Single mothers in poverty is always the stereotype. And to tell you the truth I HATE THAT stereotype. Let’s me introduce myself. My name is Sophia or Dr. Reed. I am a single mother. I have three degrees and I am NOT living in poverty. You can read my full single mother story here, but despite what people think, I do not have a trail of children that I cannot take care of trailing behind me (someone actually asked me that when they found out I was a single mother).
And even if you do have a trail of children, then hey it is what it is. What I want to impress upon you that single mother in poverty does not have to be your single mother story. In fact from single mother to single mother I do NOT want it to be your single mother story. I never want any single mother to feel as though they have to be the victim of their situation and that because they are a single mother they are destined to struggle, fail, and live a life of poverty.
If you think that your life supposed to be all struggle and hardship then you are living in a poverty mindset (click my blog here to read more). As a Christian, I think we all go through hard time, I have had my fair share of hard times. But never in a million years do I think that hard times is where I should settle and hard times is where I am supposed to stay forever. Single mother or no.
Before I get into my ways in which you do not have to be one of those single mothers in poverty I want to share something with you. I wrote about Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath in my single mothers in the Bible you have to know post (click here to read).
In that post I talked about when I lost my job some years back and I had no money, was struggling, and of course I got no child support. In any case I remember feeling like this widow.
“I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” 1 Kings 17:12
Now this is true poverty. There was no food stamps, no Medicaid, no public housing, no anything. The only thing that would happen was that if she could not come up with the food then her and her son will die. Make a long story short, they did not die. God provided food for the widow and her son until the famine ended.
Now I am going to make a point here for single mothers in poverty that some of you are NOT going to like. When I first lost my job, I tried to apply for public assistance in which I was denied. At the time I had a Master’s degree and they were telling me basically I was not doing BAD enough to get help.
What I have come to learn about the system is that the system is not made to help you, but to hurt you. What the welfare system does is it tells you if you are doing SO bad then yes we will help you, but when you do better even if you are not doing well enough to help yourself our assistance stops. And as a results a lot of single mothers, tend to stay down and continue to accept help from the system because when they start to do well, their food stamps decrease and they lose benefits.
Some people’s feeling may be hurt by what I am going to say but often times you cannot rely on the system and/or other people to pick you up. Like the widow in the Bible AND like myself who got no help from food stamps all I had was God. And in that moment of desperation I sought to set myself up in a way that I would NEVER have to depend on anyone and I took responsibility for myself and my son. And when I determine that it was me and God that help the power to change my situation. I realized that sky was the limit. Unlike the system who will put you on limits, there are no limits with God.
As a black single mother. I never came from a bad home or background or anything like that. I never lived in poverty and was always upper middle class. I say that because I am also a product of a black single mother. Who had me at 19 years old. Who is now retired military and is in her second career. Who has a Master degree.
And here I am another single mother, who has a PhD Degree. What I am trying to impart to you is that you should not judge single mothers and you should not allow yourself to be judged as a single mother. It is not our faults that our children’s fathers decided not to be there for us and our children. And it is not an excuse for you as a single mother to sit in poverty and blame what is not being done for you, what your children’s father did, how you are alone, and a thousand other reasons on why you are suffering. You have to stop blaming other people for your problems (See my blog here), and start to fixing your own problems.
Single Mothers In Poverty And How To Fix It
Single Mothers In Poverty Can Go to school
I started my Master’s degree when my son was one years old. I did both my Master’s and PhD degree while I was a single mother. I am not telling you, you have to get a degree. But a degree does help to make your life more stable. It does help you in getting a good paying job. You can click here to read my blog on how to go back to school as a single mother.
Single Mothers In Poverty Can Get A Job
If you do not have a job as a single mother then you can get one. I know personally that finding child care for your child while working can be hard. But sometimes sacrifice is needed. Do you want to live in poverty or do you want to get out of poverty. I worked a full time job and attended graduate school. I keep putting myself as an example because it is possible. And if I did it as a single mom then I believe you can to.
The only thing not working, not making any money, and sitting at home with get you is more poverty. And even if you do not have a college education it is possible to make a decent income without it. You just have to put yourself out there and figure out how to do it. Check out my job on how to find a job and check out my blog on alternatives to college.
Single Mothers In Poverty Stop Making Excuses
As a single mother and as a mental health professional who worked with is single mothers and you would not believe the amount of excuses I hear. I cannot do this, I cannot do that, I expect this, I expect that. I am not one of those single mothers who wants to hear a bunch of reasons of why you cannot. Because what I do know is that people who want something bad enough will and do. No excuses needed (see my blog here).
Single Mothers In Poverty Be Proactive About your Family Planning
This may rub people the wrong way but since we are having a real conversation then I need to be real with my single mothers out there. I am a single mother of one child, because one child is all I can reasonably afford. I am also celibate (read my blog here). Not only for spiritual reasons but because I do not want another child that I have to provide for and cannot provide for.
Once again as someone who has worked with single mothers who live in poverty. One thing that I will never get. You have one child, raising your one child is hard and you are already struggling financially, then why continue to have children?
What I am getting at is if you are one of the single mothers in poverty having more children is not going to make your situation easier. You have to stop. Be proactive about your own family planning and choose to not have any more kids. It is not fair to the kids and it will not be fair to you as you are trying to pull yourself out of your own situation.
People often tell me that I am hard on people, but people also tell me that I want the best for people. And I do. I really do. If you are one of the single mothers in poverty and you feel judged or like I am coming down on you. Don’t feel that way. I do not even know you but I want the best for you, I want the best for your children, I want the best for your future husband is you decide to get married again. And I also know that if you want a really good man then you as a woman NEED to also be good and bring something to the table (click here to read my blog).
So I am saying that single mothers in poverty is not your purpose. You have a purpose, you have a calling, and having a life filled with misery, pain, and struggle is not a part of the plan. As in the Bible, people have always gone through hardship (read my blog here), but they did not stay there. Do not let your story be another single mother living in poverty. Do not be a stereotype.