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Success Stories - for my fellow single moms.

Posted by on Jun. 15, 2012 at 11:04 AM
  • 33 Replies
3 moms liked this

I know I'm not the only single mom here fed up with all of the negative posts about single parent families so I thought I'd start a thread to focus on the positive.  I found this article that I thought I'd share (I'll be searching for more.)  It's old, but it makes some great points and is encouraging.  I'm going to look for the book this weekend.

Please find other success stories and share them here.  I'd like for this thread to not be a place to share personal stories (I'll go bump the thread I started for that a few months ago) but rather success stories you can find on the internet.  I think it'll bring us all some encouragement when some people seem so dead set against us. And if you share personal stories some people are going to jump in and judge because they have nothing better in life to do.

Single-Parent Success Stories

Richard Louv

February 4, 1999

In today's culture of blame, single parents are credited with crime, the welfare mess and, probably in retrospect, the Crimean War.

The news isn't good. A quarter of U.S. children now live with single parents, according to a report released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau. Kids raised by single parents can face some difficult odds; society isn't doing enough to prepare young people for marriage, to discourage teen pregnancy or to nurture the two-parent family.

Still, the growing number of single parents is a fact.

Six years ago, Shoshana Alexander, a founding editor of the Utne Reader and a single parent herself, set out to write "In Praise of Single Parents" (Houghton Mifflin), a book that does not romanticize single parents but focuses on the dynamics of success in the role.

Her first point is that good single parenting is possible and may be preferable to an unsalvageable marriage.

"One woman I interviewed, who had worked hard to earn a doctorate in chemistry, was married to a physically and emotionally abusive husband," says Alexander. "She endured the abuse in part because she believed deeply that the two-parent family was best for the child."

But then, while on a train trip with her daughter, she met an impressive 21-year-old woman -- who had been raised by a single parent.

Knowing now that it was possible, despite the odds, to be a successful single parent, the woman left her abusive husband.

This mother then exhibited one of the three characteristics that Alexander identifies in successful single parents. She gave up the assumption that some shining knight would ride up in a BMW.

"She decided to commit herself to being a single parent," says Alexander. "She deferred her dream of a doctorate and returned to school to earn a teaching credential. She did this so that her work schedule could be coordinated with her daughter's schedule, so that her daughter would not have to be home alone.

"All of the successful single parents I interviewed, all of them, had, early on, decided to make their children the central focus of their lives," Alexander says. "That's the second characteristic of good single parents."

Good single parents, perhaps more than married parents, must sacrifice for their children.

One single father, a lawyer, told Alexander how he had cut back his caseload. His family and friends told him he was nuts, that he had ruined his ability to be a success. But he was determined to put his children first.

Not that it was easy. He was astonished at how poorly he had been prepared to be a parent. "I felt like I was standing on a prow of a ship looking through the fog. I felt totally isolated, not knowing where I was going in the storm," he told Alexander.

Over time, he learned. He began waking up every morning at 5 a.m. to get breakfast for his four children; before he sent them off to school, he would sit down and focus on each of them, talk with them. This ritual became the focus of his day.

Which sounds like a good approach for all parents.

The third element of successful single parenting, according to Alexander, is to extend the family -- to make sure you have a wide supportive web of relatives, friends and institutions.

"One single mom made sure that her close friends became `other mothers' to her child. Her daughter came to call them that, the `other mothers,' and as the child grew into her teens she began to spend more and more time with them." When the mom worried about her daughter, she would call her friends and ask how she was doing. Without breaking their confidences with her daughter, the friends would be reassuring: Her daughter was doing fine, and so was she.

"I came to think of so many of the single parents I interviewed as heroes," she says. "They're heroes in the classic sense, in that the good ones are on a journey not only for themselves but for someone beyond them."

All good parents are heroes, and Alexander does not wish to romanticize single parents. She risks this by focusing too much in her book on relatively affluent single parents -- but she does want to give a little credit where it's due.


