raising children on their own, the majority of people believe that the most ideal way to raise a child is for a mother to work part time and not full time, and have a father figure work full time as he helps raise the child.

Growing up, I didn’t fit that “ideal.”

My mother is a teacher, and she’s pretty damn good at her job, because she’s dedicated to helping her students. There were times when she has taken part time jobs, or extra teaching jobs over the summer along with her main job in teaching in order to support herself and us.

She was able to teach me and my siblings to be self-sufficient in regards to homework and maintaining the upkeep of our house. During my freshman year of college, I made a friend who hasn’t learned to do their own laundry because their parents did it for them. As I helped them with their laundry, I explained to them how I’ve been doing laundry since I was eight.

They were in such shock. I was too.

I thought it was standard to do learn to do things like that on your own. I never knew that coddling like that could exist!

My mom was remarried at one point, and it was my first time having two parents in the house on a daily basis instead of one. It was awkward. It was ideal, sure, but it didn’t sit right with us.

It didn’t help that he wasn’t a very nice guy to begin with, but it was still, strange. He kept trying to split the parenting work when my mom was capable of taking care of us on her own. She was the one more capable of bringing a source of income, and she was the one more capable to help us than he was. That form of independence bugged him.

I don’t like the whole idea of how “well a single parent must take on both roles,” perpetuating the gender roles of mothers having to be nurturing and fathers having to enforce discipline. Why is it still shocking that one woman can wear the many hats needed in order to raise four kids?

I’m not saying that things weren’t stressful for us. My mom has picked us up late from school, she has come home later than she said she would, and it can suck having to come to terms with how tough money is. In fact, things still continue to get stressful for us, especially financially.

However, I am saying that because of the amount of resilience my mother has, and how hard she pushed us to work hard in order to pursue what we wanted to pursue, even if it meant no C’s allowed on report cards (teacher life, man), I don’t need the ideal family life the majority likes to force upon others in order to be fine in my life.

I am finishing up my senior year of college, I have done campus organizing, I have written on various platforms online and off, I have traveled around the United States, and I am the number one person to bug the heck out of my group members in group projects in order to get things done, because my mother plays a huge role in all of those things.

I’m glad it’s not a shock to people in this day and age to say that you were raised primarily by one parent. But the whole stereotype of life being oh so hard and not so beneficial without there being two parents needs to stop.