Stepfamily Issues

Personal stories about stepfamilies, childhood and general family issues.

November 12, 2012

mothers are enough!

Faith is 45 and a divorced single working mom in a low paying job. She has two grown up sons at home, and two who are married with children of their own, and for all the time she was raising them their deadbeat dad was nowhere to be seen.

"For a long time I worried that an absent father during the formative years of my sons' lives would adversely affect their development, making them lousy fathers," says Faith, "but I worried for nothing."

"I look at my boys now and realize that a good mother can make up for all the sins of an absent father."

She bursts with pride when she sees her sons giving to their children the father’s love that they never had.

"I'd like to think that their ability to be good fathers was something that they learned from me," says Faith, "but I accept that there is a general backlash in the community against fathers sacrificing their families for work that may have influenced my boys."

Her sons are not only good fathers but also good husbands - they share the housework and child care with their wives, and both parents have a rewarding career

How different it was for Faith!

"My husband left me with four children under the age of seven," explains Faith, "and having a career - let alone a job - was not an option for me."

"I was on welfare for a few years and then slowly I got back to work and started rebuilding my life."

Because her children only had her, giving priority to them was something she had to do.

"It wasn't just because it was the right thing to do," explains Faith, "but also because I could not have managed a job with four young children."

Prioritizing what’s important, and what’s not, has been the essence of Faith’s life as a single working mother.

Even now, with two teenaged boys at home, she still prioritizes her life around her home and her boys.

"I never aimed to have it all," says Faith. "As far as I was concerned, I already had it all with my boys."

Faith works primarily to earn an income and at 48 she has no illusions whatsoever about the job market.

She considers herself lucky to have a job and feels very sorry for the young single mothers trying to compete for jobs in the current economy.

"I worry that many of these young women are being taken off welfare and forced into the job market before they are ready to leave their children," explains Faith.

"In giving these women the feeling that their children don’t deserve priority, the current culture is creating undue pressure and unhappiness in these women’s lives that is going to adversely affect their children and ultimately damage future society."

"It is unrealistic," says Faith, "to expect these young women with babies to compete for jobs with a growing army of young singles who work long hours doing the work of two people and move into positions of power very quickly."

"Companies give preference to people who can put in those hours, and who can give priority to work. Simply put, single working mothers cannot compete on these terms."

"In fact," says Faith, "my two married sons are finding it so difficult to keep up with these young Turks that the mantle of responsibility at work has fallen onto much younger shoulders."

"Managerial positions were once the province of people 35-up, now they are filled largely with people as young as 22," laughs Faith, "all of whom are childless. It is not just single working mothers who cannot compete with childless people for top jobs paying top salaries. Married men and women are feeling the pressure, too."

"When married men and women are changing tack, wanting a more balanced life and demanding family friendly work environments," says Faith, "I believe that any single working mother who tries to compete with childless workers is flowing against the tide."

"The No. 1 priority of single working mothers must necessarily be their children," says Faith, "and this often means accepting very low paid jobs during the period in which children are dependent."

"Earning a high salary involves responsibility, stress, deadlines and time constraints, " says Faith. "When children are very young no woman can survive as a mother and a top salary earner at the same time unless she has a personal fortune to employ an army of servants."

"A good mother can be a good father, too," says Faith, "but an army of servants can never replace a good mother."

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