Essay on Networking among Single Parents
When I was in elementary school, my mother had to work at three different jobs in order to provide for all of us. When a single parent must work for low wages, the eldest siblings must share in the work of parenting. My older sister took on a great deal of responsibility as she became a key player in raising the other children. My mother was working more than 70 hours each week when I was in the third and fourth grades, and my older sister spent much time attending to my needs and the needs of my two brothers. Even though my mother was working so many hours, she was not able to earn enough money for us to live comfortably. She continued to struggle throughout much of my childhood. The problem in question consists of circumstances that make life difficult for single parents: more expenses than one can reasonably be expected to cover on a single income, and an insufficient amount of time to attend to all responsibilities.
I remember my mother talking about her struggles to her sister, my aunt Theresa, who lived almost two hours away when I was growing up. The two of them had been close when they were young, only two years apart, but their lives had drifted apart when they got married. Both of them eventually divorced their husbands and both became single mothers. Several times throughout my childhood, family gatherings would take place involving my siblings and cousins. My aunt and my mother brought all of the children together, and everyone had a great time. When I got older, it occurred to me that my mother and my aunt had many of the same problems. Perhaps, they should have moved closer to one another and networked with one another in order to achieve greater financial efficiency.
I realize now that a large part of my mother's problem was that her four children required too much food, living space, and individual attention for her to provide while working so many jobs. Without so many children, my mom could have had a room mate or two, who would share the living expenses. I believe that the solution to the problems associated with being a single parent is to network with other single parents. Babysitting one another's children, coordinating work schedules, and perhaps even sharing a large apartment, my mother and her sister could have eased each other's burdens.
Networking among single parents is a way to relieve some of the pressure associated with parenthood and work life, but it is not a perfect solution. For single parents, no perfect solution for budgeting time and money even exists! It is impossible, because parenthood is too much work for one individual -especially in my mother's case, because she had four children. However, the two main sources of adversity for single parents, a shortage of time and a shortage of money, can be lessened through networking with one another. When single parents work together to meet the needs of their children, they are more likely to succeed.
Networking parents can provide encouragement and support to one another during difficult times associated with parenthood. Additionally, they are more likely to enjoy meaningful experiences with the children. Taking turns to watch the children, the parents can spend quality time with the children as they grow up. Based on my experiences as a child of a single parent and my memories of times when either my mother or my aunt would watch all of the children during family get-togethers, I believe that the way to cope with the pressures of being a single parent is to network with other single parents.