So, in last night’s debate, Mitt Romney suggested that single moms are responsible for gun violence. Since I have been a single mom for the past 13 years, I take great offense to this comment as am sure many single moms have. Single moms have acquired a stereotypical image of being irresponsible parents, unable to teach or provide for their children. To that, I say, Really? REALLY? WTF?
I beg to differ. Let me tell you about it. I was married when my children were born. Divorcing their father was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make but it was a decision that was necessary to my own mental health and well being. It took me many years to put the guilt behind me of taking away a “normal” life for my sons. I finally realized that there is no “normal” and a healthy mother and family environment is crucial for the children. Hence, I got divorced. It was the best choice for me and for my sons. Sometimes, tho, when we are in the midst of it all, we can’t see the forest for the trees.
I remember going before the judge for the final divorce decree. I requested no child support; I only wanted the marriage to be over. He looked me in the eye and asked, “Do you want your children to live in poverty?” (How chauvinistic! What nerve to even suggest this!) I answered him by explaining that they did not currently live in poverty (I had been separated a year at that time) and nor would they ever lack for anything they needed to have. I would make damn sure of it. I didn’t realize it then but I was already being lumped into this stereotypical image of the “single mom”~ unable to provide for my children without the assistance of their father. I was appalled by his attitude towards me. So, I was awarded child support, a very minimal amount. Their father ended up having too many responsibilities of his own and I took the bulk of everything on myself. This was fine with me. This was my choice.
Fast forward 13 years. My sons are now 27 and 20. Was it difficult raising them? Financially, at times, it was. But they never lacked for anything they needed. Never, not once. They may not have had the newest video game systems (this actually turned out to be a blessing) but I found a way to make sure they had what they needed. I was self employed the entire time and never once did I receive any kind of government aid. I did it all myself. I gladly sacrificed for them. I became a thrift store expert when it came to my own needs. Do I regret any of it? Not for one single second.
So, without having a father in the home, how did they fare? Are they gun toting, drug dealing thugs out shooting people? NO! Surprised? I was there with them, teaching constantly with my words and example. They learned how to be compassionate, kind, responsible human beings. They learned respect for everyone and everything. They learned the value of hard work. They learned to be independent and self reliant. They learned the value of education. They learned to have dreams. They learned to speak up for justice. Not to bash anyone or toot my own horn, but they came through it all with MY ideals. They are not homophobic nor do they think women need to be barefoot and pregnant. They are excellent shining examples of America’s youth. Of course, I am biased, they are my kids. But they’re good kids, they really are, and guess what? They were raised by me, A SINGLE MOM.
Recently, my youngest son was having problems at work because of a company take over. The employees were not receiving their paychecks. Almost a full month had passed without pay. One of my son’s coworkers is a single mom with three kids. As you can imagine, not receiving a paycheck for someone who lives paycheck to paycheck is devastating, so this woman was really struggling. I found out that my son was supporting her financially through all of this. (He works full time and is a full time student.) He said to me, “Her little girl didn’t even have lunch money”. He gave her money willingly, knowing that he may never get paid back, and not just a little, but a substantial amount. My son also took the initiative and contacted an attorney to get the payroll issue resolved (with good results). He said to me, “Mom, she reminded me of you, when it was a struggle for us to get by.” As I write this, tears come to my eyes. I am SO proud of them. My boys. So, very very proud. If I did one good thing in my life, it is this: I raised amazing kids. I did damn good.
So to all these politicians who don’t have a clue about real life, I want to say, take your millions of dollars and your idiot opinions shove it all up where the sun never shines. Yes, that may be harsh, that may be a bit inflammatory, but I don’t care. There are many, many (thousands? millions?) of single moms just like me who are working their asses off and sacrificing themselves to raise their kids the right way. And there are many, many (thousands? millions?) of kids out there who grew up in single parent households who are amazing, fantastic individuals who are shining lights in our society. ~Kathy Lee 10/17/2012