Tragic Sandwich

Food. Family. Fun.

All the Single Ladies

Sometimes it takes me a while to get around to certain topics. It’s not that I don’t have a lot to say about reproductive rights or access to health care or marriage equality–it’s that I spend so much time ranting to Mr. Sandwich that by the time I think, “Hey, I should post something about this,” I’ve missed the boat.

But one topic that comes up on a regular basis is the influence of single mothers on society. Last year a Pew Research poll said that Americans think single motherhood is bad for society. Earlier this year, Rick Santorum said, “We are seeing the fabric of this country fall apart, and it’s falling apart because of single moms.

And it’s not just the last couple of years. Remember this guy?

I’m fortunate to have a loving husband who is a committed and involved father. And I know how much effort the two of us put into being the kind of parents we want to be. Every day, I think about how hard parenthood would be without Mr. Sandwich, and I am in awe of single mothers. Years ago, as a nanny, I realized that the ideal ratio is three adults to one toddler. Three. I am serious. Doing this as one? Amazing.

I have friends and family members who are or have been single mothers. They love their children just as much as Mr. Sandwich and I love Baguette. They want the same things for their children that we want for her–health, success on their own terms, fulfillment, happiness, love, and more. They are wonderful parents.

And you know who else I think would take issue with Rick Santorum and that distressing percentage of Americans in the Pew Research poll?

George Washington. Thomas Jefferson. Andrew Jackson. Andrew Johnson. Rutherford B. Hayes. James Garfield. Herbert Hoover. Barack Obama.

That’s right. Of our 43 presidents*, 8 were raised without a father for key years of their childhood or adolescence.

Single mothers are destroying America? I don’t think so. Bad parenting might be, but that comes in all kinds of numbers. Single mothers raise presidents. And they’ve been doing it from the very beginning.

*I’m only counting Grover Cleveland once, which is why this number isn’t 44.

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26 thoughts on “All the Single Ladies

  1. mommysaidaswearword on said:

    Santorum is the tool-baggyist fool on the planet.

    • I am so glad he didn’t get the nomination. I kept feeling like we’d wind up living The Handmaid’s Tale.

      • mommysaidaswearword on said:

        PLEASE don’t cast me as the role of Handmaid. I can hardly handle pregnancies of my own children, lol.

      • I don’t think anyone wants to be a Handmaid. In fact, you know what really struck me about that story, beyond how obviously horrible that world was? How not one person enjoyed it.

  2. This is a great post. Thanks for speaking your mind, and I couldn’t agree with you more. It still blows my mind that my mom raised three of us by herself. I often feel overwhelmed, and I just have one child!

  3. Great post. I need to learn to be as articulate about “hot button” issues that are important to me as you are here!

  4. I was raised by a single mom. I’m convinced that children raised by loving single mothers are more likely to do well in life than children raised by two parents who hate each other and are verbally, emotionally, or physically abusive. Just because a family has two parents of opposite genders doesn’t make it functional. Maybe Rick “Doubledouchebag” Santorum should pull his pin-sized head out of his fundie ass and have a good look at what America REALLY is — a country that was founded on diversity. Including diversity of family make up.

    • I think what children need most is love, and that’s much more important than how many adults live in the household. Bad parenting can come in twos, after all, and it’s good or bad parenting that’s the real issue.

  5. Tracy on said:

    Beautifully said!

  6. Yes! I love this. I’m so behind the times that I didn’t even know he said this. Thanks for speaking your mind; I completely agree that his sentiments are ridiculous. My parents split when I was 8 and we didn’t live in the same country as my dad, so yes I was raised by a single mom.

    • My parents were married until my mother passed away in 2002; I was in my 30s. They were amazing parents. So are people who didn’t live their lives. Unfortunately, Santorum and his ilk can’t see that. They just like to point fingers in the wrong direction.

  7. Pingback: It’s My SITS Day! « Tragic Sandwich

  8. WriterChickNJ on said:

    I’m a single mom. Holla!
    Thanks for the support.

  9. Allen Ambrosino on said:

    It is wrong to say a single mother cannot do a great job raising a child. It is equally wrong to say a loving mother and father is not preferable to having a child raised by just one parent. I think it is selfish for a woman to have a child, knowing there will be no second parent in the child’s life, a-la Jodie Foster. This is not an action that should be glorified or recommended to the single girls out there who are in the process of becoming women. Send the right message and, more often than not, you will be pleased with the ultimate results.

    • I think that comes dangerously close to saying “Those children shouldn’t have been born,” and that’s pretty much the worst message you can send a child. What results should you expect to get with that?

      • Allen Ambrosino on said:

        I think that uplifting the practice of intentionally becoming a single mother under the guise of one loving single mother being as good at raising a child as two loving parents in also a very dangerous, and incorrect, message. Having a child while knowing you do not have a partner to raise the child with in irresponsible, selfish and the type of egocentric behavior that should be frowned upon by society, butso often is not.

        Nowhere within this post, or the previous one, is the message that a child should never have been born. If a child is born of a drug addicted mother, I still would not be saying it is the child’s fault for being born – it would, however, be the mther’s fault for getting pregnant while on drugs. If we can’t agree on that point, I guess further debate would be a bit pointless.

        Two loving parents are the best way a child can be raised. Now, it can’t always be that way due to circumstances. But to inentionally raise a child solo, from the very beginning, is plainly wrong. Sorry if that do not fit not the theme of the original article.

      • I think it’s very easy to get from one point to the other. No, you don’t explicitly say that, but it’s not that difficult to draw that conclusion from your wording. “It was selfish to have that child” is a micron away from “You shouldn’t have had that child,” which is another micron away from “That child shouldn’t be.”

        For the record, I’m fine with you disagreeing with me. But I don’t think that finger-pointing and criticism solve the problem, particularly when it’s so easy to draw even more damaging conclusions from them. You’re not the only person who feels the way you do. I’m just not with you.

        Neither one of us is likely to persuade the other. I don’t have a problem with that.

  10. Allen Ambrosino on said:

    Oh, and I very much dislike the auto features on the IPAD. They can, on occasion, make interesting word choice changes that can make the author look rather uneducated. I assure you, I am not …

  11. (Stands and applauds)

    Thank you for this. Santorum has a lot of nerve to say something like this about the many hard-working single parents out there. I don’t know the many challenges involved in parenthood as I don’t yet have children of my own, but I see my friends struggle, whether or not they are in a committed relationship, and I can only imagine how much more difficult this would be without an extra pair of hands.

    More respect should be paid to the many men and women who do this selfless act every day rather than cast doubt on their parenting skills. I actually interpret his statement as more a judgement on their moral fiber which fires me up more than I could even begin to explain in a single comment.

    So very happy to see you featured over at SITS. I’m your latest Twitter follower.

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