Single moms and their kids battle recession

Mother holds Child
Image via Wikipedia

I was somewhat surprised to read in a Legal Momentum e-newsletter that single mothers have traditionally always had a higher unemployment rate than the general population. Now they say the recession’s having an even greater negative impact. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) say the unemployment rate for single mothers was 13.6% in 2009 compared to 9.3% for the population as a whole.

I know how hard-hit so many two-parent families have been by this recession—several in my family had to have the stay-at-home mom go out and get a job. And having been a single mom myself who fought like hell to pay the bills and find a new job after losing  my employment in two earlier recessions, I find it painful to think about the struggles of the single mother in today’s brutal economy. First, they are women, which means they are already more likely to be paid less than men for similar work—in every type of job, from WalMart greeter to corporate executive. Second, unlike two-parent families there’s no second person to bring in backup income. Third, since a single mom already has an important second job—raising her kids—it may literally not be possible to take on a third job or find money to pay for child care even if she could.

Whether you make $20,000 a year or $100,000, whether you’re a working married mom or a single mom, as a parent your goal is to give your child the best possible life. When I read about how families are supported in other countries such as the private/public partnership to provide child care for all kids in Finland, it makes me sad that we don’t feel more of an obligation to help all of our country’s children receive the care they deserve while their moms work or look for work.

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WLoVE is solace and inspiration for every woman

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”- Plato
I noticed this quote in my email one morning, not only because it’s a very wise insight into human behavior, but also because it was written long before the politically correct era of non-sexist language. That is, only adult men are mentioned, and while Plato may have meant both sexes, many of us have grown used to being surprised when women are conspicuously left out.
Now Plato’s a guy for whom I have the highest regard, for I understand he is supposed to have said way back in 370-something BC, “If woman should ever become man’s equal, she will quickly become his superior.”  Quite an observer from more than 2000 years ago.
Afraid of the light. Perhaps he was referring to the fact that we human beings tend to be afraid of success, afraid of our own capabilities…or perhaps he meant we are afraid of learning too much and having to change our comfortable beliefs. Maybe all of the above.
With all the books and videos and so on out today about getting in touch with our inner strength, about finding our direct connection to God (the Higher Power, the Greater Good) within, it’s not surprising that we might be afraid of the  light. Be afraid that those who talk about making the connection know some secret that we’ll never be privy to. That we aren’t that “special” to be able to feel that connection.
Well, here’s a chance to hear much more about your personal specialness. It's all about unfolding as you are.SWWAN is participating in a wonderful conference this year called Women Living on the Verge of Evolution. You can attend a weekly 60 to 90-minute telephone session and hear about the personal journeys and the amazing discoveries being made by some talented but very human women. These women are doctors, lawyers, marketing professionals, coaches, yoga experts and more. Some started out in one career and completely changed over after a life-defining realization.
In any case, they each have words of encouragement and inspiration for anyone who comes to listen. It’s a little like I always think about going to church–letting myself be called to my higher self for a while, pulling away from the daily grind, the constant tasks and duties of my single working woman’s life. It’s good for the soul. Balm to the spirit. Food for the hungry heart.
Listen to last night’s interchange with Dr. Barbara Trautlein on the topic of Women’s Power at Work. And mark your calendar for the next few Thursdays. In fact, I’ll be speaking next Thursday at 8 pm CT. The subject is: “Being Single: A prolonged state of waiting–or an empowered life choice?”
And to wind up the series, there’s an international convocation in Las Vegas coming up. Check out the special deals on registration and hotel prices: 21-day special of $210 for 1 attendee and $397 for 2 to attend the 3-day Convocation here in Las Vegas.  The hotel is $59 per night and the rooms are 1-bedroom suites newly renovated in a non-gaming hotel.

Reflections on changing the world


Year-end is always a good time to think about what has happened in your life and what you’d like to have happen in the future. Was reading an article in Ode Magazine yesterday and found a story about a professor at Barnard College in New York who invites local Harlem residents to sit in for free in his philosophy classes. He got in trouble with the administration, but he told them these are his friends and they wouldn’t dare tell another professor his friends couldn’t sit in. Cool.

Anyway, he quoted Ghandi and I think it’s a perfect one for single working women, too. “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Make the choices you really want to make–not those society would have you make. The single women of today who do work they love, who pursue successful careers of all kinds, and who build caring relationships with friends and family are demsontrating that women are in charge of their own happiness.

How many children are raised by a single parent because of divorce, desertion, or death? Why should a stigma be attached to single mothers by choice? The single women of today who choose to become mothers because they have not met the right mate are courageously living out their dream. They are showing the world that healthy, happy children can come from all types of homes–as they have always done.

The single women who face medical and financial challenges and find new ways to overcome those obstacles are showing resourcefulness and courage that is an inspiration to others in this profoundly down economy.

The single women of today who live alone or caring for an elderly relative yet find joy in work, play and friendships are embodiments of hope. They personify the energy, the creativity, and the courage that are helping to make the world a better place for all.

Merry Christmas to all. May we all continue to be the change we want to see in the world.

US not alone in rising number of single-parent households


Even though the tradition to have a regular family with lots of kids has been strong among Jews, times are changing in Israel as well as other countries. The number of single-parent families in Israel has doubled over last decade. At 7% of all families, the single-parent household is a growing minority (90% of those are women-headed).

Here are the rankings of countries in order of their number of single-headed households, according to an NII report:

  • United State ranked in first place with 16%
  • Canada followed with 11%
  • Finland, South Korea, New Zealand and Norway are ranked third with 9%
  • Australia, the UK, Austria and Portugal ranked fourth with 8%
  • Israel is fifth with 7%
  • Denmark, Spain and Switzerland came in at sixth place (6%), and
  • Germany, Greece, Japan and Luxembourg (5%).

The same forces seem to be at work in most countries–better pay and more opportunities for women are leading to fewer marriages and more women choosing to remain single after divorce or become moms on their own.