Single Mothers Difficulties (Interview Paper Example)
The traditional image of a happy family implies the obligatory presence of a mother, a father, and children. For the vast majority of people, this family is traditional and desirable. However, life is diverse. These days, there are families that for various reasons do not include children or both parents at the same time. If parents decide to divorce, children are more likely to live with their mother. It explains the existence of so many single mothers. People pity and help them. Some people admire them while others condemn them. However, the real problems that single mothers face in the modern world are more complex. Violation of the structure and, therefore, the completeness of a functioning family entails the restriction and distortion of the personality of children. For the child to be fully developed it is paramount to have both male and female behavioral templates present in child’s environment from early childhood. In case a family has broken up and children stay with the mother, she should make every possible effort to raise her children. Many difficulties can occur though. There are especially many complications in the Arab countries where strict rules and traditions are still preserved. The purpose of the current paper is to study the difficulties that single mothers face and conduct interviews with four women of different social statuses and the financial situations regarding their problems as single mothers.
The Single Mothers Categories
A few decades ago, a woman deliberately choosing to become a single mother seemed unheard of. Nowadays, it is no longer a rarity. In the world, according to sociological surveys, about 30% of women give birth alone each year. There is an even greater percentage of women whose husbands leave the family later. In the book The Transforming Journey of Truth, Hope, and Love for Single Mothers, it is stated that “According to the 2010 survey, there appears to be over 14 million female households with children in the United States”. In the book The Social Economy of Single Motherhood, it is affirmed that “There is much written about how and why women become single mothers, and some scholarship about the relationships between single mothers and fathers of their children”. In urban environment, lines between male and female archetypes often get blurred, so many women might desire to become a parent despite not having a constant partner. As a rule, these are adult successful women that can provide for their children. Moreover, they are also ready to take responsibility for children’s well-being. These women do not need alimony or support of the state. They rely only on themselves.
Another category of women who are often left alone with children is young girls who have children too early without being prepared for this step. More often than not, they are yet unwed at the time of conception. Even if they are such marriages fall apart because of the unwanted pregnancy. This happens when a girl begins to experience adult life too fast and early. Nevertheless, she cannot take full responsibility for her actions. This situation often leads to early pregnancy.
Finally, the largest category includes single mothers who remained alone after divorce. Unfortunately, no one is safe from issues and frustration. When people create a family, they hope for the best. However, both people and values can change in the course of time. It is not important who the initiator of divorce. Whatever the reason, a child is deprived. These days, mothers often have to fulfill the father’s role in the upbringing of children.
Challenges The Single Mothers Can Face
Single mothers almost always need help. First of all, they require money. Despite the fact that most women have an opportunity to earn enough to support themselves and their children, most single mothers live very poorly. In the book Single Mothers in International Context, it is claimed that “Single mothers remain poor and face a double burden”. Nowadays, single mothers still face many financial problems. In the book 250 Personal Finance Questions for Single Mothers, it is stated that “Like it or not, a divorced, a widowed or not-yet-married or never married woman is a woman on her own – a woman forced to take responsibility of every aspect of her newly single life”. In such a way, in addition to psychological issues, a single mother has additional financial ones.
Society often creates more difficulties. First, a woman who brings up a child alone bears dual responsibility. Deliberately or not people put more stringent requirements on such a woman to the point that people look askance at any attempts to arrange a personal life. Dates are sometimes treated as depraved actions that injure the child’s psyche even if a woman behaves strictly within the limits of decency. In the book ‘Choosing Single Motherhood’, it is affirmed that “For women who do hope to find a partner someday, it is daunting to consider that it tends to be more difficult to date after a child comes”. It appears that a single mother pays with public condemnation for the right to have a private life and be happy.
Second, a woman is faced with many situations, in which participation of both parents is expected. This does not have a positive effect on her emotional state. And while a married woman is always supported by her husband, a single mother has to face all the difficulties alone. In the absence of assistance, women often become reserved. In their lives, there is rarely a space for something in addition to children and work.
Furthermore, it is quite common for single mothers to become targets of emotional pressure, which can take different forms. Married friends treat these women leniently and often disapprove of them. It is associated with the fact that in modern society, it is widely believed that the responsibility for the preservation of family lies entirely on a woman. Quite often, people believe that if a woman can not find a man and keep him, it is completely her fault. Frequently, there are problems at work related to looking after sick children. There can be cases when other relatives tactlessly interfere in the child’s upbringing, suggesting that a single mother cannot cope with this. There are also many other problems that single mothers experience firsthand. It is particularly difficult to explain to grown children where their father is and why he does not live with them.
