Disclaimer: This message can cross-cultural barriers but I speak from the understanding and experience of being a single mother of color in the state of Massachusetts. In my professional experience culture offers different insight amongst other items which makes the lived experience different.
Fellow single parents of color, I understand your struggle, I see your perseverance, I feel your aches and pains for I have been where you are.
Challenges are plentiful and vary in complexity. As a single mom, I recall one of the biggest challenges was finding time to spend with my children. Single parenting is NOT easy but we make it look good! I have had the pleasure to work alongside many single parents, particularly mothers, who held 2-4 jobs to cover the costs of the household. I have observed the ridicule and have been subjected to it as well. It is easy to pass judgment when you do not understand the mental and emotional restraints taught through the generations and socially.
Let me back up some, let me talk about happier times. Times where people who look like me filled communities but not the type of communities we have today. Communities that work together to grow and herd the food supply, raise the children, care for the sick and frail, provide clothing for each other, and provide support of all kinds. This is where my people began! We had unity. We had each other. Through the course of history, my people have endured hard times, to say the least. These times were, in part, called upon us due to our good nature, belief in community, helping character, trusting ways, and the desire to grow and evolve. These hard times were also called upon us, in part, by the manipulation of some.
This relates to today because that is the start of the continuous struggles that my people live with today. Today, mothers especially those of color are VERY strong-willed and prideful to a fault. Today mothers are VERY protective of their children. Through our struggles, we were forced to adapt to being restricted physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. We as women of color adjusted to our men- including our sons- being taken from or leaving us for various reasons, some perceivably good and some not. This left us women, mothers to fend on our own. Over time we went from running our community independently without our men to being removed from our communities as well. This afforded us numerous opportunities to adapt to other environments but we were still mothers. Our children followed and learned alongside their elders. As these new customs and understandings evolved over the generations came a new caliber of a mother. This caliber of a mother of color will be referred to as MOC 2.0.
MOC 2.0 has learned over time to not ask of, depend on, or believe in anyone but herself. This is what society observed to be the single mother of color. These women carry the weight of their families on their shoulders and enter the world with poise and personality. Like other cultures, we have our faults, our battles with mental health, and our wayward folks. However, unlike other cultures, our accumulated understandings and experiences across generations differentiate us. We raise our children to survive, not live. The art, if you will, to survive is taught through mini sessions because we as the single parent are called to work to cover the costs of said lives. Being an employee, especially to so many employers, reduces our physical appearance in our homes. Let me clarify, I and many other single mothers that I have discussed this topic with would have rather been at home! Version 2.0 evolved due to the lack of physical ability to be home. Thus version 2.5 was born!
Version 2.5 was very creative! Women learned ways to be home more often. Learned ways to work for fewer employers though worked about the same amount of hours. This version also came with faults. This version, as creative as they are, is financially uneducated and emotionally stunted. This resulting in a host of other restrictions that are compounded by societal stigmas and contradictions. This version is help-rejecting meaning accepts help that can appeal to their current, immediate needs but does not generate long-term successes. Financial security is not a known or regularly discussed topic. Mental wellness or stability is not discussed or is only discussed when the major damage is done. Along the way, the mothers (and people) of color have lost their self-confidence, self-awareness, and self-actualization.
***MJ2 Coaching works to combat the negative effect of the evolutionary stigmas. MJ2 Coaching is determined to spread knowledge regarding finances, mental wellness, and emotion regulation while building self-esteem, character, and accountability.