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The rise of single motherhood

A mother talks on her cell phone.
A mother talks on her cell phone.

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One of the oldest debates in our society is the fight between those who champion the traditional parenting unit of a mother and father, and those who defend the single mother. Numerous statistics and studies have been made on both sides to support each viewpoint. However, as time marches on and society continues to abandon traditional principles such as marriage and the dutiful housewife, more and more women are becoming single mothers.

Yes, it is often the case that these women are forced into that position, whether by feckless fathers, lack of access to alternatives or socioeconomic access, but more of them are simply choosing to become single mothers because they do not wish to get married, but still want kids. Single-motherhood may no longer be a niche alternative to traditional families, it could become the new normal.

In fact, a 2012 study from research group Child Trends shows that more that of all the births for women under 30, over half of them were single mothers. This also comes on the heels of last year’s presidential election, which saw single women exercise their growing political power by pushing Barack Obama over Mitt Romney. If trends continue, then one day society will have to adapt to the unique needs of a single mother’s lifestyle.

What changes should be made in public education and the workplace to accommodate this new model of motherhood? Should the government start aggressively pursuing daycare options for working moms? What about mothers who moved close to home for help from their families? Will they start embarking on their own with their brood, given the right conditions? Are you a single mother? What developments would you like to see, whether on the large or small scale? 


Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, contributing editor for the Newsweek Daily Beast and author of "The Dressmaker of Khair Khana"