Richard Louv is Senior Editor of Connect for Kids and columnist for The San Diego Union-Tribune. He is also author of "101 Things You Can Do for Our Children's Future" (Anchor) and "The Web of Life" (Conari).

http://sparkaction.org/node/34

*I posted earlier and then someone wanted to bring her typical negative attitude to it so I deleted the thread - I won't be responding this time. 

by on Jun. 15, 2012 at 11:04 AM
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Replies (1-10):
krysstizzle
by DeepThought on Jun. 15, 2012 at 11:10 AM
Bump till I can get on the laptop and pull up my stories.
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Tanya93
by on Jun. 15, 2012 at 11:28 AM
3 moms liked this
I find this one incredibly awesome.

A former student of mine received a free ride to my university.
she takes it but commuted 40 minutes each way from home to keep her job and save on housing.

End of freshman year, she gets pregnant. They get married and she still goes to school.

In early, 2011 she finds out they are expecting again. But with her scholarship and their jobs, they are fine. It's affordable.


3 weeks after they learn she is pregnant he is killed by a drunk driver.
she takes a semester off to grieve and them jumps back in. She had her second child and went back to class 10 days later.

She now has an internship this summer and grandmas are watching the kids. She will graduate a year late, but had already been offered a job starting 10 days after graduation.

She didn't let the tragedy stop the dreams they had for her job and how they could care for he kids.


I love this girl and will be screaming at her graduation.
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punky3175
by Punky on Jun. 15, 2012 at 11:31 AM

That is an amazing story.  Thank you for sharing.  It's great to see that despite the tragedy in her life she's moving forward and succeeding.  

Quoting Tanya93:

I find this one incredibly awesome.

A former student of mine received a free ride to my university.
she takes it but commuted 40 minutes each way from home to keep her job and save on housing.

End of freshman year, she gets pregnant. They get married and she still goes to school.

In early, 2011 she finds out they are expecting again. But with her scholarship and their jobs, they are fine. It's affordable.


3 weeks after they learn she is pregnant he is killed by a drunk driver.
she takes a semester off to grieve and them jumps back in. She had her second child and went back to class 10 days later.

She now has an internship this summer and grandmas are watching the kids. She will graduate a year late, but had already been offered a job starting 10 days after graduation.

She didn't let the tragedy stop the dreams they had for her job and how they could care for he kids.


I love this girl and will be screaming at her graduation.

 

Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Jun. 15, 2012 at 11:32 AM
1 mom liked this

= )

Out of 8 adult cousins, all of us raised in divorced homes with absentee fathers, 4 of us have married. We have all had children, and two of us have been married longer than our parents. One of my cousins has never been married and doesn't have any children, but he has been in a long-term relationship for 12 years. The other three have never been engaged and have no children.

I had to save because my internet connection was fading.........

I wanted to continue to say that being raised by women solely, we are all fiercely independent. Sadly, my sister will probably never remarry because of her independence. My cousin and I who are both married with children married in our 30's. We have a lot in common, too. The two who have been divorced both married and had children by 20 and were separated within 3 years. My point is that age, maturity and the ability to make reasonable, rational decisions can be honed with age. ( I'm not trying to invalidate people who marry young and have successful marriages)

My mom told me that all she ever really wanted to be was a wife and a mother. Sadly, my father was neglectful and abusive. She endured the marriage and put on a smile in public until my father started breaking her spirit and her bones. She left when he turned his abuse on us. My mom was fearful. Not only did she have us, but she had my Aunt who is 10 years younger than she is. Both of her parents died when she was 16.

My mom never accepted any kind of PA until she went back to school. She got her BA and landed a very successful job that she worked at for 25 years and retired from.

IMO single parents in general cannot be lumped together. Some choose to be single parents and some are forced to be.

I have had my fair share of issues with my mother. I will always respect her. Now that I'm a mother, I can't imagine not being able to count on a spouse. I won't even attempt to comment on or give advice to a single mother. I've never been one.

