West Lafayette, Ind. (Ivanhoe Newswire)—In the United States, almost one in four moms are taking on the challenge of raising kids alone as a single parent. COVID-19 and the social distancing that’s required to keep families healthy during the pandemic may be putting added strain on single moms as access to their support systems diminish.
Eight-year-old Liliana Brewer plays alone and daily hugs from her grandmother have been reduced to a few minutes of FaceTime. School is a computer on her kitchen table. As Liliana said, “I’m missing my friends and my teacher.” Liliana’s not alone. Her mom Jessica misses her network too, and said she misses, “close family members, friends with kids, having someone else to be able to help you parent, to give you those breaks.”
Zoe Taylor, PhD, is a Developmental Family Scientist at Purdue University and a single mom. Taylor studies resilience in single parent families who are especially vulnerable to hardships. Taylor stated, “They have the emotional and often financial responsibility, without a lot of those supports.” She said there are over eight million single parents in the United States, and the COVID-19 pandemic is putting them at greater risk for depression and anxiety, which can affect how they parent. Her advice? Take care of your needs first, and a good rule of thumb is to always remember, “When you’re on an airplane, the directions are if you’re traveling with kids, you put your own oxygen mask on first.”
That way you’re better able to be warm and sensitive parents, fostering positive relationships with your kids, which can in turn buffer the kids from stressors.
For her part, Jessica Joya is giving herself and Liliana permission to not be perfect. As she said, “If you feed your kids cereal for two days in a row for dinner, you feed them cereal and just know it’s all going to be okay.”
Single moms can find additional resources at the site Empowering Solo Moms Everywhere at https://esme.com.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer and Field Producer, Kirk Manson, Videographer, Roque Correa, Editor
Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation