National Single Parent Day was instituted in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan. This holiday honors all single parents and recognizes the difficulties and extra responsibilities they sometimes face in raising their child or children alone. The holiday was created based on an article written by Janice Moglen in 1984.
In the article, Moglen, a divorced mother of two, wrote that she hoped that Single Parent Day might one day gain the recognition many associate with both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. In collaboration with the organization Parents Without Partners, Moglen began to petition individual states to declare their own recognition of Single Parents Day. It is believed that March 21 was chosen as the official day to coincide with the inception of Parents Without Partners, which began 50 years ago, on March 21, 1957.
As a parent, I understand the struggles and difficulties that come with raising children. Period.
As a SINGLE parent, the struggles and difficulties can feel overwhelming at times. I am very thankful that my children’s father (and his wife for that matter) are still very much involved in their lives and we have shared parenting time, 50/50.
But still, even with shared parenting responsibilities, there are still days that I feel completely beside myself.
- I’m still the only parent disciplining my boys when they are with me.
- I’m still the only parent paying for groceries when I have my boys. And let me tell you something, my boys are 11 and 13, and I am finding myself having to shop at least twice a week just to keep up with their non-stop appetite that just can’t seem to be appeased!
- I’m still the only parent paying the bills at my house, making sure rent is paid on time and making sure I have a running vehicle to transport my kids back and forth.
Not to sound cliché, but, the struggle is real!
And not taking away from the couples that may have one parent that travels for work and they have to do things on their own for a few days here and there. I absolutely understand those can be trying times and it can feel like you are a single parent during those periods of time. But those times also aren’t permanent. A parent comes home at the end of the traveling. Both incomes are still being received. There’s still a team working to raise those children the best they know how.
And that’s what we do as single parents as well.
We still do the best that we can to raise our children. Sometimes we have to work harder to provide for our children, even the basic necessities, but we make it work. Sometimes we go without so that our children don’t have to. At the end of the day, single parents, coupled parents, extended family parents; our ultimate goal in life is to make sure our children are provided for, taken care of, and grow up to be kind and productive citizens.
Do you have any single parents in your circle of friends or family? If so, check on them. I know the various lockdowns the past year have been difficult. For everyone. But maybe reach out to the single parents you know and see how they are coping. If they are anything like me, they aren’t always going to tell you their struggles or pinpoint something they are having a tough time with. But even just checking on them means a lot.
Here are some simple ways that you can help a single parent in their times of need:
- Pay for a house cleaner
- Offer free babysitting
- Gift card to a restaurant, grocery store, or take-out/drive-thru
- Gift basket with items to help them relax or feel pampered
- Shovel their driveway or help mow their grass
- Offer to help with a tank of gas or an oil change
As a single mom, I may not have an extended “village” to help with my children. But don’t underestimate me. I am driven, hard-working, and often quite a creative woman, doing my best, on a daily basis. I don’t think that I’m some kind of superhero or brave person for doing this on my own. I’m a mom. It’s what I do!