OHgirlinCA
by Platinum Member on Jun. 15, 2012 at 11:34 AM
1 mom liked this

 Single moms don't necessarily suck!  Good post :)

My kids were better off when I became a single mother and got away from my emotionally/mentally abusive husband.  I went back to school, graduated, started a career, and was able to take care of my children.  And no, I was never on PA while I was a single mom. 

Since then, I have met a wonderful man and remarried.  But being a single mom for a bit was the best thing for not only myself, but my children as well.  I can't stand it when people look down on someone simply because they're a single mom.  Especially when they don't know that woman's situation.

punky3175
by Punky on Jun. 15, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Thanks to Arrorree for creating a thread with this story in it:

 
Wil Smith visited StoryCorps with his daughter, Olivia, in Sheffield, Mass.
Enlarge StoryCorps

Wil Smith visited StoryCorps with his daughter, Olivia, in Sheffield, Mass.

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June 15, 2012

In 1996, Wil Smith enrolled as a freshman at Maine's Bowdoin College. At 27, he had recently finished serving in the Navy. But he set off for school with his one-year-old daughter, Olivia, in tow. Now that she's a teenager, Olivia sat down with her dad at StoryCorps to look back on their "college days" together.

"I wasn't planning on having you as my roommate," Wil tells Olivia. "I actually thought that if Bowdoin College knew I had you, they wouldn't let me come to college. So, I hadn't mentioned it to anyone."

To help make ends meet, he got a job working at a Staples office supply store, as a cleaner on the night shift.

"I had to take you in with me at work sometimes and hide you in the closet," Wil recalls with a laugh. "I think I lost something like 27 pounds, just from stress and not eating, because I didn't have enough for both of us."

Wil played for Bowdoin's basketball team. During the 1999 and 2000 seasons, he was the team's co-captain. And to help him focus on his studies, he got some help from his friends.

"My basketball teammates were my first baby-sitters," he says. "I just remember coming from class, and there were four giant guys - and then there was this 18-month-old who was tearing up the room."

Olivia asks, "Were you ever embarrassed bringing me to class? Or just having me in general?"

"I felt a little awkward, but never embarrassed," Wil says. "There were times when the only way I could get through was to come in and look at you and see you sleeping - and then go back to my studies."

Wil graduated from Bowdoin in 2000. He eventually became the school's associate dean of multicultural student programs, a post he kept for 10 years.

"My graduation day from Bowdoin is a day I'll never forget," he says. "You know, all of my classmates, they stood up and gave me the only standing ovation. "

"I remember walking up with you and having my head on your shoulder," Olivia says with a laugh.

"Yeah, the dean called both of our names as he presented us with the diploma."

"So, technically I already graduated from college," Olivia says.

"Nice try," Wil says. "The degree only has my name on it. So you still got to go."

Earlier this year, Wil Smith was diagnosed with cancer; he's now undergoing treatment for stage-three colon cancer. He also serves as the dean of community and multicultural affairs at Berkshire School in Massachusetts.

"I really admire your strength," his daughter says. "And I love you."

"I draw my strength from you," Wil answers. "I always have, and I still do."

punky3175
by Punky on Jun. 15, 2012 at 1:15 PM

 I'm so glad I came back to post the story about the single dad.  I'd read the first part of your post but reading the second part was great.  Your mom is a very strong woman.  I think I may end up like your cousin - my fierce independence may keep me single for a very long time. *shrugs* I'm ok with that though since I have such great friends.

Quoting Veni.Vidi.Vici.:

= )

Out of 8 adult cousins, all of us raised in divorced homes with absentee fathers, 4 of us have married. We have all had children, and two of us have been married longer than our parents. One of my cousins has never been married and doesn't have any children, but he has been in a long-term relationship for 12 years. The other three have never been engaged and have no children.

I had to save because my internet connection was fading.........

