Single Mothers: Survival Guide (cont.)

When you use the word single mother, obviously they come in every age, shape, and walk of life. There are single moms that I know whose ex-husband lives five doors down, and they get very large child support, and have nannies. There are other single mothers whose kids haven't seen their dads in 10 years and are just at the poverty level and probably haven't bought themselves a new dress since they can remember. So I'm giving broad information to women that all have different circumstances and situations. But I'm trying to cover some of the most universal themes. If you are one of the wealthy single moms, why not help out another sister? If we don't start truly reaching out, and caring about one another more, we as a society will completely crumble, and I think we're already beginning to see that. Not to be completely political here, but for us, the richest country in the world, I think we're very poor. Some of the third world countries I've traveled in have more going for them in the way day-to-day life is, with family and how the children are cared for than we can fathom. I'm not talking about the ghettos of Calcutta here. There's obviously different levels, but we think, Oh, they're poor, or communists. I see a sparkle in their eyes that I rarely see here. And they don't need to anesthetize themselves the way we do, because of our lack of true community and spirituality.

Moderator: Is feeling resentful, hurt, bewildered, exhausted and at time like you're loosing it... NORMAL?

Karst: Completely. And if anyone says that they don't ever feel that, they're liars. Or, they're on some drug that I would not mind getting hold of. Just kidding!

Moderator: Is having a rich fantasy life important?

Karst: It keeps me going. Just to add to that, trying to remind yourself that any day things could change on a dime, that no matter how bleak things may look, you just never know what miracles might be in store for you. In other words, keep the faith.

Moderator: What do you tell single mothers who have low self-esteem?

Karst: First of all, to try to remind themselves that they would not be given this job if God didn't have a lot of faith in them. And God knows His stuff.

Moderator: Assuming someone wants a husband, what are some tips for finding a husband?

Karst: Well, carry a lucky rabbit's foot, tell everybody you know, ask them if they know someone who's a great guy. Prayer, I've heard, is a good thing. Obviously, I still haven't figured this one out. But if you have any ideas for me, I'm all ears.

Moderator: How important is setting goals?

Karst: It's really important, but set attainable goals. Little ones, to start with. Baby steps. Maybe a goal is to save up so you can take your kids to Hawaii next year, or in two years. Those types of things Don't get too grand in your goal setting, because then when they don't come to fruition, you'll feel a great sense of disappointment. But I think it's very powerful to write down your dreams. In the back of my workbook, I have a place you can do these things. You can have one list for dreams, and the sky is the limit there, because it's fun to have those dreams, and you never know.

Karst: But then, to also have another list of your goals, some of your more short range goals that can help take you to your dreams.

Moderator: If you know someone who is a single mother, what are some nice things you can do for them?

Karst: Buy my book. Girls, you've got to be resourceful. Invite her for dinner, or to spend a day with you and your family on a Sunday. Let her know that you're there for her if she ever needs you. Sometimes just that offer, even if she never takes you up on it, brings her a great sense of comfort and love. And if you have a man in your life, a brother, husband, what he is, an uncle, most children from single mothering households -- boys especially, but the girls too, even if they have a father that is still in their lives, they still want more male energy. I know from my own son, even though I got him a big brother (and I do recommend the Big Brother organization) that he sees a couple of times a month, it's still not enough. So whenever I can, I try, for example, if I send him to summer camp, I request a male counselor, rather than female. Any way you can get them to be around males more. Because they've got you, and usually their teachers in school are female, They've got lots of female energy, but they need more male. Find ways of getting that for them.



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