Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What Ever Happened to the Village?

Remember the village it takes to raise a child, with everyone willing to help, support and sustain each other? Guess that's just talk. Maybe I shouldn’t post this right now since I’m emotional and I don’t have time to expound on my thoughts. Probably some of you have heard about this report on MSNBC.

"Gay families more accepted than single moms 
Pew study find Americans are split evenly overall on accepting 'non-traditional families' but disparage single moms”

Really? Disparage? In case you aren’t sure what disparage means, here are some definitions from online.

Disparage: to lower in rank or reputation, to depreciate by indirect means (as invidious comparison), speak slightingly about, express a negative opinion of, insult, ridicule

There is part of the study that I think is good and I do agree with: “a third (Rejectors) consider non-traditional arrangements to be damaging to the country’s social fabric”. Yes, the destruction of families creates difficulties for the adults and for the children in that family, but also is destructive to society. There have been books written on this subject.

“[These consequences] are not only to be expected, they are virtually inevitable. What we sowed we now reap. If you want the truth in all of this, it is that the law of the harvest cannot be repealed. The law of the harvest is the same in every historical period, in every nation, in every culture. . . . That society that sows the wind will reap the whirlwind. We are reaping the whirlwind of family destruction."
Elder Alexander B. Morrison of the Seventy, Utah North Area president, May 2, 1997 (at the annual convention of the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists)

I just wrote about The Family: A Proclamation to the World in a post recently. “The family is ordained of God.” I do believe that children deserve to have a father and mother in their home. If that is what the people are expressing in the study, I agree. Since the questions are not included in the study, we cannot know what the opinions really are. Were they asked if single women should be allowed to adopt? Or if it they thought it was acceptable for single women to have children outside of marriage? Or something else?

“While 98 percent of Acceptors think there’s nothing wrong with women raising their children alone, 99 percent of Skeptics and 98 percent of Rejectors believe that’s bad for society. (The survey only asked about single mothers, not single fathers.)”

BUT the byline actually says Americans “disparage single moms”. That leads me to believe that there were questions that asked about how people VIEW single mothers. If that is true, it’s very sad.
Since becoming a single mother, a few of my divorced friends who are mothers have confided in me even more about their feelings. Unfortunately, a couple of my other friends have since become single mothers (against their will/desire) also. I am grateful to be there for them and have someone to talk to when I need it. We check on each other since this is such a roller coaster ride. One day is good and the next day a train wreck for no reason. I’m sure most people understand that it is a difficult circumstance to be in, but no one can understand the depths of loneliness and despair that most of us experience unless you have been there.

Friends who were friends with you and your ex-spouse don’t want to take sides or don’t know what to say, so they stop calling or inviting you to do things. You no longer have a spouse to talk to your friend’s husband so you aren’t invited to dinner with your family and theirs. Just when you feel lonelier than you ever have, some people stay away. I am so grateful for the friends I have that have helped me by listening and by calling or texting just to ask how I am. I have been blessed with a family (parents, brothers, sisters, and their spouses) who love and support me and accept me.

I really believe that despite the byline, many people do not look down on single mothers in general. But it is still very hard for me to accept and to tell others. I am still embarrassed to say that I am divorced, let alone that I’m a single mother. I already felt that some people (not everyone, I know) judged me and now with this headline, I’m not feeling better about it.

Most of us single mothers aren’t single mothers because we aspired to be or even chose to be. Many of the single women I know work many hours when they would love to be a stay-at-home mother, nurturing and rearing their children, but that choice was taken away from them. A couple of my friends have two jobs to be able to support their children when the fathers chose not to. Thankfully that isn’t always the case. They cook, clean, help children with homework, do all the daily tasks married mothers do, but they do them alone. They love their children and juggle their schedule so they can see their children in school plays or attend sports games. Most want the blessing that many others enjoy of a loving companion. Instead of disparaging, step up and offer a listening ear or lend a hand. Be a friend. Stop judging.


  1. Valerie, you are so right!! I wish it weren't so, but I felt that many, many times over the years when I was single. What type of message do we send to women who need our love and support, when we don't visit them, don't invite them places, don't let them know how much they are loved. For me, the hardest thing was not having good home teachers. How do you think I felt when I did not see a home teacher in my home for five years, but a couple of weeks after I got married, I started having one come every month. I will not even begin to tell you all the other heart aches that I went through. Suffice it to say, it is a real problem and one we all need to be aware of. It does take a village to raise a child. And we need to be willing to be that village. Especially when the children have a single mom who is probably stretched way too thin!!

  2. Society/the world can be a very sad place on many many levels. The judgements, the misplaced values, the complete lack of knowing what is right or wrong. All are very disconcerting.
    I was raised by a single mom for many years in my life. It was hard. When we joined the church I do remember that members in the ward looked down on my mom and our family because she was a single mom - (yes IN THE CHURCH). It was hard to bear at times. But, there were those who were not that way and my mom held her head high and did what she needed to do - she went to work, she fed her kids, and she did her best. That is all anyone can do and we all turned out to be fine. She is also fine.
    Valerie you are one of the most spiritual, strong, together, loving, courageous women I know. I see how you put your feelings out there.
    I can see it is hard for you but you never flounder in your beliefs, you work hard, you are an AWESOME mother and you are succeeding! So do not listen to or dwell on the word "Disparage" - not everyone thinks that way. I Admire you!!


  3. Wow, disparage is a harsh word. You work so hard that I can't imagine anyone feeling that way about you. I'm sorry some of your friends left you but am glad you were able to find true friends.

