-“Doctor, why should people assume that we’re not a good family?”
Bruna X. is an entrepreneurial immigrant from Brazil who, after being abandoned by her husband two years ago, has been able to raise her two children with the profits of a cafeteria and her mother’s help. She gets mad every time that anybody questions that there is not “a man in the house.”
If we have to choose a word to define the experience of single parenting it would be “isolation”. The single parent (the great majority are women, but increasing number of men as well) is effectively isolated from the mainstream message that promotes the dire need for an integrated family. Single parents are isolated from their family members, from their coworkers, from their friends, from the casual contacts that make life worth living.
Raising children alone takes a great commitment of time and financial efforts, especially in a modern society that has not a full safety net like the USA. Even in the ideal case of Nordic European societies, with great benefits and good state supervision, single parents may ultimately lack the social and family support that a traditional family enjoys, and usually takes for granted.
Child rearing means being always attentive at all their minor and major developments to share with the “significant others” in our lives. The sole company of a small child and the lack of adult conversation are two alienating factors for thousands of modern women (and a few men as well). To make matters worse, oftentimes these individuals are separated from their close family members who disagree with their atypical lifestyle choices.
Our society provides tons of reading material and media discussions about self-parenting but not an iota of understanding for flexible work and holiday schedules that are in fact mandatory to raise healthy children. We talk too much and do too little to extend a helping hand to these parents. As a result the self-esteem, and ultimate social worthiness, of them suffer. Perhaps the increasing role of women in positions of power will change it.
What do you think? Please tell us.
Don’t leave me alone.