Written by: Dr. Leslie Davis, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
I’ve been a single parent for 18 years and I can’t recall one day when I was celebrated for my single motherhood. Why is that? Well, there’s an unspoken element of shame and guilt for being a single parent because some people don’t always know the facts but assume the circumstances surrounding a woman living the single mom life. I’d also guess that not many people are aware that National Single Parents Day exists. I sure didn’t until a few years ago.
Since March 21, 1984, National Single Parents Day has been celebrated annually after being signed and declared by President Ronald Reagan in Proclamation 5166. His proclamation states, “I call on the people of the United States to recognize the contributions single parents are making, sometimes under great hardships, to the lives of their children, and I ask that they volunteer their help, privately or through community organizations, to single parents who seek it to meet their aspirations for their children.” In 2016 as a Black single mother in America, I launched a nonprofit called Hearts in Faith, NFP to develop an empowering community of support for single mothers in the United States. We affectionately call our single moms Sweet Hearts and our single fathers Strong Hearts. Through my personal journey, I recognized the need for single mothers to come together to support each other in our journey of single motherhood. No one knows it best but another single mom how real the struggle can be. Over time, our organization identified the need for single fathers to experience this same level of support, so we launched a program for single fathers to be empowered in their journey. Many of the single parents served by our organization report experiences of loneliness and high levels of stress, and it is truly unfortunate that some of these single parents are reluctant to reach out for support. Their reluctance might be due to fear of being a burden on someone else because they often hear complaints from family when they ask for help. Their reluctance may also be due to the mentality of being strong and wanting to handle everything on their own. Individuals who are not single parents may view the strength and independence of single parents as positive traits. I can recall many times when others have told me, “I don’t know how you do it on your own. You’re so strong.” Little do they know my strength as a single mother is a necessity. If I fail, not only would I fail myself, but I would fail my child, and I refuse to fail. This year, I challenge you to begin to empower single parents around the world who are doing the best they can with what they have. Here are suggested ways to honor a single parent on National Single Parents Day.
If you are a single parent
Put yourself first. Do something you want to do for you.
Celebrate the day with other single parents you know.
Spend uninterrupted quality time with your children and enjoy the moment.
Reflect on your personal strengths gained while living the single-parent life.
Release yourself from any guilt and shame of living the single-parent life.
If you know a single parent
Invite them out for a meal and offer to pay.
Offer to provide childcare at no cost to give them a day of rest or offer to be present to spend time with their children while the single parent takes care of home.
Establish a healthy connection by spending quality time with the single parent and engaging in healthy dialogue.
Send a meal to their home or provide a gift card to their favorite restaurant.
Provide a gift card to their favorite store.
Provide a gas card because they’re always on the go. Maybe they can’t go where they want or need to go due to a lack of funds.
Call and offer to run an errand for the single parent.
Volunteer at a local women’s shelter or support a local nonprofit serving single parents, such as Hearts inFaith, NFP.
Commit to mentoring a child of a single parent.
If you were raised by a single parent, call them and tell them to thank you.
Let’s make National SingleParents Day a special day of empowerment, honor, and respect.
Dr. Leslie Davis, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Dr. Leslie Davis is a licensed counselor, relationship coach, mental health consultant, and podcaster. Using an Emotion-Focused approach, she empowers women and youth with tools to develop healthy connections. Her work with clients focuses on attachment styles, self-esteem, and empowering women to cope with anxiety and depression. As the Founder and Executive Director of Hearts in Faith, NFP Dr. Davis also brings awareness and addresses the needs of single mothers, single fathers, and youth in her community. You can find her podcast, She Matters with Leslie Davis, on various platforms including Apple and Spotify.