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Reviews of the best books for Single Mothers



Joint Custody With a Jerk:
Raising a Child With an Uncooperative Ex
by Julia A. Ross, Judy Corcoran

Helpful in so many ways...
Reviewer: A reader from Sacramento, CA

   I was very pleasantly surprised that this book not only helps with dealing with a difficult X, but it also teaches one to effectively communicate in all other aspects of life as well. I would recommend this book to anyone who needs help in dealing with a difficult person in their lives.
Unfortunately, we have to deal with our X's if there is children involved. This is a great book on showing a person how to do just that.

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On Our Own: Unmarried Motherhood in America
by Melissa Ludtke

4 out of 5 starsVery readable, sane take on a controversial topic
Reviewer: feministprof from New York City

   In "On Our Own" Melissa Ludtke, a professional journalist, sets out to uncover the experiences of "unmarried mothers" in America for a very personal reason. She is in her late 30s and struggling with the decision to become a mother herself. In a series of alternating chapters, Ludtke discusses the experiences of two disparate groups of unmarried mothers, young, poor women and older, more financially secure women. Three key questions guide the core of this book, why to have a baby, how to raise children and ways to explain the absence or anonymity of "fathers." The book is based on interviews with 30 women with whom Ludtke visited repeatedly over the course of several years. The introductory chapter and the conclusion provide an overview of the status of unmarried motherhood in America and Ludtke deftly interweaves scholarly research about unmarried mothers into her book. However, Ludtke has sidestepped many of the traditional pitfalls in discussing this controversial issue by focusing on individual women who confound ...typical generalizations. Her subjects include a teen mother attending an Ivy League school and an older professional woman whose best-laid plans go awry when she is laid off suddenly.

  Perhaps the most striking aspect of this book is how unrelenting difficult unmarried motherhood really is. Dispirited teen mothers and successful professional women alike struggle to fit their families into a society that still assumes the nuclear family is the norm. While these mothers share their travails with divorced custodial parents, they live with the knowledge, and sometimes societal condemnation, that they chose this route. Parenting alone is a best second choice for almost all of the 30 women Ludtke interviewed. While few of the teen mothers desired marriage to the men who impregnated them, they work diligently to include the biological fathers in the lives of their children with varying degrees of success. The knowledge that "father" will be an anonymous sperm donor plagues many of the thirty-something women to such an extent that several have engineered ways to have a known father in their child's life while others have found father substitutes.

  Ludtke avoids the question of whether women should pursue unmarried motherhood by compiling a statistical projections that show that by the year 2004, unmarried mothers will reach 50%. So whether society is ready for them or not, it needs to start preparing to meet their needs. She focuses most of her suggestions on young unmarried mothers who may be less able to care for themselves. While this approach may anger those who wish for a more polemical ending, it is very in keeping with Ludtke's balanced approach throughout the book.

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Mom's House, Dad's House:
Making Two Homes for Your Child

by Isolina Ricci

This "textbook" sits on my reference shelf.
Reviewer: A reader from San Francisco, California

  The second edition is a welcome addition to my reference bookshelf, where the first edition has been sitting for two years, because I refer to it frequently. What it does is sort out the complexities of the whole process of disentangling and making a new life for yourself when you "break up", while maintaining a two-parent life for your children. It addresses the overwhelming decisions and crushing emotions that paralyze us, force us into hasty decisions and bad judgments, and send us running to someone else to make those decisions, or leave us depressed, immobile, or worse. Reading this book gave me a road map, a feeling that the author has seen thousands of people go through this process and can tell us what helps and what works. My experience is that this book works, I wish I had had it going INTO my marriage. There are no cure-alls here.
   Many of the suggestions take extensive time and thought, but the author persuaded me that if I didn't do it now, I'd still be dealing with the same issues in five or ten years. My stepchildren and lots of 30 and 40-year-olds are still dealing with their PARENTS' divorce. As soon as I started making lists for meetings, prioritizing my issues, ticking off the items in the parenting agreement that would and wouldn't be big issues in my particular situation, I felt better. Once in the process of working through my "family change" using the book, I understood that each small accomplishment builds you up for the next one and is basically creating your new life for you as you deal with the immediate issues of finances, custody, how to have a conversation with your ex, and how to recognize the parallel path your children are traveling with all of their specific problems (different from the parents'). This book gave me the confidence that if I just kept slogging through, eventually it would get me through the tying up of all those loose and messy ends that lie around for years. For those who want a decent divorce, to heal all family members as much as possible, and learn how to have better relationships, this book is the original guide. After reading twelve other books about divorce and family, I keep coming back to this one, the mother lode.

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The Single Parent Resource
by Brook Noel

5 out of 5 stars The Single Parent Resource
Reviewer: A reader from Portland, OR

   The Single Parent Resource is one of the most practical and comprehensive guides available today. With an easy to navigate table of contents, the book lends itself as a ready reference guide. As a single parent, I was impressed with the amount of information packed into it. It covers many of the issues that I have encountered and provides solutions that work. Single parenting is not easy but Brook Noel's book gives me more tools to deal with real life, day to day challenges. Thank you for giving me this help.

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The Complete Single Mother:
Reassuring Answers to Your Most Challenging Concerns

by Andrea Engber, Leah Klungness

5 out of 5 starsWorth Its Weight in Gold for Single Mothers
Reviewer: J. Harlow from New York

  Excellent source of practical information on meeting the emotional, psychological, financial, social and physical challenges of single motherhood. Appendices contain an expansive list of organizational resources and further reading for single mothers.

Warning: The book starts out slowly with a political defense of single motherhood. The "cheerleading" tone of this section of the book sometimes takes on an aspect of blaming men for the plight of the single mother. Supportive and reassuring perhaps, but not conducive to taking responsibility for one's own actions in this reader's humble opinion. The author even goes so far as to promote the idea of voluntary single motherhood through artificial insemination if "Mr. Right" doesn't happen to come along. Some may find this liberalism to be annoying.

Despite these minor flaws, the 1st half of the book contains a wealth of useful information and the book really takes off in the second half (presumably reflecting the division of labor between the authors). Here the everyday psychological, moral and practical dilemmas of single motherhood are thoroughly vetted. Questions regarding everything from stress management to the inevitable conflicts of dating and parenting, raising boys and girls and issues of coparenting and custody are answered with compassion, wisdom and common sense in any easy to read question and answer format.

This book answers many questions that you may not even have thought of yet. Why not get a jump on them?

If you have a best friend who happens to be a child psychologist with a specialty and doesn't mind spending endless hours answering you questions, you can get by without this book. Otherwise it is a must have!

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