Should Moms Be Married?
I’m sure you’ve heard it all by now. From the infamous NYC ads to just about every episode of Teen Mom, the word is out:
Young, single moms are a mess.
A recent article by the Washington Post discussed the trend of more and more couples who are delaying marriage—with the consequence that more often than not, a baby carriage still arrives. Hey, you’ve seen Jurassic Park, right? Nature always finds a way.
In the United States, almost half of all pregnancies are to unmarried mothers. And although I managed to avoid the statistic by getting married just four months shy of my due date, I definitely fell squarely into the carriage before marriage camp. And I struggled a long time—in fact, I still struggle—with wondering if I was somehow “less” of a mother because of it.
Apparently The Los Angeles Times thinks unmarried moms are messing things up. “Regardless of what you think about the morality of this,” wrote one reporter, “There are data that suggest children born to unmarried parents are at several disadvantages compared with their peers with married parents.”
The gamut of negative effects from being born to – or being – an unmarried mother runs from everything from increased risk of poverty, low levels of education, to substance and drug abuse.
The odds seem to be stacked against single moms, especially young mothers.
But I’m sorry, I refuse to believe the statistics.
There is nothing about being a young or unmarried mother that somehow makes you “less” of a mother or a bad mother. I have been working as a young mom advocate since those first two blue lines appeared for me during college and I’ve interviewed countless mothers, both unmarried and married, for my book and my website series Your Lines.
And do you know what they all have in common?
Each and every one of them is working incredibly hard to succeed in a society that doesn’t always value motherhood. Yes, the odds are stacked against single moms, because as a society, we don’t make it easy for working mothers and without partners to help out, it is a challenge.
But the moms?
The moms are inspiring, hard-working mothers who would do anything for their children. Instead of focusing on all the ways that single moms are failing or listing all the negative consequences of growing up in a single-parent household, how about we focus on ways to bridge the gap and support mothers?
So don’t tell me that being a young or unmarried mother makes you a bad mom.
Because I refuse to believe it.
Were you married when you became a mother? What are your thoughts on some of these articles mentioned above?
Image via Chaunie Brusie