By: Amy Troy
I had a wakeup call this week. It was loud and clear. Hats Off to single, working parents.
Some background. I'm about six weeks from delivering my first child. I'm working fulltime, trying to workout daily, spend quality time with my husband, run a household. Days are full. Then throw into the mix the sleepless nights common during the late stages of pregnancy. Ask any woman who's this close to delivery - you'll hear how the baby is bearing down on her organs, so breathing, eating, sleeping -- it all becomes difficult. (My "Mom" friends tell me it's nature's way of preparing you for the sleeplessness & sacrifice you're about to experience for your newborn.)
So far I've been balancing it all -- on a lot less sleep and in a fair amount of discomfort. The key component of the balancing act is my husband, Damien. He's the guy who has dinner ready on nights when I'm working late. He massages tired shoulders and feet. He's the guy with the cheerful smile who cleans when I'm too tired and says "thanks for carrying the baby!"
Last week - he was gone on a business trip. Wow, what a wakeup call. I realized how hard it was to be preparing for this baby and juggling career and domestic demands - alone. Luckily it was just four days.
I did some stat checking with the U.S. Census Bureau and a few groups who track Employment/Family figures. I found a lot of parents are doing it alone everyday.
* Single Moms living with children younger than 18 -- 10.4 Million (Up from 3.4 Million in 1970)
* 67% of all Moms worked during their pregnancy (Up from 44% in the 1960s)
* 55% of all Moms were back to work six months after giving birth (up from 14% in the 1960s)
* 83% of all Moms returned to the same employer/salary/title -- within a year of giving birth.
* A few well-known, successful Americans reared partly or entirely by a single parent: U.S. Presidential Candidate Barack Obama, Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps
* 1914, Congress designates the second Sunday in May for Mother's Day
Oh, one more ... according to the U.S. Census Bureau the week of Sept. 21-27 is "Unmarried and Single Americans Week".
So... from this married, soon-to-be Mom who had but a mere taste of going it alone thanks to a biz trip -- Hats Off to all single, working parents out there.