According to the Single Parent Center, most single parents are mothers. Single fathers make up 2.5% of the single parent homes. The United States has about 14 million single parents. My twin sister and I only know life as siblings with a single mom who loves us. I come from a large family who has supported us since birth (Single Mother Grants). I would have loved to have had a two-parent home but that did not happen. My parents were 18 when they weren’t ready to be parents like so many teenagers who find themselves pregnant. My sister and I know, firsthand, the ups and downs of living in a single-parent home. Though our dad acknowledges us, our mom has to be two parents in one. Growing up in a single-parent home comes with lots of stress and benefits.
Jennifer Wolf, in her article for the Very Well Family, talks about the misconceptions of single parenting. Some misconceptions are that single moms with children chose to be single mothers, they chose not to work and would rather receive public assistance (Wolf, n.d). My mom is a hard-working mother who has worked hard to provide for her children.
From the moment that my mom found out that she was having twins, I’ve been told how her life changed after that moment. My mom was a high school graduate and college-bound, but those plans were put on hold. My grandparents wanted all of their children to go to some type of college or university of their choice. My family members were heartbroken over the news but were determined to help mom deal with it. My mother wanted a two-parent environment for us but that never was never achieved. She had to learn that she could only do so much. With being born three months early, my mom found her with two preemie babies, my sister and me, who spent almost two months in the hospital’s intensive care unit before coming home. We were high-risk infants with lots of medical problems and issues. My mom had no support from our father, no job, no income, and no medical insurance.
The cost of having a baby is very expensive. Our birth cost over $20,000, in 1998, which didn’t include our after-career (Corry, 2019). My sister and I spent weeks in the intensive care unit for babies and mom visited us daily. My dad visited occasionally. This only way for our dad to see us was in a form of a 45- minute drive. Mom had to worry and stress over not having one sick baby but two. She missed having “”that other parent”” for support and decision making. Single parents and their children can become dependents of public assistance and it seems like an easy option.
My grandfather had family coverage insurance which covered my mom’s medical expenses. This was a needed benefit. Mom’s expectation was to receive support from our dad but that didn’t happen. My grandparents did a lot to make sure that we had everything that we needed. Family support is very important during a time like this. We needed two of everything and had it.
Single parents need so much support and because teen pregnancies aren’t planned, most times, neither parent knows what to do. The news of an unexpected birth is devastating when a teen has college plans after graduating from high school. This time can be so stressful for the parents-to-be, the grandparents and siblings of the expecting teens.
Once we were home, there were lots of doctor visits, home visits from therapists, and other outside help and family supporters. All of these things were good for our mother and for us. Mom couldn’t work but received income for having sick babies. This benefit continued until we reached junior high school. Before, long, dad was forced to pay child support. He wasn’t very happy. By then, he was married and soon finished college. Our contact with him wasn’t much during our first years of life. This rejection affected mom, making her really angry. Her anger and disappointment negatively, affect my sister and me. Our grandparents hated the negative interaction with our parents and worked to not pick sides. Caring for her children wasn’t a choice for our mom.
If she needed to go anywhere, she needed a babysitter. She also had to watch how she spent money. Once she moved out of my grandparent’s home, there were bills. Luxuries were very limited. She could only afford those things that were necessary. As we got older, we realized just how much she cried about her situation. She loved us and she saw the hurtfulness that we felt because of the bad relationship with our dad. We would reach out to him only to be disappointed.
Children who are raised in a single-parent home are forced to go through life missing out on what it’s like to have both parents present in their lives. Family support is very important for single parents. My grandparents supported us in every way possible. Sometimes, there were school or other activities that included the absent parent but for my sister and me, we had uncles and a grandfather who filled in. Our school sponsored a program where you could have donuts with your dad. There were lots of kids at our school who were raised by single parents just like my sister and I. Our grandfather attended the breakfast with us. We were also a part of a cotillion that included a formal ball. Our uncles rented tuxedoes and chaperoned us. We badly, wanted our dad to see us all dressed up in formal gowns but it meant so much for our uncles to step in and support us. Our grandparents made sure that we had instruments to play in the school band, go on all field trips and play sports. Eventually, mom wanted to find a job and attend college.