I wanted to continue to say that being raised by women solely, we are all fiercely independent. Sadly, my sister will probably never remarry because of her independence. My cousin and I who are both married with children married in our 30's. We have a lot in common, too. The two who have been divorced both married and had children by 20 and were separated within 3 years. My point is that age, maturity and the ability to make reasonable, rational decisions can be honed with age. ( I'm not trying to invalidate people who marry young and have successful marriages)

My mom told me that all she ever really wanted to be was a wife and a mother. Sadly, my father was neglectful and abusive. She endured the marriage and put on a smile in public until my father started breaking her spirit and her bones. She left when he turned his abuse on us. My mom was fearful. Not only did she have us, but she had my Aunt who is 10 years younger than she is. Both of her parents died when she was 16.

My mom never accepted any kind of PA until she went back to school. She got her BA and landed a very successful job that she worked at for 25 years and retired from.

IMO single parents in general cannot be lumped together. Some choose to be single parents and some are forced to be.

I have had my fair share of issues with my mother. I will always respect her. Now that I'm a mother, I can't imagine not being able to count on a spouse. I won't even attempt to comment on or give advice to a single mother. I've never been one.

 

dawnnamarie
by Member on Jun. 15, 2012 at 1:19 PM
I'm a single mother. Well now I'm engaged to my best friend, but that's a whole other story.
I set out when I found out I was pregnant and reevaluated everything. I wa attending a 4 year university and was a semester away from graduating. But the career I chose didn't pay well and money would be very tight. I ended up switching to a community college. Luckily most of my general classes transferred. I took online classes the semester I was pregnant. I even took my laptop to the hospital with me to be able to work on homework while baby was in the nicu. ( she was a couple weeks early and small) I move home to be close to my parents. It was a huge step that I didn't want at the time, but they were the best support I could have asked for. SO passed away in a car accident, but his mother is still really helpful!!! anyway, I graduated in December, got hired at the place I had been doing an internship my last semester, and now have a great career. I work 12 hour rotating shifts, which make daycare difficult. But my mother has quit her job and comes over to stay with DD and soon to be SS. It's hard, because when I'm working I don't see The kids much. But I know that I am able to provide anything they want financially, so it makes it worth it. I also only work around 16 days a month, which means I have to go without spending time with them when I'm working, but I get almost 6 months a year that I'm off and can devote all my time to them!!
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Tanya93
by on Jun. 15, 2012 at 1:23 PM
This is confusing me. You had 100 plus credits at a University but transferred to a cc rather than getting the actual 4 year degree?


Quoting dawnnamarie:

I'm a single mother. Well now I'm engaged to my best friend, but that's a whole other story.

I set out when I found out I was pregnant and reevaluated everything. I wa attending a 4 year university and was a semester away from graduating. But the career I chose didn't pay well and money would be very tight. I ended up switching to a community college. Luckily most of my general classes transferred. I took online classes the semester I was pregnant. I even took my laptop to the hospital with me to be able to work on homework while baby was in the nicu

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dawnnamarie
by Member on Jun. 15, 2012 at 1:27 PM
Sorry submitted too early as was finishing the post. The 4 year was in comm. which starts out slightly over minimum wage. The associates I completed instead made my eligible to get hired at a power plant where I'm making over 25 dollars an hour within 5 months of employment. Thats why I changes degrees.

Quoting Tanya93:

This is confusing me. You had 100 plus credits at a University but transferred to a cc rather than getting the actual 4 year degree?




Quoting dawnnamarie:

I'm a single mother. Well now I'm engaged to my best friend, but that's a whole other story.


I set out when I found out I was pregnant and reevaluated everything. I wa attending a 4 year university and was a semester away from graduating. But the career I chose didn't pay well and money would be very tight. I ended up switching to a community college. Luckily most of my general classes transferred. I took online classes the semester I was pregnant. I even took my laptop to the hospital with me to be able to work on homework while baby was in the nicu

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