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Single Moms Are Struggling with Financial Survival

Single parenting has become more prevalent during the 21st century. For Milwaukee county, in particular, shows that the percentage of single-parent families in Milwaukee was up to 47.9 % in 2019. Traditionally single-parenting has been considered a negative family design, especially for the health of the children.

As the name suggests, single parents are those who raise children on their own. Milwaukee women leading single-family households come from a variety of circumstances such as domestic violence, partner separation or death, refugee displacement, and general situations where women are left alone with nowhere to go.

The mental and physical struggles that single mothers face for themselves and their children include poverty, exclusion, and a lack of understanding about their lifestyles. As a result, they face an unbreakable stigma. In a Lost Angeles Times article, "The Stereotype and the Single Mother,” writer Sandy Banks speaks of societal perspectives of single parents from 20 years ago to the present. In response to this article, she received an email from a man who indicated that getting married traditionally before having a baby was the correct way, essentially sharing the idea that single moms are where they are because of “their” choices, and describing them to be careless, selfish, irresponsible, comfortable with welfare checks and dismissive of a dad.

On the contrary, single mothers need to be recognized as individuals in complicated circumstances. Banks responded that no woman needs to explain herself to anyone nor their business and how they ended up single parents.

Kelsey Roberts, a white single mother from downtown Milwaukee, released her own article on about the level of acceptance she has experienced as a single mother, explaining that she still has what she wants. This was something she realized when catching up with a colleague and discussing her stance on life as a single mother. Roberts expected to be asked how she was able to “manage such a busy schedule” but instead was asked how she has time for her kids.

She experiences shame as a single mother, but according to the article, it does not mean she should give up her life goals just because she has children. She believes that, because of sexist ideas, women are no longer expected to achieve their dreams once they have children. She has no reason to be ashamed and does everything so that her child will know that. At the end of the day, she is a devoted mother to her child, putting them first.

Many parents in single-parent households struggle financially because of a variety of issues including, but not limited to, the lack of dual income, a lack of education, low wage employment opportunities, and even an inability to know where to go for assistance. Some parents may not have others to rely on to help watch over their kids if they have jobs or places they need to be. Families are being pushed further into low-income and limited-income. The need for the family to survive comes down to parents having to seek a second or even a third job.

Shantana Smith, a black single mother, unable to pay three months of rent, was being evicted from her home which causes concerns and worries about how to get her kids to school, where she would find their next meal, and who can she turn to for a place to stay. Smith resides in the North Side, a part of Milwaukee that is known to be impoverished, and listed as a Milwaukee community with a poverty rate of 27.4% by By race, with a black population of 229,460, 36.3% fell within this poverty rate. 31.7% of Milwaukee’s Asian population of 23,366 fell within this poverty rate. The White population of 204,541 is discovered to have 14.6% falling within the poverty rate.

Single-parent households are nothing new and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the struggles for these households increased heavily. Fortunately, Milwaukee is home to organizations that will help single parents find jobs and get the additional help they need for their families.

There are many assistance programs offered by the state of Wisconsin to assist single mothers, low-income, and poverty-stricken families, especially during the pandemic.

  • The Wisconsin Department of Health offers financial aid and insurance for many types of households.

  • Wisconsin Badger Care Plus offers free to low-cost health care coverage.

  • Food Share Wisconsin provides monthly benefits for limited income.

  • Wisconsin Shares is a subsidy program to help low-income working families pay for child care.

  • Grants and financial aid are also offered by universities and colleges for adults who return to school.

  • Mount Mary University offers mothers, single mothers, and parent programs and studies as they encourage secondary and higher education.


About the Author

Inpanat Douangvilay

Inpanat is a Mount Mary University nursing student with multifaceted interests ranging from sports to writing to traveling. An eclectic person to conversate with and friendly. Inspired to join the English journalism class to share with others about the many possibilities to helping beautiful earth. It should also be said that she is a proud Milwaukee foodie.

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