7 beautiful insights about single parents from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg

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Widowed over a year ago, Sheryl Sandberg, the single mum-of-two is inspiring mums the world over with her strength and wisdom

Ranked as one of the 50 most successful women in business, it’s not hard to see why Sheryl Sandberg is an inspiration to many women across the world.

But it is not just her success in co-helming tech giant Facebook that deserves applause.

When she lost her husband, Dave Goldberg, due to a freak accident while they were vacationing in Mexico a little over a year ago, she found herself facing a new uphill climb: being a single mum.

Raising her two kids all on her own wasn’t exactly what she pictured for her life just 11 years after tying the knot with the love of her life—but it's what she’d been dealt.

And so, in true powerhouse woman fashion, she managed to push through, embracing the highs and lows, taking what wisdom she can and using it to inspire others.

Just a few days after her husband’s first death anniversary, she took to Facebook to share a touching message dedicated to mothers around the world.

As the message is shared, giving encouragement to women around the world, it doesn’t only celebrate single mums but also sheds light on important societal issues that affect them.

Read the post in its entirety below.

Here are some of the beautiful insights we can draw from Sheryl's message which is as timely as it powerful.

Single parents acknowledge self-doubt

Though she lost her husband over a year ago, Sheryl acknowledges that solo parenting is a “new and unfamiliar world”.

It’s overwhelming and Sheryl shares how often she would find herself not knowing what to do when, for instance, she needs to calm her crying child.

Sacrifice is part of their daily routine

Sheryl knows that, unlike her, many single parents can't enjoy the comforts of financial success. But she acknowledges how admirable these struggling parents are. Because they are able to “push through barriers and nurture beautiful families despite the demands on their time and energy."

“Poverty is one of the hidden and devastating aftereffects of loss for women," she writes. The difficulty of having to make ends meet while rearing well-adjusted kids is not lost on Sheryl.

More admirable things about single parents on the next page

Loss deepens them but does not define them

Her husband’s absence is part of their daily lives. And she doesn't deny how vital having a loving and supporting partner is.

“Before Dave died, I had a partner who shared both the joys and responsibilities of parenting. Then, without any warning, I was on my own,” she writes.

But this great loss redefined what it is to be a mother and highlighted what she has left to be grateful for.

Single parents draw strength from their children

She recounts the story of Connie Sparks, a single mum and survivor of domestic violence, who gathered all of her courage to leave her abusive husband and raise her four kids on her own.

“[I] want to celebrate women like Connie. I think we all owe it to single mothers to recognise that the world does not make it easy for them, especially for those who struggle to make ends meet,” writes Sheryl.

Connie strived to finish her college degree, inspiring all her daughters to finish college as well. Now, Connie runs her own successful company which helps women start their own businesses.

More admirable things about single parents on the next page

Single parents will endure anything for their children

Though single parents’ stories and struggles vary, the one thing they have in common is the “desire to provide the best possible opportunities for their children”.

This isn’t always easy if you’re living from paycheck to paycheck, not even entitled to adequate and well compensated maternity leave.

“Forty percent of families headed by a single mother in the United States live in poverty, compared to just 22 percent of families headed by a single father and 8 percent of married couple families,” shares Sheryl.

Despite this lack of support from their community, Sheryl lauds them, saying: “[W]e all too often leave the families who are struggling the most to fend for themselves. The odds are stacked against single mothers in this country. Yet so many give everything they have and go on to raise incredible children.”

Solo parents are not the only ones who need support

She urges companies to rethink what they believe a “typical family” looks like. Families can have solo parents or same-sex parents, this doesn’t make them any less entitled to privilege and love.

“We need to build a world where families are embraced and supported and loved no matter how they fit together,” she writes. “We need to understand that it takes a community to raise children and that so many of our single mothers need and deserve a much more supportive community than we give them. We owe it to them and to their children to do better. We must do more as leaders, as coworkers, as neighbors, and as friends.”

Being a single parent is a humbling and important role

She ends by urging her fellow single parents to value themselves and one another. “Being a mother is the most important—and most humbling—job I’ve ever had,” marvels Sheryl. “As we rightly celebrate motherhood, we should give special thanks to the women who are raising children on their own. And let’s vow to do more to support them, every day.”

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(Image courtesy: HuffingtonPost)

Written by

Bianchi Mendoza

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