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Single moms do it all ... alone

Maya Rhodan | 6/7/2013, 12:17 p.m.

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – When Feona Huff, 38, was growing up, she pictured her ideal family.

“I always had the dream of having the husband, the dog, the house with a wrap-around porch,” Huff said. “Growing up in the church, I knew the importance of a strong family.”

Although she grew up seeing her grandparents thrive in a happy, fulfilling relationship, her dream never became a reality for Feona. When she became pregnant with her daughter at 25, she checked into the idea of being a mother and wife and her then-boyfriend checked out.

“I chose to be an active and involved parent from the time I was pregnant, he chose not to be as active,” Huff said. “It’s not like I said ‘I want to become a single mom and endure the struggles of being a single parent.’”

The Hampton Roads, Va., resident, however, is doing just that. She’s rearing her two kids, a daughter, 13, and son, 10, by herself.

Huff said although she’s “always busy” and “rarely sleeps” – going everywhere from track practice, to beauty pageants, to church events on any given day – she’s blessed to have her children.

“Not everyone is equipped to become a single parent,” Huff said. “I love my children. I know God gave them to me for a reason.”

Once a societal taboo, single-parenthood isn’t as rare as it has been in the past. In fact, 41 percent of all births in 2010 were to unmarried women.

A staggering 73 percent of Black babies were born to unmarried women in 2010.

Despite the normality of single-motherhood, a recent Pew Research Center analysis suggests the majority of Americans consider it a “big problem.” It states that 64 percent of all Americans have negative views of single-motherhood, including 56 percent of non-White Americans.

There are a lot of statistics that show single-parenthood isn’t the ideal situation for a child. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children born to unmarried women have a greater risk of dying in infancy and living in poverty than babies born to married women.

According to a report by Legal Momentum, a women’s legal defense and education fund, single parents in America are more likely to be low-wage workers and less likely to have health insurance for themselves and their children.

“Single parenthood is a double-edged sword,” said Chawn Jackson, 44, a single mom from Prince George’s County in Maryland. “I think there’s some validity to the statement that it’s bad.”

Jackson divorced when her now 10-year-old daughter was just three months old, and has been rearing her daughter on her own since she and her ex-husband split.

Like most single-mothers, and 40 percent of all households with children under 18 according to the Pew report, Jackson has been the primary financial provider for her daughter since birth. Of that 40 percent, 5.1 million are married women who make more than their husbands. About 8.6 million are single mothers.

According to Pew, the married mothers – who are disproportionately older and White, have a median income of $80,000, nearly four times the amount of single-mother-led households, which are disproportionately minority and young.