When Maria Shriver’s report about American moms came out, my initial reaction was, “this is fantastic!” The study brought to light many all-too-familiar concerns such as: finances, education, work-life-balance, and safety—things moms and most others, can relate to. What I didn’t see in the report was the difference between how married or partnered moms feel, versus single-moms. I’d venture to say there are some differences.
Take finances, for example. Finances are not just about a paycheck, but rather it includes child support, medical bills, and the ability to pay counsel fees. To add insult to injury, if the non-custodial parent doesn’t cooperate with child support, then more counsel fees are needed to fight for what’s needed—support for the care and upbringing of a child. It’s like being on a hamster wheel that won’t stop.
Another issue brought to light in the Shriver Media report was education. Yes! I think we can all admit that college costs are out-of-control. The burden of affording college tuition adds to the financial stress of mothers—particularly single-mothers. Mandated non-custodial parental participation in contributing towards college tuition costs varies state-to-state—somehow, that doesn’t seem fair, does it? A good education, a caring education, and a safe education need to be available for all children. Whether a parent chooses private or public education for their children—that education should be filled with enthusiasm for learning, caring teachers, and, be a place any child can feel safe.
Work-life-balance—it seems we don’t hear so much about this anymore—who does have a good handle on this? The report points out that full-time working moms still have the “lion’s share of household and parenting duties”—single-moms have all of them. Learning to lean on others for support and at times help, is a learned task for mothers who are used to juggling everything.
Last but not least, safety. It seems that all too often we hear about violence in school, bullying, sex-trafficking, and domestic violence. When I was little, the violence in school was a fist-fight at recess. Now, we hear of students bringing weapons to school, we hear of girls being taken and forced into sex-trafficking rings, and we hear of children witnessing violence, threats, and intimidation at home. These children need a voice.
Even though mothers have these stressors, overall they are incredibly resilient, as the Shriver report points out. They put their ‘big girl panties’ on, and deal with it. And by doing so, set a fine example of what it means to be self-sufficient, strong, courageous, compassionate, and loving. Kudos to strong, compassionate, and courageous moms everywhere!