"Aunt Polly, you know what it's been like since Martha died. […] Truth is, my kids have been running bloody rings around me. Running barefoot with the dogs until all hours. […] What the kids need is a mother. So that's why I'm getting married."Having a single parent in a work isn't uncommon in the slightest. If a character's Missing Mom or Disappeared Dad is explained as being a product of death or Parental Abandonment, though, it's unusually likely for the single parent to be paired up with another character by the end. This can be used to resolve the lack of spouse and parent in one swoop. This will often be a sub-plot within a story, often with the children as main characters. The character may intentionally be looking for a spouse/partner throughout the story, but this often isn't the case. The popularity of this trope may lead one to assume that anytime a widowed parent appears, they will be paired off in the end. If there are two single parents whose children are friendly it's doubly likely. May involve a plot that features Parent with New Paramour, though those cases are not always for the children's sake. Contrast Glamorous Single Mother, who makes being a single parent look easy. Compare Give the Baby a Father, which is when a pregnant woman gets married so she won't be a single parent in the first place.
— John Shelby, Peaky Blinders
- A major plot point of Nanny McPhee is Cedric Brown's necessity to get remarried after his wife's death, due to pressure put on him by the great aunt. By the end of the movie, he marries Evangeline.
- Love Actually. Liam Neeson's character's wife dies at the beginning of the movie and he is forced to raise their child alone. By the end, he is paired up with another woman, be this is an unusual variant of the trope, considering the son is his by marriage.
- Averted in Treasure Planet. Jim's lack of father is given an explicit explantation, but Mrs. Dawkins never enters another relationship.
- The Aristocats. O'Malley says that the kittens need a father around, but it's more of an indirect way of telling Duchess he wants to be with her than him genuinely believing they do. Duchess agrees, but at this point, her attraction to O'Malley has been very well established. So it's more of a "remarrying for ourselves, but won't it be great for the kids?" type of thing. (The kittens' lack of a biological father is never mentioned or explained.)
- In Disney's Enchanted, Robert has an extended relationship with Nancy, but end up with Giselle in the end. Morgan's mother is explicitly mentioned to have 'left,' which is actually pretty dark for a kid's movie.
- Rugrats in Paris has Chuckie's father decide to remarry because he wants to provide a mom for his son. Unfortunately, he's not very good at telling that Chuckie is terrified of his new girlfriend Coco. At the end Chaz marries a different woman, Kira, who too is a single parent.
- In Ever After, Danielle's father remarries when she is eight, shortly after he dies. Unfortunately, her stepmother turns out to be a wicked one
- Used in Glee. Kurt originally tried to pair up his dad and Finn's mom so he would have an excuse to spend more time with Finn. They eventually married, quite appropriate, considering they had both been widowed.
- Peaky Blinders: John Shelby sights his kids as the main reason he needs to remarry.
John: All right? Because, I need someone. All right, the kids need someone.
- The case for King Leopold (Snow White's father) in Once Upon a Time. He's very much still in love with his late wife Queen Eva, but when Regina saves young Snow White from a charging horse, he offers herself as Standard Hero Reward, thinking that someone who would risk their life to save his daughter would be proper stepmother material. Of course, Regina's social climbing bitch of a mother, Queen Cora, is gleeful about this. (It's also possible that, given Leopold's history with Regina's mother, he was trying to get Regina away from said social climbing bitch) Regina really wants to marry a stablehand instead, but Cora tricks Snow into leading her to the stablehand, which gets him killed. Regina blames Snow White instead of putting the blame where it belongs (leading to Regina being the Trope Codifier Evil Stepmother), and proceeds to take out her anger on everyone, including getting Leopold killed.
- Deconstructed a bit in Wives and Daughters, Molly's mother dies when she's a little girl. When she's teenaged, her father thinks she really needs a mother-figure and marries because of it. However, while not being exactly Wicked Stepmother, she's a difficult woman and not helpful at all.
- Annie marries Philip in Enoch Arden largely for her children's sake, and also because he reveals that he has loved her for a long time. She comes to return his affection later.
- In the second Deverry book, a middle-aged widower marries a woman who was divorced by her husband for barrenness because she needs a new home and he needs a wife to help raise the children from his first marriage (whose existence means that her inability to conceive children isn't an issue). In the following book, she gives birth to a son, which causes a great deal of political difficulty, because it implies that her first husband was the sterile one, which means that his lands could be up for grabs once he dies...
- Min Ziqian was a Chinese model of filial piety. After his father discovered that his Wicked Stepmother was dressing her own children warmly, and not his first son, he told her he had married her to have someone to look after his son, and she is not doing it, so he would divorce her. Only Min Ziqian's intervention, reminding him that without her there, none of the children would be looked after, saved her.
- In The Green Knight, the king remarries because his daughter begs him to.
- Comes up in a Jeff Foxworthy bit that starts with him and his wife watching Steel Magnolias, with his wife tearing up over the death of Julia Roberts' character.
Jeff's wife: If I died, would you ever get remarried?
Jeff: No way, baby. After you, no other woman could ever come close.
Wife: That's not the answer I was looking for. If I die, I want you to promise me that you will get remarried.
Jeff: (beat) You're teasing, right?
Wife: No, I'm not teasing. For the sake of the children, please promise me that you will get remarried.
Jeff: Okay...but just for the sake of the children....Hey, you don't think the kids would mind having a young stepmom with some big ol' hooters, do you?
- In Rocket Power, the Missing Mom's disappearance was eventually explained, saying she died. Ray married shortly after this was mentioned.
- Abraham Lincoln's mother died of milk sickness when he was nine. A short time later his father went off for a week and brought home a Widow Woman specifically to be the new mother to his children. The new Mrs. Lincoln already had three children of her own, so the replacement went both directions.
Thomas Lincoln: "I have no wife and you no husband. I came a-purpose to marry you. I knowed you from a gal and you knowed me from a boy. I've no time to lose: and if you're willin' let it be done straight off."
- Truth in Television. This wasn't uncommon through much of human history, especially due to Death By Child Birth being much more common. (Which often left behind children, and sometimes Massive Numbered Siblings) The widower left behind would be expected to remarry to provide his children with a mother. A dead father would often produce a similar result. This was often motivated by the idea that children needed to be raised by a 'mother' and 'father' to flourish.
- This was common enough in the Victorian-era that etiquette books even had guidelines for how long Wife #2 should mourn her dead predecessor (assuming the male remarried during his mourning period).
- In Orthodox Christianity, married men can become priests, but someone who's already a priest can only get married with special permission. The usual allowance is for widowers who still have young children.