Mom tried both, while we were young but because of our doctor’s visits that were sometimes, 45 miles away, her wishes didn’t last. We were admitted to the hospital sometimes due to illnesses related to being preemie babies. Mom chose to be a mom and take care of her responsibilities. She unselfishly put her plans on hold for us. She began taking a few college courses but had to stop for the same reason. It was hard trying to study at home. After taking care of her daily routine, she was too tired to keep up on her studies. She soon landed a job as a daycare worker at the YMCA. This was a blessing. My sister and I got to attend for free so mom wasn’t charged for daycare. She was able to keep this job for several years. Once we began school, things were a lot easier for us. Once we were older, mom talked to us about our dad. There were times when she let go of her anger and he made a few visits. There was never court ordered visits so dad never showed a big interest in spending time with us. In some families, parental visits can become an ugly issue. Dad got married and his wife appeared to have a hard time with visits. Visiting didn’t last but our pain and longing to be a part of his life did. In the meantime, life continued as mom was determined to go back to college.
Adults attending college are, sometimes, better students than traditional students. Mom was another parent who dispelled the myth that a parent can’t balance a job and family and return to college. My sister and I were good students because mom instilled in us, the values of having an education and being good citizens. Down through the years, her training of how to care for the house and ourselves paid off. She received an associate’s degree and went on to work on her Bachelors’ degree. She is just a few classes shy.
FamilyDoctor.org in their Jan. 18, 2018 article states that single parenting is a challenge. I, totally, agree. The article suggests that parents should be active, have fun, use resources and make time for yourself (Staff, 2019). My mom did all of these things. She has wounds that healed and our family is proud of us. I have learned some good lessons and I still love both my parents very much.
According to the, YOU MAY ASK YOURSELF: An introduction to thinking like a sociologist by Dalton Conley, the 3 theories that bring understanding to the idea of living in a single-parent environment are functionalism, symbolic interaction, and conflict theory. The textbook defines functionalism that various social institution and processes in society exist to serve some important function to keep society running (Conley, 2019). In other words, with living in a single-parent environment, that child has to other things in their life that keeps their mind of off it like relatives, church, going to school, where they live and the economics. I agree with because me coming a single-parent home, I have components mentioned above have kept me busy and really did not feel bad about just have one parent to support me but I have my family, church family and schoolmates that also support me in the processes. The other theory is symbolic interaction with from the text states is a micro- level theory in which shared meanings, orientations, and assumptions form the basic motivations behind people’s actions(Conley,2019). This definition makes it clear that in order to have family they, especially for two people get together have children together, does not mean they have to be married. You can have a family without saying I do. I also agree with this, my mom told me that she and my father were supposed to get married, but it never happened and do not know why. Instead, he went to college and married someone else and had another child. A lot times as a kid, I often talked about my parents and I was always questioned if my parents were together or married as if that was the norm to have a kid. The last theory is conflict, which the textbook informs that it is the idea conflict between competing interests is the basic, animating force of social change and society in general (Conley, 2019). Like I said before being married and having a family does not have the same meaning either do they correlate with each other. For this these two ideas to bring forth what they are about, it is the environment and people that make up these concepts. As far as a family I feel, especially coming from a single parent home, you just need really great people in your life to support you and your achievements. People like grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins etc and places like being a part of extracurricular activities as church and school can help build a better environment for a family. I just that type of environment around to build a family that supports and loves me.
Coming from single-parent home has its pros and cons. It is not too bad because you literally have the attention of that one parent. Just having my mom in my life as my parent, she has done anything and everything from my sister and me to have a better life and make it feel as if we were missing out on anything as if we felt we were living in a two-parent home. Living in a single parent environment is nothing to be ashamed of and only means you have a lot more support you need from the people around you.
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