The Black Resilient Single Mother

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Mother’s Day is coming up in a few days. That’s an important day.

There are a lot of “can’t forget” dates on the calendar. Valentine’s Day. Birthdays. If you’re married (or if BAE keeps track of how long you’ve been together) there’s anniversaries.

But there is something incredibly special about Mother’s Day…dare I say, more important than Father’s Day.   It’s like there’s this unwritten rule that you better represent your love to your mother on that day. Not to ignore fathers—but, it’s just different…particularly in our community.

If you are blessed to still have your mother around, go all out and express your gratitude. On this upcoming Mother’s Day, let her know that she’s special as all get out. She’s one of a kind. Men, even if you’re married, your mother was the first woman in your life. I got to believe your significant other would respect you celebrating her as the ultimate queen for this one day. Because, as we all know, this is the one day that mothers across the world are collectively honored and acknowledged.

But I’d like to take it a step further and focus my brief time here on a segment of mothers in the United States. Single mothers. And to drill down even further, single black mothers.

On a macro level, single parent led households are the majority in the US—that’s right, whether you are referencing traditional families or blended, single parent led families significantly outnumber them. To bring it a bit more focused on the Black community in our country, upwards of 65 percent of all black households are single parent led and of those that are single-parent families who are black, nearly 80 percent of them are led by single mothers. Another interesting fact is that most black children born in the United States are born to unmarried mothers—and on a national scale two-thirds of these children are born to unwed mothers before the age of 30. And while it appears that the absence of the father in the home has far more devastating ramifications in the black community, the truth is that one out of every four children in the U.S.—north of 17 million children—are being raised without their father around in some sort of meaningful way. Trends suggest that children of single-parent households are likely to be poor, not perform well academically, and have increased likelihood to have run-ins with the law.

Google it. It’s all there.

Now, let’s talk about the word resilience. Here’s how dictonary.com defines it: the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched.

Think about three things for a moment—the statistics I just shared, the definition of resilience, and the black single mothers you know.

Let me share what my experience has been with black single women. First up, my mother. Although she married my dad when she was 15 and he was 18 (no R. Kelly situation here—it was legal back then to marry under 18 with parental consent), she soon found herself all alone to raise me and my siblings. I was the last of the four children born and my mother was only 23 when she had me. Did she make mistakes as a single parent? You betcha. Did she overreact to several things that didn’t make sense? Absolutely. But at 23 and with my father ghosting on her, she could’ve easily opted for an abortion. And likely no one would’ve blamed her. And, oh yeah—she was poor. But did she love me, inspire me, gave me her last, taught me about God and His goodness, whipped and disciplined me and then held me tight to show her love for me? She did all this and more. It gave me a foundation to want to change the world and do the extraordinary.

Then there are other single mothers I know who have been to hell and back. Whether it’s several children with one father or several children with several fathers—I’ve seen the brilliance of the black mother rise to the occasion and raise God-fearing children to be assets to society, respectful to adult authority, and excel in the classroom. All this while working, keeping them in church, and attending all their extracurricular activities AND prepare dinner. Shoot—we have two of these amazing mothers associated with our organization!

I have known black single mothers who have overcome profound odds—like Acquanetta Warren. A black single mother who raised children on the outskirts of Los Angeles on her own. She went from being a black single mother on welfare to becoming the Mayor for the City of Fontana. She is leading a city-wide development renaissance that rivals even the most notable cities in America.

You know, statistics suggest one thing, but I’m seeing something very different daily. The Black single mothers I know are uncanny. But it’s what they’ve done for decades. I am persuaded that my future wife will be a Black single mother. I need a black woman familiar with the struggle and willing to grind life with me!

I know we have black fathers holding it down as well…mad respect to all that you do. And then we have some trifling mothers out there. Get the help you need and embrace your greatness; your children need you.

But for today, I personally and officially declare that the Wednesday before Mother’s Day be designated as Black Single Mother’s Day. So, call or text a black single mother that you know and tell her that you admire her ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched. And still just happen to raise amazing children!

 

-Kerry

 

Photo Source: Pixabay

 

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