The Single Mom Defined “Dear Single Mom” Column is our way of letting moms ask any questions they want, anonymously or not. The goal is to help a mom get answers to their questions from another mom that either has a similar experience or another form of expertise on the topic. Have a “Dear Mom” question?

Dear Single Mom column where moms get the honest answers they need. Dear Single Mom, Column Volume 1

Dear Auntie Rhonda,

My son’s name is Marcus. He has been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, which causes him to be argumentative with adults or authority figures and deliberately defy the rules. The school calls me at least three days out of the week to “pick him up.” Soon, I am not going to have a job. At first, my employer was understanding, but it has gotten so bad that the calls and my having to leave work early are starting to strain my work performance, especially attendance! I am a single mother of three children with limited support. I cannot afford to miss time from work; I don’t have anyone in my circle who can stop what they are doing to pick Marcus up. 

Most importantly, I don’t want my child to suffer academically from all the schoolwork that he misses when they send him home.

IEP Resources

I would like to know if you have any resources to help me understand my 7-year-old son’s Individual Education Plan (IEP). I recently signed his IEP and don’t exactly know what it means. I agree with some of the interventions and therapy, but I have refused recommendations for medication. I don’t know what methods are being used in a school setting to calm him down when he gets excited besides them sending him home. 

I know that Marcus is a difficult child to manage. Nevertheless, the school administration assured me that the IEP would be a tool to help Marcus at home and school. The school makes me feel like Marcus is disposable or not fit for an educational setting. I am at my wit’s end and about to be unemployed! There has to be a solution. What do other parents do to manage work/life balance? Aunty Rhonda, any suggestions or resources is greatly appreciated!


Mom Of An Angel

Dear Single MomDear Mom Of An Angel

Hello, Sugarplum!

It’s so nice to hear from you. You can rest assured that you are not alone. According to the 2021 United States Census, America has 11 million Single-parent families trying to figure out work/life balance with their family, work, school, etc. This job is not for the weak and meek, especially when facing difficulties single-handedly! 

Mom Of An Angel, Take Action!

You might want to find or start a single-parent support group with a church, your child’s school (PTA), a local community center, or any place where parents might gather. There is a huge need for peer-to-peer support groups; the benefits are life-changing. Research shows that Peer-to-Peer Support Groups are beneficial in the following ways:

  • Each member gains a wealth of knowledge and best practices by exchanging resources with other like-minded people
  • The group is stronger in number than alone. The group members benefit each other by publicly supporting an important cause or action that the group shares. For example, if one parent complains about not understanding the IEP, the complaint is noted. But when 50 parents complain at the school board meeting. The complaint is recorded for the board record, and the problem can be addressed by school district board members (this is a systematic change). 
  • Peer-to-Peer support groups should also serve as a safe place to talk, express your feelings, and find solutions as a community.

Scope Your Circle

Identify 2 or 3 go-to people you can ask for support. Start with family, and then work on trusting and reliable friends. You may have to compensate them by exchanging favors and other goods and services. Or you may have to pay your support person money for gas, food, etc. After identifying two or three support people, clearly discuss your needs and how they can help you. You have to be specific: I have two more semesters until graduation. Please watch my kids on Saturday mornings from 9 AM until 12:30 PM. 

Use Your Voice

Regarding the IEP, please keep in mind that an IEP is a legal document. Of course, they are difficult to understand. Don’t be ashamed or intimidated by the language or the professionals presenting the document. And because it is a legal document, every jurisdiction, county, and state has a list of education advocates and attorneys trained to support parents with special needs children. Put “education advocacy near me” in your internet browser. You can also contact your local NAACP or state education department for a listing. Education Advocates can help translate the IEP, work with parents and school officials to resolve concerns, and provide parents with tools and information to become more knowledgeable advocates for their families.

You Matter Too

Mom Of An Angel, you are the angel! I want you to know that ? YOU ARE ENOUGH! The fact that you leave work to check on your child (knowing the risk) says that ? YOU ARE ENOUGH! Reaching out for help says ? YOU ARE ENOUGH! And doing your best says that YOU ARE AMAZING!


Aunty Rhonda, for The Dear Single Mom Column 

P.S. “Nothing will work unless you do.” – Maya Angelou”