Over 50 years ago our country was jammed pack full of single moms. Families were left without a father, due to the war. Thousands of women were left supporting their children alone. The community and government worked together to help support these families, neighbour cared for neighbour and organizations were started to help the children, such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Canada.
Today, single moms again are on the rise. Some are women who have been separated or divorced, some are widows, some are teen moms, some are single moms "by choice" and some are single-grandmas. Their ages range from teenagers to women in their sixties and up. Today, the average single mom is working full time. is educated and is 35-45 years old. Some women are married and feel like single moms.
Here are some more facts:
"One in eight Canadian children live in a family headed by a single mother - in general this is a high-risk, high-needs population."
Financial difficulty and stress are two of the biggest hurdles affecting single moms today. Single moms adopt for themselves many unhealthy practices and stressful compromises in order to provide better for their children. These are women at risk.
Single Moms are vulnerable, struggling with issues such as poverty, poor health, depression, family stress and homelessness. Their chidren are at increased risk of emotional and behavioral problems, academic failure and social difficulties."
Dr. Ellen L. Lipman, McMaster University
"Almost half of all Canadian single-parent families live at or below the poverty line. Since poverty and illness are inherently linked, it is unsurprising that single mothers suffer more frequently from illness, experience greater disability and report a lower overall quality of life than married mothers."
"While single mothers suffer disproportionately from depression, society also pays the price through lost productivity, health-care costs or harms to families. Beyond this, in a just society, a group defined simply by marital status or family type should not be placed at increased risk of illness through social and economic disadvantage. "
"In Burlington, 25% of single mothers with children live at or below the low-income level. These are largely women between 35 and 45 who did not expect to be left with their children."
Dr. Joey Edwardh, Executive Director, Community Development Halton
"Compared with mothers in 2-parent families, single mothers experience higher levels of depression and family stress. Many of these women do not get help because services are unavailable, inaccessible or too expensive."
"More than 41% of Ontario children living in poverty have one parent working full-time, full year."
Dr. Joey Edwardh, Executive Director, Community Development Halton
"Such statistics do not mean single mothers are worse parents, rather they suggest that single mothers have a tough job juggling their responsibilities at work and home and have fewer resources than traditional families."
Carolyne Gorlick, Social Policy Professor at the University of Western Ontario
From article "Children in Single-Mom Householdss "At Risk"
"Many children are living in poverty with their mothers. Single mothers have to take care of their children most of the time, take them to school or to child care facilities if they work outside their homes; they must go to work, go shopping, maybe they too go to school."
"Single mothers’ and their children’s lives depend profoundly on a sound social and urban policy that welcomes them to the city. For them is important to increase social housing programs, to have cheaper urban transportation, and to expand child-care facilities to enable them to live a life with dignity and self-respect."
"I don't know who to talk to...every time I try to better myself to raise my three kids on my own an obstacle gets in my way. This is the hardest thing I have had to do! After 20 years of marriage he decides he doesn't want to do it any more and left. me and our children."
I've never attended a meeting, but I wondered if there is any sort of one-on-one support available? I'm a single mom to a 22 month old boy and it's been a tough road since the beginning. Unfortunately, in the last couple of months it has gotten especially bad and I'm not coping very well. Sometimes it's so bad, I feel as though I should put my child up for adoption because I am not going to survive another 16+ years. I love him dearly, but I feel as though I am failing him. It's only going to get harder once he is old enough to ask about "Daddy" and then there will be a whole new bag of issues to deal with."
"After three years of being separated, as a single mom, I still feel lost and lonely. I need answers to why I made the biggest decision of my life, leaving an unsafe marriage, just to feel less of a person. There must be more out there. I need tools to continue on and I need to find some way to be proud of myself."
"I am finding my separation so very hard to get through. I cannot believe this is happening to me! I so desperately want to connect with other women who are currently going through this or have been through similar situations. I really just need someone to talk to, someone who knows what I am going through."
"Although I am not yet a single mom, I have been going through tumultuous times with my husband. I know that I've had enough and have began the process of seeking legal and financial advice. When I saw this article I was so relieved to see that there will be some support for me! The process of ending my marriage after 13 years is scary. I am afraid of having to sell my house and move my children. Its a relief to know there's a support for me from others who have already been through this stress. Just wanted to say "thanks" and let you know that I will definitely be using your group for support in the near future."
"I applaud you for what you are doing. I am a single mom to a 3 year old and have been separated for almost 2 years. The court process and harrassment from my former partner sometimes takes its toll."
"I read the Burlington Post article about launching a support group for single moms in Burlington. There is so much that can and should be done, on much more than a Burlington scale. I have never felt so beaten up by life, and so indescribably lonely as I am here and now. The real problems come when life despite of our biggest efforts gives us disappointments again and again and when other people aren't there for us. Phone calls from friends and neighbours waving their hands to us from across the street are not enough. Much more is needed. Single Moms, you are not alone in feeling a need of support, there are so many of us and it is good that some of us at least try to reach to one another."
"Congratulations! I read the article in the Burlington post today about your new support group. I raised my son as a single mom since he was 4 and he is now 18. I hope that you and your organization can help to shed some of the stigma that single mothers face. Good luck, all the best to you and your new organization!"