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Saturday, June 15, 2013


Single Mother on Father's Day

As a counselor, I have seen too many doughnut burns --

when a child is shoved into a tub of scalding water, the anus tightens in response so that the burn is round with a ring of unburned skin in the center.

I have counseled too many daughters of sexually abusing fathers whose scars, though invisible, will never completely heal.

Single mother households are unfortunately becoming the new “norm.” There are a total of 15 million children living without a father in the US alone.

Inspite of that, many fatherless children are still succeeding with the help of their mothers.

Many of the hollow-eyed waitresses and sales clerks you meet will be heroic single mothers attempting what sometimes feels to be an impossible task.

According to the 2013 census, 84% of custodial parents are mothers whereas fathers are 15%.

It is my feeling that Single Mothers deserve presents on Father’s Day.

Ladies, you are a gift to society. Without your courageous characteristics to take on the responsibilities of your own and others, where would many of us be?

 My last memory of my own father is his receding car speeding down the street called Skid Row in Detroit after he abandoned me there. I can still remember running after his car, screaming, "Daddy, Daddy!"

A street person, Maude, and her little dog, Tufts, took mercy on me for six weeks until she conjured the courage to bring me to the Salvation Army outpost (she had a paranoid fear of uniforms.)

In FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE and END OF DAYS, you will find my tipping my Stetson to their memory.

My mother was a single mother, and she handled Father's Day creatively:

She pointed out the verse in Psalm 68:5 -
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.

So I have always thought of Father's Day as Holy and God as The Father.

But what about other single mothers?

How do they handle Father's Day do you think?

Do they have a unique way of celebrating it? Does it make them sad? Angry?

Some mothers get mad at others thinking they should get a nod at Father's Day, saying "I am a woman not a man! I am a mother not a father!"

This extreme reaction says to me they obviously have unresolved issues concerning being a single mother. 

Or do you think differently?

The creator of Father's Day was a single man named Charles Berlitz, whose father, Howard Berlitz, died of cancer in 1867. Charles made the day up to remember him.

Mr. Berlitz unintentionally made a day that is often sour for struggling single mothers and lonely children.

And the questions come murmuring in the night:

“Why don’t my children have the loving father they deserve?”
“Why do I have to do everything and he does nothing?”

“Why must I struggle financially, because he chooses to pay no child support?”

What would you say to them?
Something to make you smile:


  1. All fathers aren't created equal. A sense of responsibility and commitment is missing in some men, regardless of social strata. It is sad for kids left behind.

    But, I wish a happy father's day to those good fathers and the lucky kids who had them. Such is life.

  2. Hats off to all the single moms out there! I think the worst thing for single moms is having to constantly hear about how slim their kids odds are of growing up to be well-rounded because statistics show that kids without dads grow up to be troubled adults. I disagree with that. I think it's great if kids have both parents, but I'd rather see a kid raised by a single mom than have to deal with a crappy dad inside the home. For me, growing up with an abusive father, was hard, but God has a way of healing, and I know He's all the Father I need. Love that verse. Those words are so true. Thanks for the post, Roland. :)

  3. I'm a stay-at-home dad to three boys (under 6) and I have the GREATEST appreciation for single Moms.

    See, my wife comes home in the afternoon, so I have support/back up and help, but single Moms are IT.

    24/7, 365 days a year, they are not even on call - they are ON DUTY.

    So, yeah I know this is the weekend of Superman, but I believe that single Moms are the true Women of Steel.

  4. Hi Roland .. inadvertently Father's Day does not encompass everyone - some people's attitudes to others is so sad and we still need to do so much more - to change peoples' perceptions of life itself ..

    With thoughts and with thanks to the many who have helped little children through the turmoils of childhood. Hilary

  5. Sorry I haven't been around, but I'm glad I popped by today. Great post, makes for profound contemplation.

    As a very new mom, I can't imagine being a single parent and having someone else help take the pressure off.

    This reminded me that my own protagonist, Detective Lancer, is a single dad, with a disabled daughter to boot--and I've gained a whole new level of respect for him!

    Happy Father's Day to all good dads out there, and hats off to the single moms!

  6. In my mid-twenties, I began giving my mom father's day cards. I'd find funny ones or sweet ones....I'd write a note telling her she was the only 'father' figure I had-she taught us how to play ball and badminton, throw a frisbee, and ride a bike. She got a kick out of it.

    In the years she's been gone, I've learned a lot about fathers from my Daddy. The Great Mystery. Yes, I have issues trusting Him sometimes, but I'm soooo way beyond where I used to be.

    Great post! And Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there who actually deserve the term :)

  7. It's tough for single mothers because they do have to fill both roles.
    I liked your mother's way of celebrating the day, because the Lord is indeed Father to all.

  8. D.G.:
    Donating sperm does not make you a father any more than drawing breath makes you human. You are what you do.

    I, also, wish best wishes to those fathers who shoulder the heavy responsibilities and priceless rewards of being a true father.

    My heart hurts to read that your father was abusive. Sometimes we emerge from such a crucible, refined and stronger. Odds are just numbers. One valiant, unsurendering heart can beat all the odds. :-)

    Yes, they are the Women of Steel! My Stetson's off to you for being there for your children. May today be a healing day for you!

    Thanks for always having an insightful comment. Yes, no day can encompass or embrace everyone. That is why Christmas often sees a spikes in suicides.

    I've missed you, but my own demanding blood courier duties keeps me from visiting as much as I want. Yes, blessings to those fathers who daily show what it means to be a silent hero. (Or not so silent when they have to discipline!!)

    And late Happy Mother's Day to you!

    Words Crafter:
    I often call God The Great Mystery as my Lakota ancestors did since what He is up to is mostly a mystery to me. But as GrandMother kept telling Hibbs, "I do not ask you to understand - only to trust."

    I feel The Father feels the same way towards us.

    I am glad you had such a loving mother for as long as you did. Your father robbed himself of so much missing out on you and your love. Have a healing Sunday.

    Mother was a wise woman. Me? I'm otherwise! :-) Yes, single mothers have harsh double duty! Thanks for daily dropping by and commenting. It means a lot!

  9. My dad isn't perfect, but he's a good one, and I love him. My aunt was a single mother for a long time, and she worked harder than anyone I know to take care of my cousin.

  10. Milo:
    Which of us is perfect? If we stay our course, tend to the consequences of our actions, and nurture love in those around us, what more can be asked of us, right?

    I am glad your father is still in your life and he is the kind of man you can love. My prayers are with your aunt and your cousin! :-)

  11. You do not want my thoughts on this post Roland - not as a three time divorcee with kids, and certainly not as a cash aid (Welfare) worker :)

    I'll just say thanks for acknowledging that some mothers have to be fathers also.


  12. I grew up with just a mom, but only because my dad died when I was a baby. I've always admired her and all the other mothers who've had to raise kids by themselves as a result, no matter what the reason!