Many of us single mothers don’t start out planning to be that. But sometimes, life dishes out circumstances we don’t expect — divorces, deaths, one-night stands, you name it. Then again, there are plenty of proud solo moms who got where they are on purpose, with a ton of planning (and blood and sweat and tears like the rest of us). But if there’s one thing that unites every single mom, not matter how we got here, it’s that single motherhood has made us wiser, stronger and more resilient that we were before. Plus, we’re lucky in that many of our kids are, of course, our child first and foremost — but they can become our best friends, too.
Of course, all that sunshiney stuff doesn’t mean single motherhood isn’t hard as hell. In fact, for many of us, being a single mom is the most isolating, tiring and difficult thing I’ve ever done. But at least we’re not alone in it: According to the U.S. census data, as of 2019, there were 11 million single-parent families with kids under 18 living in the U.S. Of those 11 million, 80% are helmed by moms.
But this is not the reality reflected back to us via film and TV. Instead, the majority of shows and movies we see depict nuclear family stereotypes, which only serves to further marginalize single mothers and our families by ensuring that the majority of TV viewers have…pretty much no idea what single motherhood is like. It also makes us single moms feel like we can never measure up to “normal.”
That’s why we need more of our stories on screens. When we single moms watch shows that are realistic depictions of what single motherhood is truly like, it’s inspiring and a relief to see ourselves represented. And when others watch these shows, they realize: We’re here, too.
Here are 13 shows we need more of — the ones that get single motherhood right.