I'm the ripe old age of 35. I have seen some of the best in people and I have witnessed some of the absolute worst. Four years ago, I was a single mom with a great job, benefits, vacation, and time to spend with my son - who was 10 at the time.
Let me introduce you to my sister. Five years younger, alcoholic, ex-heroin user, meth user, pot smoker, prescription drug abuser. She would get arrested and got sick of using HER name and going to jail, so instead she would use MY name - because they won't take her to jail. That's the "perk" of having a law-abiding family member, I guess.
So my sister gets pregnant. The guy commits suicide. She goes through every possible way to abort the baby - drugs, alcohol, abortion clinic. However, she has waited too long. The baby is born and is blessedly healthy. Now she decides she doesn't want him -- 'too many memories'.
At the age of 10, my son knew that we couldn't just let that child go into foster care or be adopted out to someone unknown. So we took the baby in. My long days turned into LONGER days - and nights!
Fast forward. Now my sister is in trouble again. She has her 8 year old taken away from her. She is sent to jail for 7 & 1/2 years for alcohol & drug related crimes. Who do they call to take in the child? Me. The single mom of two. At this point, how does a person say no? Here is a child who has been denied a proper childhood by his own mother and I can offer him a warm place to live and love... lots of love.
Every day is a struggle. Some days I don't have patience or energy. But I understand why foster parents do what they do every day, because helping a child out of a miserable situation is priceless. Being a single mom is never easy. If you can avoid it, I highly recommend it! But if you find yourself in this situation, remember that your child loves you whether you are one parent or ten. Also, having great friends is more helpful than you can imagine. "Friends are the family that you get to choose."
As a final note, I'd like to say that the hardest thing about being a single parent is never having enough. Never enough food for hungry, growing boys. Never enough outside entertainment. Never enough clothes and shoes. If you can do something to help a single parent - help them with a bag of groceries, or offer to pay for soccer, or *gasp* throw a $20 bill in their mailbox when they aren't looking (and nobody else sees you). Single parents are in abundance and we could all use a little help. Even the single parents that keep taking on a little more than we can chew. ;)