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#GirlontheStreet: How is Life as a Single Mom?

Updated: May 13, 2020

This week, we are exploring the issue of single parenthood especially as it affects women in society today.

In a recent report by John Hopkins researchers, it was found that 57% of millennial moms are unmarried moms. According to another report by EmmaJohnson, the reasons for the rise in the number of Single Moms include high — but declining — divorce rates, but more significantly, a drop in marriage rates overall among young people, and an overall acceptance for having children outside of a “traditional” first marriage.

Revealing the plight of single mothers living in poverty, a 2018 Pew Research Center analysis found that the poverty rate by household head was 30% for solo mothers, 17% for solo fathers and 16% for families headed by a cohabiting couple, indicating that more single mothers are battling poverty than other kinds of parents globally. Beyond the economic challenges, single mothers face many other key challenges including: discrimination, stereotyping and stigma from society.

Despite these challenges, not enough intervention, advocacy and visibility is given to this demographic. There is still a strong demand for public-private sector interventions that will empower, support and protect disadvantaged single mothers who have been neglected by the society for the longest time.

Shedding more light on the issue, we hit the streets to speak to single mothers to understand their realities. Here are a few of the most intriguing stories we gathered:

Pat, 32

I want to be able to do so much more for my son. I know he deserves better. But I am just one person. There is only so much I can do with what I have. It breaks my heart.

Melanie, 29

I think the most difficult thing is watching my daughter miss out on having a father. I see the way she looks at her peers with their dads. When she was younger, she would ask me about him all the time. These days she just holds it all in. It hurts that there’s nothing I can do about it.

Dumebi, 26

Doing it all alone is a daily struggle. Being ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ can be a burden a lot of times. The worst part is trying to hold it all together for my Son so he does not see his Mum falling apart. But it is all worth it when I see him full of joy in spite of everything.

Praise, 36

It is so funny how people still look down on me the moment I tell them I’m a single mom. The men just automatically assume I am desperate for a man in my life, and the women just assume I am some sort of slut. You would think it would end after sometime, but the discrimination just evolves with age.

How are YOU or anyone you know dealing with life as a single Mom? Let us know in the comments. If you or anyone you know is a single mother in need of support, remember you are not alone. Find help from local and global organizations catering to the plight of single mothers in your neighborhood (see some suggestions below):

Nigerian Single Mothers Foundation

The Life of a Single Mom

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