Care & Feeding of a Single Mother
November 7, 2007 12:58 AM   Subscribe

Books and resources for a single mother who doesn't really fit the stereotype of "mother", and is more about taking care about herself? Any other way I can help her?

I've been looking for books to give as gifts to my friend who's a single mum (the same one in this question). I'm having trouble finding books that aren't so typically "motherhood-is-the-great-joy-of-being-a-woman-YAY" or "here are a million tips for baby" though.

She was a mother by accident (unplanned) and is not with the father. She is doing OK so far but it has been very tough and right now she's trying to navigate career changes, lifestyle changes, stress, health issues, and so on. There's a lot of advice for the baby, but not so much for her sanity.

I'm looking for something that is more about the MOTHER - how she can take care of herself and navigate the difficulties of single-motherhood. The books on single motherhood I've seen assume that the baby is born from sperm donation, which isn't the case. While she and the father were never married, there is a tough custody case (long story). She tends to help everyone else first and take care of herself lsat (only when she REALLY needs to - and not even then).

What are some good books that will help her take care of her own needs? What other things can I do to help her? We live far away so things like babysitting aren't an option, but I'd like to help her out.

posted by divabat to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
She may enjoy Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott. It's a beautiful book.
posted by LoriFLA at 4:01 AM on November 7, 2007

Interesting, single motherhood is the topic of Ask Moxie's column today. Her commenters usually have excellent advice (she recommends Operating Instructions as well, as do I!).
posted by FuzzyVerde at 4:11 AM on November 7, 2007

Community, community, community. Any way you can help her connect with women in a similar situation (IRL or online) will help her normalize what's going on for her--physiologically, emotionally, culturally, legally. seems to be a level-headed and respected site. I haven't dived too deep into it, but when I was "legally" a single mother (though not parenting alone) I found it useful for helping me navigate some bureaucratic issues. From the website: National Organization of Single Mothers is dedicated to helping single moms by choice or chance face the daily challenges of life with wisdom, wit, dignity, confidence and courage since 1991.
posted by cocoagirl at 4:11 AM on November 7, 2007

She may well not be eating properly - preparing food may prove too difficult and time-consuming when looking after a baby - so you skip meals or eat overprocessed rubbish. Something I've done is to send frozen gourmet meals which actually taste of their ingredients rather than their packaging but which you can still just whack in the microwave. (I've used this company, no good for you, but to give you an idea.)
posted by boudicca at 6:16 AM on November 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Hip Mama Survival Guide and The Mother Trip are great. Anything by Hip Mama is pretty much going to be.
posted by streetdreams at 7:13 AM on November 7, 2007

Not specific to "mothers" but Zen Habits is a good blog with all sorts of life tips - it's worth a read.
posted by doorsfan at 8:22 AM on November 7, 2007

Seconding Operating Instructions.
posted by alms at 8:30 AM on November 7, 2007

I was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids and Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay aren't specifically for single mothers, but still may be helpful.
posted by logic vs love at 10:19 AM on November 7, 2007

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