An Interview With a Struggling Single Mother

Updated on September 29, 2012
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A Single Mothers Struggle

There are over 13 million single parents in the United States who have to face the challenges of raising a child alone on an everyday basis. Some of these mothers and/or fathers receive partial help from an ex, a family member or government assistance. In some cases a single parent may receive no help at all.

We all know how difficult and expensive it can be to raise a child. We know of the time and energy that it takes from our own personal needs and the self-sacrifice one makes in order to give to their child. Most of us know of a single parent or two who have to face the daily challenges alone.

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down and discussing the hardships a single parent faces with a single mother raising a daughter. She shared the struggles she faces on a daily basis and allowed me to share with you, her story.

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How many children do you have?

One

How old is she?

9 months old.

You are single?

Yes.

Where is your daughter's father?

I’m not sure where he is living.

How long were you together for?

For about four years.

Does he see your daughter very often?

Not as often as I would like.

Does he pay child support?

Yes and no. I would like him to help out every week; he pays maybe once a month, if that. Last month he gave me $170.00. I’m hoping that things will change and he will help out more.

What do you do for work?

I work at a nursing home. I am a laundry aide.

Do you work full-time?

Yes. I put in 40 hours a week.

Do you struggle to pay for you and your daughter’s needs?

Every day. A day does not go by that I do not struggle.

Can you describe your financial struggles some?

I do not get paid enough. Trying to pay for everything is hard. I have to pay for babysitting, rent, and everything in between. A baby has many needs. There are many times that I worry about having enough money for diapers or I have to borrow money for gas just so I can get to work. I cannot afford anything for myself, my daughter’s needs are number one and I make sure they are filled first.

Recently, I needed a new pair of shoes. My shoes had holes in them, and I had to wait until my baby had everything she needed before I could take care of myself. I had to wait an entire month before I could buy a pair of sneakers for work. Since I cannot count on child support, my needs are on hold until I can give my daughter what she needs first.

Why do you not press for child support?

I do not have the money to go to court. The paperwork is $207.00 and then I wonder, what is the point of trying to get something out of someone when they cannot hold a job?

Do you get any kind of assistance?

I get food stamps and WIC.

Do you get any emotional support from family and friends?

I have the best family and my friends are good too. They listen when I complain about my issues; they give me advice and hope that I listen. I can lean on my family for help and they understand me. I have really great support

What happens if your car breaks down and you do not have the money to fix it?

I work my magic and bat my eyelashes (laughing), and hope that someone will help me or let me make payment plans. Most of the time, I hope that there is nothing wrong with my car and hope for the best.

Can you describe a typical weekday?

I wake up at 5:20am jump in the shower and get ready for work, wake up my baby, change her diaper and clothes. I leave the house by 6:00am drop her off at the babysitters then I have to be to work for 7:00am. I leave work at 3:00pm. Sometimes I do errands before I get the baby. Than we after I pick her up we are home for the night. I cook supper and give my daughter her supper, clean her mess, give her a bath, and then put her pj’s on. We are both in bed by 9:00pm.

What is your favorite part about being a new mother?

I cannot say there is just one favorite part. There is so much that I love about being a mom, especially when she sees me after a long day and her face lights up. I love taking naps and snuggling with her and playing with her. I also love it when she wants to sit in my lap, the list can go on forever!

What is your biggest struggle with being a single mother?

Not having the help that I need, there is so much that I struggle with. It would have been nice to have someone there during the nights when she wakes up every now and then or to help put the groceries away because my daughter never lets me do this. Taking care of her needs always come first and it means I have to wait to put things away. It would have been nice to have help with all the lugging around of her things too. A baby has a lot of luggage that gets carted around on a daily basis.

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    • profile image

      Maree 

      10 days ago

      Hi there,

      Ive been a single mum in australia for 10 years. mycson is now 11..its been really tough finacially and emotionally. I was in a very dark place 8 yrs ago, im better now but still vunerable to depression when i dont have enough relaxation and fun im my life. Im working fulltime at the moment as a Personal Assistant. Im finding the work very challenging in terms of amount of work to complete every day &pressure from boss to 'manage my time' & do more and in the wknds im just doing all the chores and only spending a little quality time with my son. Im really not sure if working ft is right for me. I pay much more in childcare my son is alone more or with older ladies who arent much fun which he doesnt like, yes i have more $ but im also having to pay others for things i cant do because im working or just too exhausted, im beginning to realise wking ft is not ideal because we are both stressed and exhausted. Im thinking if i could work say 9-4 x 4-5 days p/w that might be better....& take some days off for special schl events etc.what have others found gives them the best work/life balance? Maree

    • gmaoli profile image

      Gianandrea Maoli 

      5 years ago from South Carolina

      I've done a couple of stories about single mothers and their struggles. What I've read about in this interview is not anything that surprises me, sad to say. However, I have a strong admiration for them because despite all odds, they don't give up hope and still do what needs to be done to care for their children. The fact that this woman is willing to burn holes in her shoes just to make sure her child has everything she needs before the mother takes care of herself: that is the kind of love you cannot fake! It's real, heartfelt, and inspiring. Thank you for posting this!

    • TNSabrina profile image

      TNSabrina 

      5 years ago

      I was once a single mother at 19 years old making around $150.00 per week, which was about 12 years ago. I got child support for about 3 weeks out of my son’s 14 years of living. I had no family to support me, but I did have a special angel who helped with babysitting so I could work.

      I know the struggles single mothers go through. Even now when I think of those days, I can remember feeling scared about not having the money for shelter, food, and clothing. I am in a better place now and my son has blossomed, but I will never forget our struggles together.

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