Divorce in the Arab Countries
In Islam, divorce is the most hateful thing to God from what is permitted. Therefore, the court always first tries to reconcile the spouses and dissuade them from this step – especially if the couple has children. It is associated with the fact that in this situation children suffer the most. They do not understand why the parents destroy their family. All the reasons which seem serious for adults appear obscure and far-fetched for children, who see the parents’ decision as catastrophic. Nevertheless, Islamic law allows divorce. In the book Women and Islam, it is stated that “In the Arab world, divorce is most common during the early years of marriage”. Sometimes, there are situations where it is unavoidable and the continuation of family life is impossible. In addition, it specifies the cases where a party has a right to divorce. These cases are described in books on Islamic jurisprudence. For example, a woman can go to court with a petition for divorce if her husband does not provide for her, or if he has been missing for a period of more than six months, or if he is engaged in activities reprehensible from an Islamic point of view and may damage the reputation of the family. In this case, it is recognized that a divorce happened due to the fault of a man, and he is obliged to pay his wife the entire amount of Mehr (dowry) prescribed in the marriage contract. Therefore, the court meets the claim of parents on divorce and children frequently stay with their mothers.
After the divorce, there are many challenges that women in Arab states have to face. They are practically the same as those of single mothers from other countries. However, there are certain difficulties peculiar to traditions of Islam countries. To learn more about the challenges single mother in the United Arab Emirates are usually faced, four interviews have been conducted. Two women are poor while two others are rich. Despite this fact, all of them have problems as single mothers.
Interview One: a Single Mother in a Difficult Financial Situation
The first woman’s name is Alia. She is 27 years old now. She is from Ras al-Khaimah. She is divorced and has twins. Alia says that all her life can be divided into three periods. The first one was similar to that of her coevals. She attended school, college, and then institute. According to Alia, she did not think much about her future at that time. She did not graduate from the institute because she fell in love with a handsome young boy. He was the second period of her life. Their relationship was very romantic but they promised each other nothing. She soon learned that she was pregnant. The father of her children was not prepared for this and it turned out later that he had many girlfriends in addition to Alia. She was alone the entire pregnancy and the subsequent two and a half years.
To say that it was difficult is to say nothing. Alia lived with her wonderful parents. They did everything possible to help their daughter. However, Alia constantly quarreled with her mother because of different views on life and the education of children. She was very isolated during that period. Almost all of her friends broke relations with her. Alia thinks that it is associated with the fact that many of them condemn her, because according to the traditions of the country a woman cannot bring up and educate children without a husband. A man is the main person in an Arab family. He provides financial and moral support for his wife and children. Without a husband, Alia could not provide a prosperous future for her children. Besides, many people in the neighborhood blamed Alia for her inexcusable behavior. She should not have slept with a man before marriage. Nevertheless, Alia did not blame them. She believed that both her friends and strangers were right and she went against the traditions of her country. However, according to Alia these days, the society should have a different attitude regarding single mothers. She wanted to prove to everyone that despite her past mistakes, she would be able to bring up her children as a single mother.
At the beginning, her children constantly needed love, care, and attention, so she was constantly tired. Alia was like a robot. She experienced great financial difficulties. She could not afford to buy expensive toys or even sometimes fruit for her children.
During that period, she started reading the Koran. Before, she considered herself a religious person. However, only after such challenges in her life, Alia started to fully understand the real meaning of the text. The Koran saved her from sadness and depression. She became a vegetarian. She believed she cleaned her body from the inside and began to clear the thoughts. Alia understood very clearly how she wanted to live. She started dreaming and thinking about how to change her life for the better. Spending much time alone with herself, Alia learned to listen to herself and her desires. She even created an action plan.
Next, it was necessary to act. Alia realized that the first thing that she needed to do is leave. She understood that she would never be happy if she stayed with her parents. All the quarrels with her mother about the children and disapproving of the neighbors made Alia feel depressed. She decided to live alone, so she moved to another department. At first, her parents helped financially. However, she was able to find a job. Alia started working in a hotel as a waitress. She understood that it was not a prestigious job. However, it was her first job as she did not even graduate. Therefore, at that time, it was the best option for her. Furthermore, it was the first time when people were sympathetic to her situation.
When the management of the hotel got to know that Alia was a single mother, they immediately offered her a waitress position. Moreover, they provided her with certain benefits such as reduced working hours when she needed and the ability to care for children during their illness. In addition to monthly salary, Alia got tips from the visitors of the hotel. She enrolled the children in a nursery.