  4. WOW! That is a HORRIBLE and UNBELIEVEABLE statistic! I'm so sorry about what you are going through, and will be adding single mom's to my prayers; thank you for telling me about it. I have a single mom friend who I have been wanting to get together with; I think I'll finally get around to inviting her and her family over!!!!

    And, I want you to know that you single mothers have A LOT to offer. I do not disparage you... I respect you for your determination to live the gospel daily, and do not only all that a woman normally does, but also all that the Priesthood do as well. YOU ARE AMAZING! I'm not just saying that. I struggled for years to find balance in my home, then one day at a stake conference, a single mom spoke, and with her juggling skills which only a single mom can understand - she taught the rest of us how to manage our time and put the gospel FIRST in our lives. I AM NOT KIDDING YOU. At the time, my husband and I had had stress over our lifestyle/time management differences for as long as we had been married - then she turned the light bulb on in our heads, and out of that talk, we examined our schedules together and over the next few years, we applied what SHE taught us that day; and it has made ALL the difference in our marriage and family life.

    Everyone goes through their own struggles. And we each gain something from them that we could gain in no other way. I'm so thankful to that single mom, who learned so much because of her situation (what may have taken me years to learn) for having such a positive attitude, and sharing what she learned with the rest of us; I have had deep respect for such faithful, diligent, single mothers ever since, and I knew the instant I "met" you - through your blog - that YOU are such a woman!

    Keep your chin up; you're doing GREAT! :D

  5. Wow... the post bought tears to my eyes. I saw that study too. I can't believe that people feel that way about single moms! It makes me very sad. I cannot imagine doing everything alone, without the support of a loving spouse. It takes incredible strength, courage and perserverence. I admire you for the faith you've shown! Remember that there are lots of people who love you... even if we don't get around to visitng much! we love you tons!!!!

  6. I guess I don't care what society thinks about me. I feel as though my ex-husband died. What do you think Pioneer women did when their husbands went off to a mission or to war or died along the journey. Did they give up? No! They moved forward with steadfastness in Christ. I don't believe they thought they were less then families that had husbands. They were still a family and they did everything to stay together, provide, be strong and take care of each other.

    There are many women today who's husbands die in the many wars going on - or in an accident. They are not less in this society.

    I know you are hurting. You need to grieve the death of your marriage and your husband. You can't control the decisions he made. AND from those decisions that doesn't make you less to the society either. You are a wonderful mother and you will be fine. It will take time for you to grieve and re-group.

    This scripture helps me all the time: Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee. Joshua 1:9

    I know what the proclamation to the family says. But...you can't control your ex-husband. You can't stop living and being the best mother EVER - because of the bad choices your ex made. Don't listen to society or gossip mongers. It's not worth it.

    (I always think to myself): I am a pioneer woman whose husband has passed away and I will be fine. So will you. It takes time... But you will persevere - you must. I also don't think our Prophet or Apostles condemn us - they want the best for us. I don't think that because I divorced that I should be shunned or not have all the blessings waiting for me.

    You will be fine! Your family will get through this - stronger. Give it some time. It's okay to grieve - it took me years. But I made it through it and you will too. You don't need a man to make you complete. You just need your children and the gospel. Everything will turn out fine. I promise.

  7. Such good comments above.
    I wish I could give you a big hug.
    You are so awesome.. and I know Heavenly Father is so proud of you for all that you are doing to teach your children.. and provide for them..
    Love you much.

  8. Wow, what an experience. Sadly, we live in a world with very faulty people (myself included!!). There are times when I wonder to myself why the Lord chose a certain path for me and a certain path for someone else...and I'm not sure as though I'll ever know. What I DO know is that He led me to it, and He will lead me through it...as colloquial as that sounds. I don't personally understand your trials, but I know there are many spectacular single parents out there who do a great job raising their children and finding themselves again after having lost their identity in a scrambled marriage. Stay strong, stay focused. YOU are amazing and the Lord has blessing innumerable for those who make it through holding to the rod.

  9. Ouch, I can sure see how that article can really strike at your heart! Thank you for sharing so openly how difficult it has been and continues to be - it teaches me. While I can't fully understand the loneliness or despair you feel I am sure able to gain a greater appreciation for YOU and the person you are.

    {{{sending hugs}}}

  10. :( So bummed about this.
    My BFF and an alarming number of friends of mine are divorced. I don't know every story and what all the issues were with each of them or you, but I find myself thinking first how Satan sure has a way of messing thing up with men. (I always blame it on the men without even really knowing what has happened, but so many that I do actually know it is. Anyway, that's not the point--the point is really that every single mom I know is amazing and fantastic and truly blessed and so much better at the whole motherhood thing that I could ever be.
    I have a deep respect for you and all the single women/mothers I know. I will take into consideration more how I treat them.

  11. I am so sorry that happens. It is cruel.

    You, my friend are amazing and I know Heavenly Father is aware of you and the needs that y ou have,

  12. I'm so sorry for what you go through as a single mom. One of my best friends just recently got a divorce. Yes, some days are terrible, and others better. And it is awkward for her to visit my family, when all the time we, the adults, keep thinking of past years, when her now ex-husband came along too. But I feel privileged to be her friend. She's so strong, and such a good mother. Hang in there, Valerie. I admire single mothers for all they do. My husband works out of town for months at a time, and though I don't want to compare my experience with yours, I have glimpsed a little of what it feels like to have all the responsibility of being the only parent at home. May the Lord bless you and your children. He doesn't judge. {{{HUGS}}}

  13. As far as the challenges of being a single mother go, I feel like you just spoke my heart.

  14. Thank you for the honesty of your posts -- my mom became single when I was about 12, but I don't think I could even begin to understand what she went through until I got married. And reading posts like yours helps me understand on another level. Thank you for your honesty.


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