Single mothers face distinct struggles
By DILLON ROSENBLATT
Parenting is hard. Two people come together and bring life into this world, planning everything out for nine months. It can be costly, yet rewarding and it is something that will never end.
Now imagine what it must be like for someone to do it alone. Yesenia Rodriguez, 19, is a single mother to twin boys, 14-month old Gabriel and Yusmeiro who are 14 months old.
“The biggest challenge I face is trying to date other people," she said. "Guys seem to get scared away as soon as they hear the words ‘I have a kid’ let alone two kids."
She said she did not plan on having kids so young, but she would not change a thing because she has “never loved anything as much as these boys.”
Although she is a single mom, Rodriguez is not alone. There are single parenting meet up groups for single parents with children between infantry and 14 years old. These groups meet to go to see a movie, to the fair and many more fun things.
A handful of these parents would agree with Rodriguez about the hardships of dating with one or more children at home, but dating is not the only problem single parents face on a daily basis.
Between the costs of diapers, daycare and clothes, trying to maintain a full-time job working at least 30 hours a week to be able to afford food, rent, car payments, and the possibility that the single parent is a student means even more payments to make or loans to take.
Dawn, who would not reveal her last name for privacy reasons, created singlemotherguide.com based on her experience as a single mother of a 6-year-old girl in Georgia.
Her site is dedicated to showing facts and statistics to make people aware of the struggles single mothers face when trying to make ends meet. She wrote that most information she is aware of can be found on her website with links to each state and how to find help for single mothers in that area.
Specifically for Arizona, this information regarding the state’s cash assistance program can be found on the site: “The Cash Assistance Program provides temporary cash assistance and supportive services to the most vulnerable Arizona children and their families. Eligible families are limited to no more than 24 months of cash benefits. Those receiving cash benefits are required to complete and sign an agreement to engage in work activities through the Jobs Program — Arizona’s mandatory employment and training program.”
Rodriguez said she was aware of these programs Arizona offered, but it was not needed as she takes time off from school to raise her twin boys.
“I plan to go back to school in maybe three years once I feel confident enough that I can balance being a mom, working part-time or full-time and being a student on the side,” she said. “It’s a challenging job being a single parent, but help comes to those who seek it and I have a lot of people who are willing to help me out.”