Single Women Prioritizing Each Other

The workshop for single women was the groundbreaking Co-Counseling workshop for which my heart has been yearning for the last fifteen years. My life as a single Latina Catholic woman made more sense after spending the weekend led by Diane and Tokumbo in the company of over a hundred single women.

One of the toughest aspects of being single is that often we are no one’s priority. I have lots of friends, but their cancellation rate on our planned activities is about thirty to fifty percent. I’m an easy cancel when they get a phone call from a husband, child, or grandchild in need of something. Society is organized around the marriage relationship and the nuclear family. If you are a single woman without children, you are often excluded from this societal construct.

After a particularly bad experience with the above, I decided to move out of a mostly middle-class nuclear-family neighborhood into a poor and working-class Latino/a neighborhood with a history of community activism. People here think more about the well-being of their neighbors.

I enjoy having good neighbors. And I am regarded as a thoughtful and committed community member, godmother, friend, and co-worker. I’ll work overtime to cover for a co-worker mom who’s juggling family responsibilities. I add resource in a number of ways to the lives of overburdened wives and moms. But it is challenging to think about my needs as a single woman.

Diane reminded us repeatedly to take charge of our lives. It’s easy as single women to feel powerless in the face of a society and culture not set up for us. Diane encouraged us to build relationships with other single women and decide to be one another’s priority.

My immigrant Latina Catholic mother often seemed overwhelmed and burdened as she cared for five children and tried to handle the sexism in her marriage. My father is a good man, but he never changed a diaper. I made an early decision to not need or ask for much, to be as self-sufficient as possible. I’m discovering other single women who made a similar decision—one that can make it hard to be in a relationship with a man. If we don’t have a clear, strong voice about our own needs, it’s hard to challenge sexism in the institution of marriage.

As we build our capacity to think about ourselves, I think we will take on [undertake] eliminating societal sexism in bolder and more powerful ways.

“Maria Puentes”

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion listfor leaders of women

(Present Time 193, October 2018)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00