How Single Mothers Can Change Their Lives and Their Future

 girl student with books on white

Single Mothers – Education is Your Answer

First appeared in Beaumont Enterprise – Mother’s Day -2015

            “What do you intend to do with a degree in theatre?” my dad asked me expecting a serious answer. I did not have the answer he wanted to hear: a practical way to earn a living. His resounding response, “As long as I’m paying your tuition you will get a teaching certificate.” That was that. And boy did father know best! Years later when I found myself divorced with three young children, that teaching certificate made it possible for me to work and be off when my children were, not to mention provide health insurance for all four of us.

I’ve worked actively with single mothers since 2007. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds, socioeconomic, and ethnic groups. Despite their differences, I see one common thread. The moms who have a degree or are trained in a practical job skill are much more likely to manage life with greater ease and much less stress.

However, many single moms do not have enough confidence to believe that they can earn a degree or the training necessary. Often they have been led, since early childhood, to believe they are not competent or smart enough. Seldom do women break the glass ceiling or earn education any higher than their mother’s did.

In Texas Buckner provides an answer to this dilemma. Buckner, commonly known for their orphanages, has established Family Transitional Programs. They have proven to be successful with single mothers turning their lives around in two years while they earn an associate’s degree. Mothers are provided with housing, Pell Grants, childcare, food stamps and counseling as needed. An application process is required. The moms are taught to spend their days in college as if it were their job. They are to be a mom in the evenings.

The mothers include a cross section that comes from many different backgrounds. Amy, for example, had an extremely traumatic childhood and her mother who suffered from schizophrenia, disappeared when Amy was seventeen. Later in her life she escaped an abusive marriage with four young children. Ultimately she found Buckner Family Pathways in Dallas. That is where she finally found peace.

Another mother, Erica, escaped a marriage to an alcoholic and drug addict. A final episode of physical violence pushed her to make the decision to leave with her four young children. She found just what she needed at Buckner Family Place in Midland. She and her children found a place to bloom. She is studying very hard to earn a nursing degree.

Tara found her new life at the Buckner Family Place in Houston where she is able to focus on parenting and studying. She was fifteen years old when her father died of leukemia and her mother went into deep depression. She learned that she had a gift for nursing after working in various clinical facilities. Now as a result of the Buckner Family Place she will finish a nursing degree at Houston Community College this month.

Each single mother has her own unique story. And each one finds an opportunity to transform her life at a Buckner Family Transitional Program.

You may learn more about each facility at these links:

Buckner Family Place, Amarillo –

Buckner Family Place, Conroe –

Buckner Family Pathways, Dallas –

Buckner Family Place, Houston –

Buckner My Father’s House, Lubbock –

Buckner Family Place, Lufkin –

Buckner Family Place, Midland –

            Education provides a key to open doors that would otherwise be closed to single moms.

Gail Cawley Showalter, Founder of SMORE for Women

Author of soon to be released, Living Learning Loving, Insights and Encouragement on the Path of Motherhood


  1. Knowing what I know now about Buckner I wish I would have known about them at the time I fled the abusive relationship I was in with 5 kids in tow. I know I can count myself as a blessed one for many reasons, two being that I have a college education and a supportive family but even still putting the pieces of my life together after it was obliterated has been difficult; especially in terms of grieving the loss and finding my independence with my own children among the “support” (read: codependency) of my family. Albeit thankful I do wish I could have had the support, encouragement & confidence building that Buckner arms their single mothers with. I am an advocate for single moms and Buckner and this is wonderful information and I think many cycles of abuse can be broken if this information gets to more families in crisis-spread the word!!!

    1. Everything you have said here about the support needed after leaving/escaping an abusive relationship is true. Let’s let more women know they have options.

  2. […] How Single Mothers Can Change Their Lives and Their Future […]

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