Slate ran an article a few days ago that I found bothersome. The title alone is off-putting, "It's Better to be Raised by a Single Mom." First off, I can't imagine being a father, single or married and reading that title. What's the message, good enough to donate sperm and child-support, not good enough to play a parental role?
The author states, "No single mom wants to fail them--provide less, teach less, support less, be less--but it is in our minds that we might. So we struggle, and over the long term, we impart to our children that struggle can be good. This is something they know intimately."
I'm sorry but I'm of the opinion that no child should know struggle intimately. Our job as a parent is not to share our struggles with our children but to protect our children from our struggles. In best case scenarios we protect our children, not openly choose to expose them to struggle. And we don't live the delusional belief that exposing them was and is good for them.
Studies like Professor Sara McLanahan's ongoing Fragile Families and Paul R. Amato's 2005 paper on changing family structures point out the importance of an intact family to children. Children exposed to a divorce and raised in single family households experience higher levels of instability in all areas of life. Those are the facts, not a criticism of single mothers but the facts of what happens to children when a stable family fractures.
Single mothers are feeling condemned and publications like Slate are giving them a voice and in doing so romanticizing a situation that is anything but ideal for children. It isn't better to be raised by a single mother or, father for that matter. It is best for our children to be raised by two parents in a stable environment in which they flourish emotionally, physically and intellectually.
McLanahan and Amato didn't do studies with the intent of blaming single mothers. They did studies and shared the results as a way of distributing information. It is our job as parents to take that information, incorporate it into our lives and, live in a way that best serves our children.
It is not our job as parents to take the information and twist it to mean something it doesn't. To become defensive and self-focused, to start arguing the opposite because you feel slighted is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater...literally. Us single mothers aren't the focus of the study. The focus is children, as mothers we owe it to our children to take the information shared in the studies and use it to do our best for our children.
Although I wasn't able to do so myself I suggest, if you are considering become a parent based on the study you owe it to a child to not bring him/her into the world until you are in a loving, stable relationship or marriage and willing to work your ass off to keep that relationship or marriage together. For the sake of your child!