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Jan. 12th, 2014

I'm looking forward to reading A Women's Nation Pushes Back From the Brink.

40% of American households are now headed by a single, female parent, while less than 20% are headed by a male breadwinner supported by a stay-at-home mother. However, the majority of society is still structured for the 20%, as if by maintaining the structure will retroactively enforce certain demographics. An attempt at cultural engineering using the Field of Dreams playbook.

I didn't set out to be a single parent. Living as one opened my eyes to the misconceptions, attitudes, and assumptions many make about single parents. They are told to work hard to avoid any societal assistance, and to invest huge amounts of time personally raising their children, and are snubbed and demeaned when they can't do all that while also attending school fulltime in order to improve their lot in life (and taking on more debt, btw).

And I have heard, more times than I can count, people discuss the struggles of single parents as if their hardship is deserved penance, thus determining there is no need to examine what could be changed for the better.

There are times when standing on the "moral high ground" is merely an excuse to feel special while watching others drown. It's no better than making one's self feel good by bullying someone else.

I'll never forget the time a married person--the family breadwinner who had a spouse at home to take care of house and children--told me that if karate really mattered to me, I'd find a way to train three or four times a week. I informed the person that raising my child was higher priority. The person simply couldn't understand that maybe, just maybe, there were not enough hours in my day to do it all.

Anyway. I'll hush now before I soapbox more.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
aanna_t
Jan. 12th, 2014 05:20 pm (UTC)
Ugh. I don't think that person is interested in understanding anything.

As one of those 20% who is the stay-at-home part of a marriage, I know how *I* struggle to find time just to homeschool my two young kids, keep my household from falling into complete chaos, and *maybe getting a little time to think about writing. I have come to understand that homeschooling is my full-time job right now.

I cannot imagine trying to work and homeschool at the same time, let alone getting anything else done. You have my respect.

People without empathy are not interested in understanding your situation: no matter where they come from they will find a difference between their life and yours that makes them look good.
blairmacg
Jan. 12th, 2014 05:47 pm (UTC)
The person simply hadn't stopped to consider all that he *didn't* have to do because someone had *always* done it for him. Total confusion on his part, and he couldn't see how it was cruelty.

You're homeschooling more students than I, and mine is now pretty independent at age 17, so it DOES get easier. :)

But even without homeschooling, if I did the "right" thing by working fulltime while attending school, who would then be raising my child?

I think what gets me, too, is how little it really takes to make a difference between a single parent making it or not. Five days of paid sick leave. Neighborhood childcare co-ops. Students grants instead of student loans. A workday from 8am to 3:30pm, or work paid by productivity rather than hours spent onsite. yadda yadda.
queenoftheskies
Jan. 12th, 2014 07:09 pm (UTC)
You know, of course, that I sympathize completely. I can't tell you the number of times I've had similar comments and male bosses look down their noses and think I couldn't do the job as well as a man because I was a single parent and had kids to look after, too.

I've always had to work harder than any man I know, plus take care of my kids and a household.

And, our government--don't get me started--cutting the head-of-household deduction to penalize single moms.
blairmacg
Jan. 13th, 2014 12:55 am (UTC)
With some particularly noisome folks, I toss it back at them. "Yes, raising my child come first. How about you?"

And I KNOW you completely understand. :)

I made a conscious choice to "sequence" parts of my life. It seemed perfectly reasonable to me. I was prepared for the struggle, but simply wasn't prepared for the cold and unthinking judgments.
danceswithwaves
Jan. 12th, 2014 11:45 pm (UTC)
Even just the sample of the book was really interesting. Thanks for the link.
blairmacg
Jan. 13th, 2014 12:55 am (UTC)
You're welcome!
thanate
Jan. 13th, 2014 02:21 am (UTC)
Goodness yes; I can't imagine how you people do it.

And with a kid most of a generation younger, we get a lot of blank looks from people because I don't work outside the home. ("But what [do you/does your wife] *do*?" as if running about after a toddler weren't a thing.) It's one of those questions where there's always someone ready to pop out of the woodwork and tell you you're doing it wrong.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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