The Heroic Life of a Single Mother
Kelley got pregnant in her 18s by her “high-school sweetheart” who refused to take on the responsibilities as the father of his child.
The parents’ ultimatum, “if you keep this baby, we want nothing to do with you” brought the young girl at St. Ann's home.
Seated in the dining room with a cup of tea and lots of appetizers on the table Kelley sighed deeply and started narrating her life experiences as a single mom:
“I had no idea what being a mom it was. I knew the birth of my child it’s gonna hurt, but I didn’t know how bad, how long or anything else. I was raised Catholic with “anti-abortion” believes.
It was late afternoon when my stepfather took me at St. Ann's home. He left me in the parking lot with a baby in my belly, a suitcase on the floor and a wish of a "Good Luck".
After I settled up at the dorm along with 19 pregnant single girls a nun came in and asked me kindly: 'Do you want to go to parenting classes called, “le moms” or, do you want to adopt your baby?'
Scared, and confused I answered, 'Well, if it's a baby girl the infertile couple can adopt her, but if it’s a boy, I’m gonna keep him.'
I didn't like myself and I didn't believe that I could raise a daughter. I had a vision that my daughter is gonna be a Stellar, you know a smart person. But I was afraid thinking that, if I got pregnant in my 18s than without a doubt my daughter will get pregnant in her 16s and then, what I’m gonna do?
At that point, my ability to see was just...clouded… I was rejected by my family and I just couldn't stand another, a little mini of me.
But, I wanted to raise a baby boy, to help him to be a good man. I felt like the men I had known in my life, including the father of my son, weren’t good people.” Kelley said.
I didn’t want to interrupt the flow of the truth full of sadness but how couldn’t I ask about the secret of rising up alone a Goodman?
“I wanted to make my son equally responsible for birth control. I wanted him to have manners, to respect women, to know that he has a conscience. So I ended up with a scientific question, 'what happens if I raise a child without spanking or hitting him, and without threatening him? What if I teach my child, the law of cause and effect?'
So I decide to play with him the Timeout game saying, 'If you do that one more time you're going to get a timeout, so you’ll know the consequences of your action.' And I’m telling you even 3 years-old-child would know what the timeout is.
My 38 years experiences turns out that you don't have to hit or to abuse your child. We can have healthy human being just by teaching our children that every action has consequences.
Consistency was also a very helpful tool in my experience as a Single Mom. If you say, you’ll do it, you better do it, but if you're not, don't say, you will.
I also wanted my children to think and I taught them how to. I wanted them to question even the authorities. I didn't want a bunch of Nazis in my home; I didn't want kinda kids who accept things because everybody else is doing them. No. You should think. You have a brain and you should use it.
Until one day they started fighting my authority and I was like, 'No, no, no. I'm the mom, you don't question my authority,' and they were like, 'but you taught me this and that…' Right then I recognized that I was doing a good job.
What are the responsibilities and obligations of a single parent? I asked Kelley and she immediately started telling me:
"I had my child in County Hospital without any support from anyone. All alone I took care of my son, I feed and clean him, I took him to bed, and I read him…a lot of reading I also show him the world. I did things that I always believed that only someone who loves you can do for you.
I also paid the bills and our daily food. I worked, as a waitress for 10 years; till I realized that I did not want to be a waitress forever. So, I went to college simultaneously.
The waitressing was the best of all worlds. I worked at the restaurant that had medical and dental insurance. I made great money with lots of tips which helped me to fill up the gas tank, to give my son the check for school activities and to pay for the groceries.
The welfare I got, was just for the first six months and weren’t enough money to survive. It helped to pay just the rent and the phone -phones were very expensive back then. But here is the trick of the Charity. The money you get from the government it's never enough. So, my options were either to accept what they gave me or to make my own money and my own quality of life. So, I decided to work hard and I did it great.
I took every lesson I got from my childhood and flipped the script. I did the impossible for us to survive and for him to have almost everything, warm Christmas and big birthdays.
I didn't date. I didn't party. Just for the record, I have been a single mom back in the 80s and in the city of Los Angeles. It was debauchery, before birth control pill and pre AIDS. It was Studio 54, party everywhere, and everybody was having fun, except me. I was a full-time mom, that's it."
Kelley's real story of Single Mom continues tomorrow...