Single motherhood challenges during COVID-19

Published: May. 7, 2020 at 1:49 PM EDT
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In the United States, almost one in four moms are taking on the challenge of raising kids alone as a single parent. Coronavirus and the social distancing that’s required to keep families healthy during the pandemic may be putting added strain on singles as access to their support systems diminish.

Eight-year-old Liliana Brewer plays alone and daily hugs from her grandmother have been reduced to a few minutes of FaceTime. School is a computer on her kitchen table. As Liliana said, “I’m missing my friends and my teacher.” Liliana’s not alone. Her mom Jessica misses her network, too and said she misses her “Close family members, friends with kids, having someone else to be able to help you parent, to give you those breaks.”

Zoe Taylor, Ph.D., is a Developmental Family Scientist at Purdue University and a single mom. Taylor studies resilience in single-parent families who are especially vulnerable to hardships. Taylor stated, “They have the emotional and often financial responsibility, without a lot of those supports.” She said there are over eight million single parents in the United States and the coronavirus pandemic is putting them at greater risk for depression and anxiety, which can affect how they parent. Her advice? Take care of your needs first and a good rule of thumb is to always remember, “When you’re on an airplane, the directions are if you’re traveling with kids, you put your own oxygen mask on first.”

That way you’re better able to be warm and sensitive parents, fostering positive relationships with your kids, which can, in turn, buffer the kids from stressors.

For her part, Jessica Joya is giving herself and Liliana permission to not be perfect. As she said, “If you feed your kids cereal for two days in a row for dinner, you feed them cereal and just know it’s all going to be okay.”

Single moms can find additional resources at the site Empowering Solo Moms Everywhere by clicking

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