It was extremely hard to work and look after children at the same time. There were moments when Alia wanted to give up and move back in with her parents. However, with time, her work started bringing satisfaction. There were many visitors in the hotel that gave good tips and Alia even managed to save money. One day, she met a single man who was from Abu Dhabi. He was a businessman working in the oil sphere. He accepted Alia and her past. After her father gave permission for the marriage, they moved to Abu Dhabi. Alia was able to prove that single mothers today could raise children and be happy. Despite the fact that she has met a decent man who can support her and her children, Alia is confident that with the help of hard work and faith a single mother can accomplish much. According to Alia, the most important attribute is courage. She is convinced that it is better to do something and regret it later than do nothing at all. The most difficult thing is to make the first move. Alia understood that she could live with her parents her whole life, be afraid of the condemnation from friends and relatives. However, Alia took a risk and made the first move and she is happy now.
Interview Two: a Single Mother in a Difficult Financial Situation
Single mothers are rejected by their usual environment. Frequently, government agencies understate their status compared to traditional families. In this case, a traditional family is a model for society. When a woman remains in an incomplete family, she begins to realize that she no longer belongs to the social group of traditional two-parent families. Quite often, she ceases to feel that she belongs to any social group.
The second interview was with a woman whose name is Anna. She is 36 years old and she has two daughters. She divorced after 10 years of marriage. The reason for the divorce was quite banal. Anna could not bear her husband’s unfaithfulness. She knew that her husband had several lovers. Moreover, he did not support his family financially.
Anna claims that after the divorce she existed in some kind of social vacuum. Most of her married friends have stopped communicating with her family. They believed that a single woman is a threat to their families’ happiness. It is very difficult to be a single mother. The most difficult thing is not even connected to childcare. It has to do with other people’s opinions. Anna understands that to survive with dignity and educate her children, she needs to be prepared for such an attitude and learn to confront it in a honorable manner.
After the divorce, the issue of money was also quite significant. Anna’s ex-husband does not support them, so she was forced to go to work. As she has never worked before, she could not find anything worthy and well-paid. Eventually, she got a job as a dishwasher in a restaurant. While Anna is working, her mother looks after the children. Anna understands that it is difficult for her mother. However, there is no way out.
Interview Three: a Single Mother in a Favorable Financial Situation
Single motherhood has always existed. However, in the last couple of decades, it has become more commonplace. There are different reasons why a woman raises a child alone – from divorce to widowhood. The woman from the third interview is different. She deliberately became a single mother. Her name is Baria. She is 35 years old and she is from Abu Dhabi. She has been living in the United Arab Emirates since she was 25 years old. Baria comes from India. Nowadays, she is a successful woman who runs a café in Abu Dhabi. She can be called a businesswoman. She loves her job. Baria has rich parents who helped her open the café. She graduated with a Master’s Degree in art and design. However, she decided to open a café as she visited many countries around the world and liked the atmosphere of cafés. Her favorite country is Italy and, thus, she wanted to introduce a part of Italy in Abu Dhabi. She visited this country several times and wanted to create a traditional Italian café. She managed to do it. Abu Dhabi is considered a tourist city, so Baria’s facility became extremely popular. Not just among tourists but also native people visit her café. It seems that nothing could prevent Baria from being happy. She had everything – money, successful business, and healthy parents. Nevertheless, she did not have the main thing – her own family. Being so busy with her cafe, she did not have time for personal life. Baria was completely immersed in her work. Thus, seven years passed, and only then she realized that she was 35 years old without a husband or children.
She did not have relationships with men while she was a student. Perhaps, it was because she was always humble and shy. Maybe, it was because Baria assessed every guy she met as a potential husband. She always demanded a lot from herself herself and required the same from men. Her father often repeated that he got married when he had a good job and was able to support his wife. Therefore, Baria waited for the same from men. She was looking for a man who would be independent and rich. When she was 35 years old and realized that she was completely alone, Baria decided to give birth. One day, she met a man from France. He came to the café for the first time. They spent several days together and the man moved back to France. Baria soon understood that she was pregnant. She did not want to tell the father of the child about her pregnancy. She deliberately decided to become a single mother.
A conversation with parents was very difficult. Baria’s father said that they would not abandon the child and would help educate them. However, they stopped respecting Baria. According to her father, they would not have the same relationship as before. He claimed that it would be a shame for their family as everyone in the neighborhood knew them as a prosperous and successful family. Baria’s mother, as a woman, first scolded her daughter and then cried. However, Baria did not care about opinions and criticisms of other people. She understood that the world has changed and people should not live by the laws and traditions of the past. She stated that she would be able to handle everything alone and would not move back in with her parents. Baria did not want to close the café either.
