Angry Ann Against Single Moms.

by Vicki Larson

 

Last week, I discovered that I was responsible for all the world’s problems.

 

This was news to me, although my teenagers have been alluding to something like it for a while, just within a smaller world — say, 1,200 square feet on a certain block in a certain town in Northern California.

 

But because I am a single mom, I am guilty, accused by Ann Coulter, conservative political commentator, columnist and author. Coulter recently declared on the “Today Show,” where she was promoting her new book, “Guilty: Liberal ‘Victims’ and Their Assault on America,” that single motherhood was "a recipe to create criminals, strippers, rapists, murderers."

 

Funny — I think my two boys have other plans.

 

But since there are basically two ways to get noticed in this two-minute sound-bite world — pushing sex or outrageousness, and Coulter happens to be the mistress of both — the messenger often obscures the message. I wanted to delve further.

 

So I read “Guilty” — not the whole book, just the juicy bits on single moms — and I couldn’t help noticing how I’ve heard most of this before, most recently in an article in Slate last year written by Emily Yoffe, aka Dear Prudence, the magazine’s advice columnist. In fact, Coulter cites Yoffe’s article.

 

And both Coulter and Yoffe target women who get knocked up out-of-wedlock but keep their babies anyway and single moms by choice (and I felt a bit relieved that Coulter says divorced moms shouldn’t latch onto the single mom category, although she has other unkind things to say about us). And there are more and more women choosing that path.

 

But blaming all the world’s ills on us — I mean, them — bothers me. I know a handful of kids who were swept up in the middle of the night and sent to wilderness programs who came from wealthy, white, traditional families. Two-parent families mess up, too; just ask any shrink or read an Augusten Burroughs memoir. Although Coulter cites numerous studies about single mothers, without knowing what else is going on — addictions, abuse, mental illness, poverty (and single moms are among the poorest, according to Census data) and just plain ol’ bad parenting — it’s likely skewed. And nowhere do we know what percentage of kids from single-parent families end up as criminals and strippers — 50 percent? 5 percent? .05 percent? Plus, most of the studies date from the 1990s; I’d like to know what’s changed.

 

And everything’s changing. More people are OK with hookups and cohabitation; more young men are getting vasectomies; more couples are choosing to be child-free; more men are skittish about marriage, perhaps rightfully so given divorce laws; more women are becoming choice mothers, even in their 20s — we are morphing into something very different from the 1950s Cleaver family model and we’re not going back.

 

What good is it to point fingers?

 

cheermom079
03.06.09

Even though I'm not a single mom, my mother was. She worked two jobs and three kids to raise. Despite what Ann Coulter may think, my mother was a great role model. She taught us girls not to settle for less than we deserve, to work hard for what we want, and that's it's okay to walk away from a relationship that's not good for you. She taught my brother the same things and how to be respectful to women. Sorry Ann, but none of us are drug dealers, strippers, or thugs. I am celebrating my 11 year wedding anniversay, I have three kids, and work for a top knotch Real Estate firm. My brother served two tours in Iraq, has two sons, and a lovely wife. My sister is also married with two sons and lives happily on the West coast. So, suck on that Ann Coulter!

Nobiwan
02.13.09

Listening to Ann Coulter about anything may well be hazardous to your health, at least your mental health. Most of what she claims is spurious at best, and a great deal of it is at least partially plagiarized from other sources. The woman lacks logic to a degree that is utterly astounding, too.

Example: Liberals are bad and single moms are bad, ergo single moms are all liberals. This is patently not true, I've known many single mothers who were staunch Republicans. I've also known many single dads, and deadbeat moms.

Being a single parent is just plain difficult no matter what else may be going on. You lack the back-up and second pair of hands to give you a break when you need it. You lack the option of a second income, which can hurt a great deal. This could be alleviated with a little help from the state, but just ask Ann Coulter if we should support single parents so they can be better at being parents. She'd then go on a tirade about the evils of the welfare state. Ann Coulter is a person who isn't happy unless she has something to complain about, period.

vlarson
01.29.09

TheOracle — thanks for the kind words.

Parenting in and of itself is hard enough. Anyone doing a good job — married, single, divorced — needs support. As a society, I wish we were better at that. Our kids are, after all, our future.

vlarson
01.29.09

Thanks, PJsMom.

I always thought everyone else had the picture-perfect family when I was growing up. Then I realized, no one did.

However, I want my boys to believe that!

vlarson
01.29.09

Hmm, she just might have a section in her book about that ... ;-)

vlarson
01.29.09

Not to put words in Coulter's mouth (I'm sure it's squirmy in there), but there are exceptions to every rule. Studies show that not every single mom has been as successful as you have; in fact, most have not.

As a society, there are ramifications for that. So, how and what should the discussion be about as a society?

vlarson
01.29.09

Rob,
I'd hate to see divorce go away — sometimes, it needs to happen. But, yes, happy marriages create happy kids.

"One of the many myths of our divorce culture is that divorce automatically rescues children from an unhappy marriage. Indeed, many parents cling to this belief as a way of making themselves feel less guilty."

Coulter didn't say this — that's from "The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study (2000), by Judith S. Wallerstein, Julia M. Lewis and Sandra Blakeslee .

Rob in Madrid
01.28.09

You have to understand that Ann Coulter isn't about debate or even propaganda but simply selling books. In an age of 500 channels YouTube and iphones you need to stand out. Since you can't blame everything on the Jews the next best thing is liberals. But even that enough anymore, you need a gimmick that will get media attention. And as they say in America "If it Bleeds it leads". Same principal applies to here find a good target and go for it, and judging by the reaction here she's good at it.

Besides that she does bring up an important point which those on the left prefer not to discuss. Teen pregnancy and divorce are both fast paths to poverty. As the authors in the Millionaire next door book note those that reach the millionaire net worth all have one thing in common, a strong marriage. As my brother in law would say, nothing destroys your finances faster than a divorce. Not to mention that damage divorce does to kids.

harrierin
01.28.09

Well, I can't help but wonder what sort of families all of us single moms came from...I got knocked up (out of wedlock) right after high-school and I came from the 'traditional' two-parent family...no divorces. As did many other single-moms I know. So, if single parents are the root of all evil how would Ann Coulter explain me and the many like me? My theory is parenting is just plain HARD, despite your marital status--there are just way too many things going on underneath the surface of every family to blame one type over another. Coulter is absurd! By the way, I did finish college while supporting myself AND I make enough money to keep me well above the 'poverty' line--all without the help of my parents!

melissmoor
01.28.09

Ann Coulter makes me want to smoke crack...