As it first appeared in the Beaumont Enterprise
No Contest. The Single Mother is the Heroine.
She loves and adores her children just as other mothers do. She continues to mother through all her heartaches as the children struggle to adapt to their own disappointments. She delays her dreams and instills hope in their hearts. She endures thankless jobs and encourages her children to dream. She performs the mundane chores and keeps hoping for a brighter future. She often receives no financial assistance. And yet society accuses her. If she divorced, she is acted selfishly. If she is abused, she chose wrongly. Even the widow with children is not considered a whole, but an incomplete family unit.
How is it we don’t’ see—or refuse to acknowledge—mothers stay to raise the children while—men leave. And yet we discriminate against the mother with headlines like “Are Single Moms Ruining American.” How is it we consider single moms the victims, not from another, but victims of their own choices?
How is it we can allow so many of our children’s fathers to escape paying for the basic essentials while the single mothers can’t hold jobs without a good education and can’t get that without the funds to pay for it?
How is it we are not outraged that in 2002 nearly 40% of female-headed families with children under 18 officailly lived in poverty?
Are we refusing to accept obvious solutions due to our preconceived notions? Haven’t we all made mistakes and poor choices? How is it the single mother is left alone to shoulder the consequences for a choice she didn’t make alone? Rarely do any of millions of single moms intentionally plan to raise their children alone without the support of a partner. Single mom families come in various styles. Most come to it after a defeat such as a death or divorce. Expectations of raising children in a two-parent home are spoiled. Their disappointment is compounded by the economic fact that they can’t break the cycle. There are ways to break this cycle. I visited one of them recently. The Buckner Family Place in Lufkin collaborates with government agencies and colleges to provide housing and childcare for single parent families striving for self sufficiency.
As stated in their brochure, Buckner Family Place programs help participants break the cycle of welfare dependence, reduce domestic violence in homes, and eliminate incidents of child abuse while building stronger families through security and education.
After meeting with administrators I met a few of the moms. I saw how a genuine caring program can break the cycle of poverty and build confidence and job skills. It is ‘creating futures’ for moms and their children.
Mothers are given the gift of hope. Hope goes a long way towards creating a future. In the U.S. over ten million single mothers carry the load, continue on, and hope for a better day. The hope perched in her soul keeps her going.
Many successful people were raised by single mothers. Ed Bradley, CBS news correspondent, Maya Angelou, Pulitzer Prize, Tony, and Emmy Award winner, Lady Bird Johnson were all raised by a single mother. Though my three grown children are not famous they are doing very well. Our lives were forever altered by divorce and we often experienced genuine despair. Our economic status changed drastically. My children learned early a life lived well requires optimism, hard work, and hope.
No contest—the single mom is the Mother of the Year.
Gail holds a degree from Lamar University in Speech and a Master’s from the University of Texas. She married Sam after raising three children as a single mother. She was an educator in regular and special education for eighteen years, finishing her professional career as a Braille teacher. In 2007 She founded SMORE for Women. SMORE is a nonprofit association whose goal is Single Moms, Overjoyed, Rejuvenated, & Empowered. She is a Women’s Transition Coach and her stories have been published in several Christian books and magazines.