Being a single parent is a hard job. The constant struggle of wanting to excel in your career to provide the best possible life for your child, while also wanting to develop a close bond with your child, is a never-ending and frustrating part of a single parent’s life. Single mothers, in particular, have it extra hard as they have to deal with the added taunts and jeers of society. Many Korean television series have portrayed this struggle accurately and honestly. The challenges, triumphs, and complexities faced by single mothers are endless, yet many of them portray superb determination and resilience to try to balance the work-life balance. Read ahead to know about such strong single mothers as portrayed by K-dramas.
1. Not Others
This family comedy-drama features Jeon Hye Jin, Choi Soo Young, Ahn Jae Wook, and Park Sung Hoon in the cast. Careless teen mother Kim Jin Hee and her cool-as-a-cucumber daughter Kim Eun Mi are caught up in constant bickering due to their different personalities. Things start to change when a man comes into Jin Hee’s life. Brimming with dry humor and brutally realistic family relationships, Not Others is a fantastic watch.
Moving is one of the most talked-about Korean dramas of 2023. This supernatural drama follows the lives of three high school students with magical abilities as they get caught in a struggle between the world’s most powerful government. The parents of these magically-endowed kids, who are south Korean spies, work together to protect their children from harm. Lee Mi Hyun (played by Han Hyo Jo) raises her son Kim Bong Seok (Lee Jung Ha) alone after her partner’s accident. Moving has plenty of adorable parent-children moments.
3. When The Camellia Blooms
After a series of personal setbacks, single mother Oh Dong Baek moves to the charming small town of Ongjin and opens up a bar named Camellia there. Facing the twin challenges of raising a child alone and receiving constant taunts and whispers about her being a single mother, life isn’t easy for Dong Baek. Local police chief and town do-gooder Hwang Yu Sik comes back to his hometown after a demotion and encounters the beautiful and hardworking Dong Baek, and both fall in love with each other. This drama is a perfect small-town romance with the barest hint of murder mystery.
4. Kill Boksoon
While this is not a drama, Kill Boksoon accurately portrays a single mother struggling to achieve a work/life balance. Professional assassin slash killer Gil Boksoon is at the height of her career working for a top firm, but feels like her shortcomings as a mother are stacking up. Balancing work and life as a single mom is kind of hectic, and things go from worse to dire when Boksoon’s daughter Jae Young kills her classmate. Facing a broken mother-daughter bond and twisty office politics, Boksoon must fight her way out. This dark violent action movie will give you all the thrill you want paired with superb cinematography.
5. Twenty-Five Twenty-one
While single mother or single parenting isn’t the theme of this drama, the female lead’s mother was someone who couldn’t understand why she didn’t have a proper relationship with her daughter. Na Hee Do and her mother Shin Jae Kyung are constantly at odds, and both feel like the other person doesn’t understand them. Hee Do and her mother drifted apart after her father’s death, and Hee Do doesn’t believe that things can be fixed between them. Twenty-Five Twenty-One portrays a frayed but mother-daughter relationship, which many viewers will resonate with. In the end, Hee Do and her mother do solve their issues many years later, and it was a heartwarming scene to watch.
6. Was It Love?
Life can be hard as a single mother. Balancing work life and personal doesn’t come easy to Ae Jung, but she tries her best. Struggling to keep her production company afloat, Ae Jung has completely given up on any sort of romance in her life. But love has a way of finding you in unexpected moments. Jung’s life goes from monotone to interesting as four men come forward to woo her. Was it love? beautifully portrays the depth of a mother’s love.
7. Lovers In Bloom
Former boxing champ Moo Goong Hwa takes up a job as a police officer after the death of her husband. She is a determined and resilient individual who raises her daughter alone. For years Goong Hwa has dedicated her life to her job and her daughter, with little regard for her own needs. Enter a recent graduate of the police academy, Cha Tae Jin, who has a strong sense of justice. Camaraderie gives way to friendship and love as Goong Hwa and Tae Jin strive to protect their town. Lovers in Bloom stars Do Ji-han and Im Soo-hyang as the main leads.
8. Welcome To Waikiki
This comedy-drama stars Kim Jung Hyun, Lee Yi Kyung, and Son Seung. Three broke students Dong Goo, Joon Gi, and Doo Sik open up their hostel without having any knowledge as to how to manage one. Close to being bankrupt, the three friends are shocked when a baby is abandoned at their hostel. As these three struggle to maintain a child, the baby’s mother Yoon Ah comes to take back her baby. Welcome to Waikiki manages to weave heartfelt moments into its comedy storyline, as shown by Dong Goo, Joon Gi, and Doo Sik and helping Yoon Ah raise her baby.
9. Five Enough
Widower Lee Sang Tae and single mother Ahn Mi Jeung develop a romantic connection, but feelings like love are complicated when there are children in the mix. Sang Tae lives with his two children at his in-law’s house, and Mi Jeung consistently lies and covers for her three kids’ father who is having an affair. As the story progresses, we see both single parents lean on each other due to their similar circumstances and lifestyles.
10. Marriage Contract
Single mother Kang Hye Soo struggles to make a living as she is burdened by her dead husband’s debts. To ease off some of the pressure and have a chance to give her daughter a normal life, Hye Soo enters into a contract marriage with her chaebol boss. Han Ji Hoon’s mother is in desperate need of a liver transplant, so Ji Hoon needs a wife who will help his mother. Hye Soo and Ji Hoon enter into a mutually agreeable contract, but things get complicated when love comes in between. Kang Hye Soo, played by Uee, is a loving mother as exemplified by her going as far as entering into a fake marriage just so her daughter could live comfortably. This romantic drama will be sure to tug at your heartstrings.