Who is the archetypal American single mother? Is she a divorced professional who juggles motherhood and a stressful career in a frenzied attempt to “have it all”? Or is she a young, unwed mother, unemployed and welfare-bound? The truth is, there is no archetypal single mother, regardless of what entertainment and media would have us believe. These two familiar extremes ignore the myriad ways in which women become single mothers, as well as the diversity of the women themselves. What about single mothers who happen to be lesbians, or women of color, or working class women? Those characters, and their struggles, aren't easily found on prime-time TV sitcoms or among book club selections.
Staceyann Chin is a multitasking single mother. When I first spoke with her, she was standing at the curb in front of her Brooklyn apartment building, one arm reaching out to hail a taxi to pick up her daughter, the other holding her phone to her ear. Sound familiar?