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Many people talk about the danger that COVID poses to our health, but some have spoken in detail about how the restrictions have impacted businesses, families, and relationships. The economic uncertainty and conflicting information have resulted in unprecedented turmoil.
Mental health problems are increasing, children cannot go to school, and many cannot feed their families. Single mothers have been one of the groups that have been hardest hit during this time. Because of remote-learning, single mothers are put in a difficult position of having to choose between their jobs and taking care of their kids. This is an impossible choice to make, as single mothers must continue providing for their children to take care of them.
Here are some sobering statistics to show the impact COVID has had on single-mother homes.
· The number of single mothers with jobs was 22% lower in 2020 than in 2019.
· Before the pandemic, women constituted 58% of service jobs. By 2020, nearly 5.7 million had lost those jobs.
· Women of color face the highest unemployment rate, with Latinas facing 19 percent, Black women facing 16.5 percent, and White women facing 13.1 percent.
· Many assistance programs are limited, and daycare subsidies are scarce.
· Mental health issues among single mothers have risen substantially.
Unfortunately, there is no magic answer to resolve the complex challenges that single mothers face. Juggling work from home or dealing with sudden unemployment while managing your kids’ homework can leave anyone feeling stressed, depressed, angry, frustrated, and scared. Furthermore, nobody is quite sure when everything will “go back to normal.” There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight to this crisis, though a vaccine is on the way.
Though we can’t solve all of the challenges single mothers face, there are some suggestions to help along the way:
1. Start with Acceptance
Yes, it sounds absurd in the face of such a crisis to gain acceptance. However, accepting a bad situation for what it is doesn’t require that one enjoy it or approve of it. Utilize “radical acceptance” to accept exactly how you feel and what is happening at this moment, rather than putting up walls. By recognizing that most of these issues are out of your control, it helps you take ownership of what you can control.
2. Set the Parenting Bar Lower
Accept that you aren’t going to be a perfect parent right now and that’s ok. As long as you can perform the basic tasks and complete any work that you need to do, you are doing fine. Talk to your children, particularly the older ones. Delegate tasks to them after explaining how much you need their help right now.
3. Set a Schedule
You aren’t going to be able to help your kids with all of their homework, complete your job, and make sure they are meeting their requirements. But you can set a schedule to carve out some time for every task and requirement. This includes work time, academic time, dinner time, etc. Teach your children self-reliance to encourage independent studying, if they are old enough. Check-in once or twice a week to make certain they aren’t falling behind.
4. Ask for Help
Not all single mothers can ask for help. They don’t have the resources or available family members to help out at home. If you are someone who does have these resources, feel free to reach out to them as needed. There is no shame in anyone asking for assistance during this type of situation, particularly single mothers. If you don’t have assistance, see if you can apply for a subsidy for childcare or research other available local services to help.
Are you a single mother struggling with COVID-19? If so, please contact Straight Talk Counseling at 714-828-2000 or visit our website at straighttalkcounseling.org. One of our professional counselors would be happy to speak with you.