Nine months later, she gave birth to a boy. At first, it was very hard, as the child took all her energy and time. To fully devote herself to the child, Baria hired an administrator for the café, despite coping with all the responsibilities alone previously. It was a big surprise for Baria that her friends did not turn away from her. At first, she waited for words of condemnation and blame. However, on the contrary, they claimed that they admired her. To be a single mother in the modern world and especially in an Islamic country is extremely difficult. Thus, in her friends’ eyes Baria was a brave woman.
Since the birth of her son, she had no doubt about the correctness of her decision. Baria has never felt sorry for her child who is growing up without a father. She gave him so much love that according to her opinion, she completely replaced the son’s father. She is rich enough to provide her son with a good education. Baria understood that money played a great role in this situation. With its help, she was able to enroll the child in a nursery and had time for her business. Nevertheless, money could not solve all of her problems. Baria understood that her boy needed a father when one day he came back from the kindergarten and asked why all his friends lived with a man, whom they called a father. She could not find the right words to explain everything about their family to her son. She decided to postpone this conversation for the future. However, Baria does not know what to tell her son when he asks about his father again.
Interview Four: a Single Mother in a Favourable Financial Situation
The last interview was with a single mother whose name is Bella. She is 38 years old and has a completely different story. She used to have a happy family. Her husband was a businessman and they had three children. They were considered an exemplary family. However, after ten years of happy life, doctors discovered that Bella’s husband had cancer. Despite long treatment with the best doctors, the disease progressed and he died. Thus, Bella was left alone with three children. She knew that she was secure with money until the end of her life and her children would receive a good education. Nevertheless, she was used to living with her husband. She was accustomed to constant support and care.
After her husband’s death, Bella fell into a deep depression. She loved her children but they reminded her of the dead husband. She was constantly crying and did not look after her children. This situation continued for several months until she saw the eldest daughter, who was only 12 years old, feed her younger brothers with burnt food. In this moment, Bella’s world changed. She understood that she still had the dearest people in herlife and now she should live only for them. Bella decided to learn how to solve her problems.
She understood that children needed a man’s influence. She needed to try to find a close relative as an example for her children. Moreover, such a replacement of their father was needed for both her sons and the daughter. The boys needed a man, whom they could take as an example. The girl also needed to be close to a man as an example of her future husband. Thus, Bella decided to visit children’s grandfather more often. Regular meetings can be very useful and help children survive the lack of their father.
Bella also understood that it was not right to devote herself to children completely. This is a common mistake made by single mothers. Protecting children excessively can be harmful. Children are the most important elements in lives of these women. However, Bella understood that overprotection could be harmful to a child’s psyche. Children in such circumstances will grow dependent and immature. A mother who fully devotes herself to her children forgets about herself. It is the quality of the relationship and the time spent together that is important. Bella decided to develop her husband’s business. She wanted to be an example for her children and show that despite difficulties that can occur in life, they should be strong.
According to Bella, single mothers still live a difficult life, despite new opportunities that the modern world can provide. However, quite often, single mothers complicate their life themselves. It is a mistake to think that the presence of children or widowhood cast doubts on the possibility of further happiness. Bella is sure that it is important to have those qualities that will make it possible to think positively, be open and friendly. In the life of such women, their interests and the interests of their children should be in the first place. Positive outlook leaves no place for worries about prejudice or low self-esteem. In the book The Complete Single Mother, it is stated that “Single mother heroes take care of themselves by setting boundaries, establishing priorities, and making creative compromises”. Every single mother has enough opportunities to make her children happy and be happy herself. It is only necessary to use these opportunities.
New family models gradually replace the traditional family consisting of father, mother, and a child. These days, there are numerous cases of mothers bringing up children alone. Although each year there are more single-parent families, society often does not recognize the proper social status of the families to the full extent.
Every single mother has a story of loss – widowhood, frustration or ruined marriage. However, such life is not lonely because the key word is “mother”. It means that somewhere, there is another precious creature, a child. This realization eliminates the feeling of hopelessness. Nevertheless, it does not eliminate the main problem – the guilt about a child growing up in an incomplete and, therefore, defective family. This understanding is based mainly on accusations of the society. Condemnation of people is based largely on the false belief that a single mother is not enough to ensure that her child is happy. Every single mother should get rid of the sense of guilt before society and her children. It is clear that the destruction of the union is the fault both partners. A task of every mother is to provide her children with love, care, and tenderness. However, when mother is unhappy, she will not be able to give love to her children. This way, a single mother should get rid of a sense of guilt and give children care and love.