Single-Parent Families Forge the Way for New Traditions

The new normal is just like the old: filled with love.
Promoted byPromoted by Pine-Sol
Dec 8, 2016·
Kelly Bryant is a Los Angeles–based freelance writer covering fashion, pop culture, and parenting for a variety of national publications.

Pine-Sol wants to explore what it means to be a homemaker in today’s world. #MakersOfHome will shine the spotlight on the modern-day families with an understanding of how the homemaker evolved over the years. And together with TakePart, Pine-Sol wants to redefine “homemaker,” break down stereotypes, and bring to light the new #MakersOfHome. From a blended family with adoptive children to a family with a special-needs child, these stories bring home the message that as families have changed, so must the image in our minds of who is responsible for making today’s homes.

The dynamic of the “typical” American family has been evolving for decades, so much so that the category is becoming obsolete. In 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that there are 12 million single-parent families in the United States, with more than 80 percent of those headed by single mothers.

This statistic is no surprise to Karina Carmen Velasco, who made the decision to become a single parent when her son Remy was 10 months old. While she knew it was the right choice for them, coming to that conclusion certainly wasn’t easy.

“I faced enormous social pressures,” she says. “I was told so many things, and in the early parts I think things were so difficult because I was really taking all that noise in and I was having guilt.”

A professional flamenco dancer and producer of world music, Velasco was told repeatedly that she couldn’t continue to be a working artist and her son’s primary caregiver. One of her passions would have to take a backseat. She refused to be discouraged.

“What they don’t tell you, actually, being a working artist means that I can be available,” she says. “I don’t have to compromise the thing that is the most important thing in my life, which is being a mother.”

The challenges single parents face are exponential. One in four children are being raised without a father, and almost half of these families live below the poverty line. According to the American Psychological Association, poverty not only impacts kids at home, but in school and in their community as well. Children from lower-income families are at greater risk for poor academic achievement, with their dropout rate registering at more four times that of children from higher-income families. The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development asserts that a single parent of two has to work 50 hours a week at minimum wage to transition out of poverty. Finances are just one hardship faced by single parents.

For Velasco, having the flexibility to stay present in her son’s life is integral to their success in the face of life’s many tests.

“I wear a lot of hats. I do everything from the cooking to the cleaning to the grocery shopping— all of it,” she says. “I do the parenting at home. I’m the teacher because I home school. I’m certainly not a traditional homemaker, but I’m doing the absolute best that I can every day.”

Each day might feel overwhelming for single parents doing it on their own, but Velasco serves as an inspiration for those making it work.

“My son is extremely understanding of who I am, and I’m extremely understanding of who he is,” she says. “Love, truth, and dignity—everything you do that’s emanating from a place of love in a home is going to make the home. It’s that simple.”