Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Snapshot into a Single-Mother’s Life: Welcome to Reality

The media portrays some, but not all the hardships that single mothers endure.  For the past 15 years approximately 12 percent of families in the U.S. were headed by females (  According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2005, 50 percent of African American children live in a household held by a woman, 25 percent Hispanic, 16 percent non-Hispanic, and 10 percent Asian (  Single mothers have to juggle between their work, legal services, social services agencies, etc.  At times they can feel overwhelmed and stressed because of the difficult life circumstances. In recent studies, they have found that single mothers have a 40 percent higher risk of major depression (Turo-Shields).  This depression can be caused by an increased amount of life stressors and lack of social support.  Many times these mothers fall into the working poor class and many times have difficult choices they have to make.  Approximately 27.7 percent of single mothers live in poverty (  

From a personal interview with two single moms, I was able to see the various hardships and joy that a single mothers face.  Tati is a single teenage mom.  She has a 15 month old son.  As we talked she began to talk about the hardships and the joy she has of being a mom.  She began to talk about how at times her son would drive her crazy that she just wanted to scream and walk away.  At times it was too much for her to handle, but at the end of the day it didn’t matter how much stress she felt she still just wanted to relax and spend time with her son.  When she did work she felt the support and love of her family having her parents take care of her son while she worked all day.  In addition, she said that it didn’t matter how long she worked all she wanted to do was go home and spend time with her son because she is so attached to him.  On the other hand there was Maria.  She is currently 52 and has four children.  As she talked about her experience as a single mom she began telling me of the various things she went through.  She raised her children in housing apartments offered by the government.  She was a welfare mom.  Maria was also a homemaker and did not go off to work until her children were of school age and even then she was known as a working mom only working hours around her children’s school schedule.  When it came to buying her children gifts she found that the law-away plan was the only way that she could afford buying Christmas gifts for her children.  As her children grew, her eldest daughter helped her out babysitting.

Looking over these personal accounts and review the information that has been given we can see that the media life of a single mom isn’t as pretty in pink as it is put out to be.  They endure many stresses and are at greater risk of depression, but over all they work hard to maintain and keep their family afloat.


  1. Does the media accurately portray the reality of having the perfect job that accommodates a single mother’s lifestyle?
  2.  How does race and stereotypes play a role in single motherhood?

Analysis of the Structure versus Agency Discourse. Journal of Poverty. Vol. 12 Issue 2, p175-200. from SocINDEX 11/30/2009
Marrero, Tati. Personal Interview. 11/30/2009
Rosario, Maria. Personal Interview. 11/30/2009
Single Parent Family. Found 11/30/2009
The Factbook.  Found 11/30/2009
Turo-shields, D. (2/2009). Single Mothers at Greater Risk for Depression. mental- Found 11/30/2009


  1. I feel that the media does not accurately portey the reality of a single mother. In terms of T.V shows, viewers tend to like to see postive shows, and impowering about how although there will be tough times, they will always come out well in the end. I keep thinking back to the show Reba, in which she is a single mom just after divorcing her husband who cheated on her. She is always in the house with the kids, or in one episode she takes up reality as a way to make a living. Although this does refer to her working, it is not seen very important to her. I feel that it is really hard for the media to portey accurately the reality of how hard it is to be a working single mother, because they do have to keep in mind what is going to get their viewers to turn.


  2. I think it can be very impowering to be a single mom. I believe kids dont realize how hard it is on single mom's and the sacrifices that are made, and the media images do not help with this. I don't really think most kids appreciate how much there parents have done until their adults. I have many young friends who are single Mom
    s and i can see the stress is causes tham where it almost appears they don't care.

    -Kimberly Wabik

  3. I believe that the two theories are so narrow minded that it’s hard to fit in all single father situations. These theories state good dad vs. bad dad—too black and white. Theories are generally broader, and being this, are able to fit in more than two types of people. It’s like saying there are only two types of households when in reality there are a lot more grey areas. I know someone who is friends with a single father and he is a blend between the good and bad role model. He tries to be the good, caring dad while having a conflicting relationship with his ex-wife he has his bad parenting moments. Real life dads don’t follow a script that a director might give to a cast member; there are many scenarios that happen in the moment and, within the first couple of seconds, they have to make their best judgment.

    Jacqueline Trabish

  4. I agree with both Kim and Jacqueline. With Kim because i also know lots of single moms and it is very hard but rewarding. In fact, i got to experience living like this for a little while. When my dad when away for two years, my mom was left taking care of me and my two sisters. It was really hard. We needed all the help we could get. And also with Jacqueline that there are other types of households. I feel like any situation can set you apart and nobody can compare exactly to what you are going through.

    Ashley Keating