Can We Stop Shaming Single Moms?


“Let’s stop shaming single moms.” Recently, I was in a conversation about women and motherhood.

We ended up talking about how more children are brought up in single-mother households vs. single-father homes and how society, in general, treats single mothers.  

Later, I came across an update by Abi Akinola about single moms.

stop shaming single moms

Abi has guest-posted before, and I always love her practical, common-sense approach to topics that people like to complicate. I asked her if I could share her commentary here because I think it’s such an important convo we need to keep having.

Here’s Abi.

Can we stop shaming single moms?

Two people came together to make that child/children. One immediately takes responsibility for the child while the other walks away – for whatever reason – emotionally, physically, or financially.

Yet we shame the one that stayed—usually the mom.

I went for a program a few years ago. Someone stood up to make a comment, and she said something about how all the problems with delinquent children in the UK are because of single moms. Read More 10 Things Christians Need to Know About Destructive Marriages

I remember thinking, “Yikes, I’m going to be a single mom soon too. Is this how people will look at me and my kids? Like there’s something wrong/broken in us??” Needless to say, the statement left a very bad taste in my mouth. Six years or so later, I haven’t forgotten.

The irony in all of this is that MANY women in marriages are practically single moms, too. They raise the kids alone. Dad does zilch around the house or with the kids.

When dad is home, he’s on his computer all day, or doing his own stuff/hobbies. Does nothing with the children. Children barely know him. They know they have a dad; they see him go in and out of the house, but they don’t actually know him.

Why shame single moms, though? They stepped up to the plate and are raising their kids alone. They should be praised for their courage. The people that need shaming are the deadbeat dads.

Single Fathers

Yes, I know a minority of men raise their kids alone. They are a minority.

And when this happens (dads raising their kids), people ooh and aah and say what a wonderful man he is even though he’s a single dad: When it is a woman in the same situation, everyone’s upset about her single mom status.

“30 years of research shows that divorce is actually good for kids (on average) where the home has physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, high distress, or high conflict.” Source.

Stop shaming single moms. Leave single moms alone” is what I would like everybody to do. Stop harping on single moms. They’re trying their best with the hand life has dealt them. And most of them raise wonderful, well-adjusted, kind, and empathetic children.

lets stop shaming single moms

Some of the monsters women married and had to divorce came from “two parent families.” Let that sink in for a bit.

(Ngina here. Kids don’t turn out better if they stay in a two-parent home where abuse is present vs if a parent obtains a life-saving divorce. A life-saving divorce where abuse is present is good, long term, for kids. In other words, simply coming from a “two parent home” doesn’t guarantee an individual will make a healthy partner later in life. A lot more goes into becoming a healthy, well-adjusted individual than simply growing up with two parents who stayed together. Two healthy parents are good for kids. Where abuse is present, a life-saving divorce is best for kids.)

One healthy parent and a safe home will always be better for children than a home where one of the adults is dysfunctional and there is abuse of any kind. If you must shame anyone, shame the absentee dad.


Thanks, Abi!

Let’s chat in the comments: What would you add? If you’re a single mom or grew up in a single-mom household, what’s the one thing people misunderstand about your experience, and what would you like them to know? 

  • If you’re in any type of danger, call an emergency hotline in your country.
  • Canada: 800.799.SAFE (7233).
  • United States: 1-800-621-HOPE (4673).
  • United Kingdom: 08 08 16 89 111.
  • Australia: 1800 015 188.
  • New Zealand: 0800 456 450.
  • Kenya: 0-800-720-072.
  • Nigeria: 0800 033 3333.
  • South Africa: 0800 428 428. 


The Research/Analysis:

“There is a belief that children need two married biological parents in the home to turn out well. And supporters of this belief may even say that children need a father—any father—in the home, meaning that any two-parent married home is always better than a single parent home. But that’s not true. A lot depends on how emotionally healthy or destructive each parent is. A good father is wonderful for kids. But a bad father is not, in fact, he’s destructive.” Bad Fathers Are Bad for Kids. Two-Parent Married Homes Aren’t Always Best per the Jaffee Study (The Research )

“For the past 25 years, researchers have known that growing up in a very high-tension married home is destructive to the kids—worse than being raised by a single parent. These bad marriages have real, long-term negative effects on kids’ emotional well-being. Researchers compared the outcomes of two groups of adults who were brought up in destructive homes: those whose parents divorced versus those whose parents who stayed. They discovered that the kids whose parents divorced had much better well-being on average.” Is it Always Best to “Stay for the Kids”? No, Not If the Home is Toxic

Courage book by Ngina Otiende

About Abi: Abi Akinola is a Writer, Entrepreneur, Itinerant Preacher, and Instigator of Belly Laughs. You can connect with her on Facebook.

One Comment

  1. Thank you for this commentary! I’m a single mother currently, but even before my divorce I noticed men are often praised for the slightest bit of effort or responsibility. For example, if a mother made a child a peanut butter sandwich, the mother would be criticized for being a lazy parent. If the father made a peanut butter sandwich, he is an “awesome dad” and “so cute!” It’s strange and wrong.

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