The Reason Why
We all understand that the future of our nation rests on our children’s shoulders. That next generation is largely comprised of children being raised by single mothers. In fact, one in four children in the U.S. under the age of eighteen is being raised by a single mother. In some cities, that number jumps as high as 39%.
Despite mothers’ best efforts, statistics show that children raised by single mothers suffer in a variety of ways: they are more likely to have educational deficiencies, engage in sex at a younger age, have lower occupational status and income as adults, and give birth outside of marriage themselves, among other issues. Eighty-five percent of all children with behavioral problems come from fatherless homes. Meanwhile, single mothers are plagued with feelings of guilt and inadequacy and usually find themselves living at or below poverty level.
Single mothers and their children need our help. Not our pity, or our handouts, but a hand up.
Inspiration for Single Mom Strong has been drawn from its founder, Tara Taylor’s personal experience. Based on the premise that a single mother can be a professional “success” and a great parent, and the belief that neither the single mother nor her children are limited in any way by this circumstance, Single Mom Strong is:
A community, meeting the need for belonging and love for single mothers and their children
A place of empowerment: for single mothers, through education and opportunity for balance; for their children through education and positive relationships
A means for betterment: with their children in safe, quality child care, single mothers can better provide for their families and achieve personal goals
I left my ex-husband when my daughter, Desiree’, was six-months old. He did not contribute at all, so I vowed to myself that I would raise Desiree' alone, and she would have every opportunity a child deserved. I put my head down and went to work. Hard.
The one and only time I tried to receive aid of any kind, I was turned down. The program was a child care subsidy that paid about half of child care expenses, based on need. I had been advancing quickly in my career, and was making enough to survive, but nowhere near enough for a woman and child to flourish on their own. I was told I made $27 per month too much to qualify. $27. In that moment I wanted to ask for a pay REDUCTION. But that became further motivation.
Working for myself provided flexibility and with flexibility came dance classes and soccer camps for Desiree’ and she grew a love for soccer that lasts to this day. I made good on my vow to give her everything a child from a dual-parent household could, and she began competitive, or club, soccer at age 11. Because of the costs and travel requirements, I was almost always the only single mom at those games, but it paid off, as Desiree’ has gone on to play soccer in college, on a scholarship. She is living her dream now, and I couldn’t be happier for her.
I have achieved many things in this life that people associate with “success”, but my greatest achievement is raising my daughter on my own. The greatest compliment I ever receive actually comes often, as I have been told many times how well-mannered and kind Desiree is, because her well-rounded, sweet, genuine character is a gift to all who know her, and, as a result, countless families treat Desiree’ as part of their own family. And that is why we are here.... I am not glorifying being a single mom. It is hard. It is by far the hardest thing I have done or will ever do. But I am saying that you and your children have choices. Being a single parent or the child of a single parent does not diminish them. I choose to believe the contrary that being “single mom strong”, having grit and determination and refusing to fail, does not have to be detrimental at all.
Believe and achieve...
My career was in property management, and after holding a real estate license for four years, I vowed that I would not renew it, but rather push forward and obtain a broker’s license. After putting Desiree’ to bed each night, I would study for three hours, and eventually I completed all of the course work and took the exam. I passed on the first try. I ultimately obtained my Associates Degree the same way. Meanwhile, a Real Estate Broker’s license enabled me to venture out on my own, and I started my first company at 29 years old, as a single mother, with a mortgage and no reserves. I had my belief in myself, and my desire to be there for my daughter..... So I just didn’t fail.
"I started my first company at 29 years old, as a single mother, with a mortgage and no reserves. I had my belief in myself, and my desire to be there for my daughter..... So I just didn’t fail."