Calling all my single parents! I would love to hear from you and if you thought this chapter was right on or not. I do find it interesting that the authors also did not make notes about mothers who are single because they never married or mothers who are single due to death of a spouse or partner. Also, even if you are not single I thought there were quite a few nuggets to be gleamed for all families in this chapter, so read on!
First, the authors open this chapter with the talks they held with a group of single mothers and she notes, “All of the women were the primary caretakers for their children. Even in-joint custody arrangements, the women reported that they still performed all the essential functions of shopping for clothes, arranging doctor appointments, getting children haircuts, and the like. When emergency calls were made from school, it was almost never the father who left work to pick up the child. The joint custody was not entirely “joint” and certainly not equal.”
This chapter has sections on Shattered Ideals, The Guilty Party, Everyday Conflicts, The Lonely Parent, and Making Peace as a Family.
I think one section that could be beneficial to all families is the section on “The Lonely Parent.” I liked the mother who said on page 117, “As one mother reflected, “The hardest thing is letting go, especially since I sometimes feel lonely. I want us to share more. But I believe that children retreat from “needy” parents. If we are personally fulfilled, they pick up on that and are more willing to be open with us….” The authors go on to talk about how it is not that children are incapable of “empathy, love, or generous gestures – just that their egocentricity is a basic reality.” In the view of Waldorf Education, a child is not considered full grown until age 21, and I think the authors have noted well that whilst children have capacity for all sorts of things, we should not expect them to rise up and be adults because these children are not.
I also liked this on page 117: “I have heard parenting described as a “thankless” task, and often it seems that way. Many a parent has complained that their children do not seem to understand or appreciate all the time and effort that goes into making their lives better. So much energy and emotion is invested in trying to fill our children’s needs and make them happy that sometimes we grow furious when children seem lacking in gratitude.”
There were also good nuggets for all parents to think about in the last section of this chapter. What did you all think about it?