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.