What are the real consequences of having children out-of-wedlock?

I've always wondered how single moms do it--especially those who have somehow managed to raise successful and emotionally stable children without a partner's physical, mental and financial support. Although that's not the norm for most single moms, the reality is that they are out there because I know at least three, with one of them being my own aunt.

My mom's eldest sister was not only able to successfully raise her two children, now a grown man and woman, by herself, but she did so far away from her homeland and her family. 


Read more in ¿Qué más?: Is it wrong for unmarried couples to have children?

Sadly, though, my cousins' case seems to be the exception to the rule. Study after study prove that children being raised by a single parent have a higher risk of falling into poverty, have lower scores on standardized tests, poorer grades and an increased likelihood of dropping out of high school or failing to attend college--all of which pretty much sounds like a viscious circle from which it sounds impossible for anybody to break free.

An article in The New York Times last weekend showcased two women--the owner of a daycare center and her assitant director--and how incredibly different their lives are mostly because the former is a married mom while the latter is raising three kids on her own. Titled "Two Classes, Divided by 'I Do'" it pretty much proved that there's a huge disparity between single moms and married moms.

And it's not all about money. While raising children in a two-income household is obviously much better than in one where there's only one breadwinner, the factor that impacted me the most is how difficult it would be for me to be the kind of mom I am if I were raising my children on my own. 

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I honestly don't know how I'd be able to manage without my husband. And I'm not talking finances here--since I'm the one with the full-time job--no, I'm talking sharing parental responsibilites, which we do pretty successfully in my household. While unmarried households and out-of-wedlock births have pretty much become the norm among my generation, there is lots to be learned from the Times article about the real consequences of the rise in this trend. 

What do you think? Share your thoughts with us by leaving us a comment below. 

Image via USACE Europe District/flickr

Topics: child rearing  child support  single parents