The job of parenting is never an easy one, but for single parents, the parenting journey can be a particularly rough road. Single parents do the job of two—juggling child-rearing, work, maintaining a household—all while shouldering alone the stress (and joy) of parenting. This leaves a single parent with little time for personal pursuits, leisure activities, self-care, or sleep. Without having a second parent around to witness their greatness, the single parent’s hard work often goes unnoticed.
That’s why in 1984 President Ronald Reagan designated a specific day each year—March 21st—to honor single parents. National Single Parent Day was established as a way to acknowledge the dedication and sacrifices of those who are raising children solo, either by circumstance or choice. Reagan asked all Americans to,
“recognize the contributions single parents are making, sometimes under great hardships, to the lives of their children.”
Despite approximately 11 million American households with children under 18 now being run by one parent, single parents—particularly single moms, who are the heads of more than 80% of those single-parent families—can still be unfairly stigmatized and their children labeled. These stereotypes are proved untrue again and again by the thousands of dedicated single moms and the children they raise into amazing adults.
35 years ago, Reagan recognized the contribution that single parents and their children made to society, saying,
“Single parents can and do provide children with the financial, physical, emotional, and social support they need to take their place as productive and mature citizens. With the active interest and support of friends, relatives, and local communities, they can do even more to raise their children in the best possible environment.”
These words still hold true today.
So in honor of National Single Parents Day, reach out to the single moms you know (and dads, too). Tell them what a fantastic job they’re doing, ask if you can lend them a hand, or just listen with a deeper understanding when they say they haven’t had time to shower in three days.
If you’re a single parent yourself, give yourself a pat on the back today and try to steal just a couple minutes of time to yourself. Reflect on all the positive things your selflessness and perseverance have done to give your child the best life possible and know you’re doing a great job!