I ran across this comic which gets at the sense that kids growing up in single-parent homes may have about their “differentness”. Whether or not the author intended to, he also alludes to the feelings of inadequacy – and often guilt – those same parents may have about not being the perfect parents they see (or think they see) in the families around them.
When you raise children on your own, whether as a result of divorce, death of a partner, or choice, it is often like juggling with one hand. Just getting everyone organized and out the door in the morning should be a self-congratulatory moment.
Because of this, things don’t always run as smoothly as we might want; homework doesn’t always get done, and meals may consist of whatever can get thrown together in the fastest possible time.
Over a decade ago, I wrote an essay as part of a volume entitled Torah of the Mothers, in which I discussed the responsibility of the community to children in single-mother homes. Looking around, I see that there have been many inmprovements since the time I wrote my essay – more awareness and more community resources available.
However, the comic reminds us that as a collective, we need to be sensitive to the ways in which children may lead lives that are different from many of their peers. It’s a problem I often encounter with social workers writing reports to the courts; they often judge the functional parenting of the mothers as if there are two parents in the home, failing to make allowances for juggling with one hand.