Let me provide you some insight on how this post came into existence…..
Yesterday I was listening to a panel discussion on having a teaching assistantship while being a graduate student. When prompted with the question – “What is one thing you wish someone told you when first started graduate school“, one of the panelists stated “To not have children… I definitely advise people to not have children when going to graduate school”. So I was like WTH right there when I heard his words — I mean seriously — you do not know who is in the audience and that is a personal situation. It has been rough for him juggling children and being in graduate school.. and OH by the way he has two kiddos and a wife. In my personal opinion you can not base a statement on your own personal experience… YES it is hard to juggle family and graduate school but not the advice you want to give a group. And YES it is hard as a single parent to perform the juggling act but people do it with success.
Then today I saw a reference to a post on Single mothers in my twitter feed…So definitely I decided to read Single Moms: A Blight on America? by Holly Pavlika. It was nice to read how the actual single mother demographics is opposite of what media portrays to our society. I was personally encouraged to see the amount of children living in a one-parent household which coincidentally is mother led. To tell the truth I related to statement on “feeling awkward at school events”… it can be hard being the solo parent at an event/outing where other kiddos have both parents in representation. You question wow is it really just me are my girls the only ones with one parent at this event or involved in their lives… And yes our society needs to work on modifying/creating policies that take into consideration your single parents such as employment/worklife, childcare, and most definitely education.
I despise how people are shocked or puzzled that I am a single mother working on my doctorate degree…. that I am involved in my children’s education and engaged in whatever they want to pursue. It is like single mothers are suppose to be staying at home and not smart.. WHATEVER! I have always been a person with a thirst for education and seek knowledge — I mean my parents are grateful this is the last degree I can get (they use to call me a professional student)… for I know that knowledge is the key for you to achieve your dreams and make a difference. NO that does not mean you have to get degrees to value education but in my area of specialty it does.. and in our nation’s economical state you will need some form of post-secondary education. And it just so turns out that I was blessed to become the mother of two girls and I am raising them as the sole provider.
I have the same expectations for my girls — I want them to have the best education and reach their full educational potential. Do I expect them to get something more than a high school diploma — YES for I know how hard it is to not have something more than that and I do not want them to suffer. Right now I am blessed that both of my girls want to learn things and have tons of questions and I hope that the thirst remains.
But here is the thing — I am not alone — I am not the only single parent that values education — and it is wrong of our society to label single parents as if they do not. You know what I mean that label that “Oh well he is not a good student for he comes from a single parent household”. It is also wrong for our society to place barriers/hurdles that delay or even prevent a single parent from focusing on their own or their child’s education. For example, Kentucky state government cut the budget for child and kinship programs – allows discounted prices for childcare for families based on income. This cut forces a parent to send their child to a subpar facility which probably isn’t focused on early child development. It also encourages a parent to put work before education and possibly stop working on a degree for they need to earn money to offset childcare costs. By being a college professor, I have witnessed numerous young mothers halt their education so that they can work and make sure they child(ren) needs are met.
It is amazing how one person’s statement could bother me and be reminded of the negative views on single mothers when it comes to the concept of education. But it did and encourages me to constantly be a mentor to other single mothers and show them that despite the challenges they can do it — they can reach their educational dreams. That they can contradict the stereotypes of single mothers and hopefully be mentors to others. To guide them on how to do it or connect them to proper resources (such as my educational funding page).
Thanks for reading my thoughts and I look forward to your thoughts.