Our Family is a Team: A Single Mother’s Son Reflects.

Steve Keck
Stephen Keck, proud son of a single mother

I was ten years old when my mommy divorced my father. I was thankful for her courage through years of several kinds of abuse and torment. Her decision to divorce him and alter our family was brave and most likely scary. I will not dwell on the specifics of what my father did or was because this article is to focus on my mother and her bravery, support, selflessness, and love.

Currently, I am 27 and in graduate school for School Counseling. I have an older brother who is 32. And my family is blessed to still have my grandmother, who recently turned the young age of 101.

Being raised by a single mother is difficult. My mommy worked three jobs for a time, one of which was as a high school teacher. I never understood, at the time, the sacrifices my mommy made for the good of her two sons. In fact, her selflessness and bravery were invisible to me.

I had a lot of misplaced anger when I was younger; I was angry with my mommy for not being around as much as I wanted her to be. This later would change when she taught at my high school. I never would have admitted this then, but I would not have made it through such a ruthless landscape without her at school every day with me. Her office was like a panic room for all of my teenage issues.

Continue reading “Our Family is a Team: A Single Mother’s Son Reflects.”

14 Lies Single Mothers Hear About Marriage.

A single mother’s ears are always burning. People just can’t seem to resist talking about us. I wrote about the tendency society has to talk about — not to — unmarried mothers for The Atlantic last weekend (and if you haven’t already, take a minute to bookmark The Atlantic’s Sexes channel, where our article appeared. It’s great!), but what I didn’t say is that we aren’t completely ignored when talk of marriage emerges. Sometimes, people do, in fact, address us directly. And when they do, it’s hard to believe some of the things that come up.

Here are a few of the untruths and half-truths we single mothers are often told about marriage. (If you’ve heard one we haven’t mentioned, feel free to add your own in our comments section.)

1. If he left, he never loved you.

We get this one a lot — and if someone believes this, there’s little you can say to convince them otherwise. Fortunately, you don’t have to. Loving and leaving are not mutually exclusive. The former isn’t always enough to prevent the latter. As painful as it is to have someone walk away from a relationship — especially after children — the last thing you need to feel is pressure to defend yourself as lovable.

2. If he’d married you, he wouldn’t have left so easily/quickly/cavalierly.

Not only does this comment assume your partner left “easily,” it also presumes that marrying a person who would be inclined to leave at all would somehow change his core personality. Legally, marriage makes dissolving a romantic partnership more difficult. But it doesn’t prevent a partner from walking away, especially if he would consider a child, a hardship, or an emotional trigger as a reason to do so.

3. If you’ve been married before, you’re not “really” a single mother.

Women from various backgrounds and with a number of different relationship statuses identify as single. Divorced women are among them. In some cases, they are the sole or primary caregivers and providers for their children.

Continue reading “14 Lies Single Mothers Hear About Marriage.”

From Woman to Pit Bull and Back Again: Overcoming Post-Divorce Bitterness.

I became a baby mother by default or maybe because I am my single mother’s child. I was married for seven years before the marriage failed and I filed for divorce. I felt that the marriage was so volatile that it would only produce unbalanced children. I did everything everyone else said to do to […]