I know, it was just Fathers Day, but I was reared by a single mother.,,in the 60s!
My mother divorced in 1962, tried a stepfather for us, then when that ended horribly, decided she’d do it by herself. Now, that might not sound like such a big thing, but fifty years ago, it was.
First off, just being a divorced woman was a horrible stigma as was being in a family without a father. I swear, there were many kids whose mothers wouldn’t let me play with them because my mother wasn’t married. Divorced woman automatically meant ‘loose’ or ‘slutty’ woman to some folks.
And what a challenge! Even if there had been welfare (and there might have been), we weren’t on it. My mother groomed dogs, cleaned hotel rooms, did whatever she could to scrape together enough so we had food and a safe place to live. Eventually, she got a job as an accounting clerk. She and a young man had identical job titles and responsibilities, but he made twice as much money. When she asked her boss about it, he said a man was the head of the family and needed it. She reminded him that the co-worker wasn’t even married and that she had four kids! “Well, he could have them one day…”
I can’t remember what she did at that point. She couldn’t leave until she had another job, so she probably sucked it down. I know she did wind up changing employers down the road. Still, she always made less than men.
All four of us turned out fine, too. Even though my youngest brother was physically and mentally handicapped, he graduated from high school. Other brother served in the Army and Reserves and went to college on the GI Bill, graduating with a bachelor’s degree. Older sister married well and, after ten years of working and going to school part time while rearing two high-achieving children, also earned a bachelor’s degree. No trouble with the law for any of us or our kids, either!
Well, I didn’t graduate from college, but I did manage to get USA Today Bestselling Author status a couple times and establish a successful business, starting out with nothing but chutzpah and tenacity…and a great role model.
Not bad for kids of a divorced woman. Correction. A strong woman!
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