LISTEN to today's show featuring
Marika Lindholm and co-editor Domenica Ruta
Marika Lindholm and co-editor Domenica Ruta
ABOUT THE EDITORS
Marika Lindholm is one of the editors of a new anthology “We Got This” (Sept. 10, She Writes Press), which chronicles the journey of more than 75 solo moms. It even includes a story from Amy Poehler! They come from a variety of diverse backgrounds, and some are single parents by choice, and some by circumstance.
‘We Got This’ marks a social movement with stories from single mothers representing a diverse range of experiences. Lindholm’s new collection features featuring Anne Lamott and Amy Poehler and brings together solo moms with grit, heart, and humor
NEW YORK CITY – In the United States alone, there are 15 million hard-working, diverse, dedicated, and resilient women single mothers. This fall, 75 solo mom’s voices will be featured in the groundbreaking title “We Got This: Solo Mom Stories of Grit, Heart, and Humor” (She Writes Press, September 10, 2019). They unite to break the stigma around single moms, to empower others facing similar situations, and to show the ferocity of the love they feel for their children.
Filled with essays, poems, and inspirational quotes, We Got This features moms connected by a conscious coalition despite age, race, culture, sexual orientation, economic circumstances, and route to single motherhood. We Got This reminds solo moms that they are powerful and important ― and that there’s a whole community of women out there who understand what they are going through.
DR. MARIKA LINDHOLM founded ESME.com to ignite a social movement of solo moms. A trained sociologist, Lindholm taught courses on inequality, diversity, and gender at Northwestern University for over a decade. After a divorce left her parenting two children on her own, she realized solo moms lacked much-needed resources, support, and connection. She built her social platform, Empowering Solo Moms Everywhere, out of this combination of academic and personal experience. In addition to publishing numerous scholarly articles, Lindholm has been a regular contributor to Psychology Today, Working Mother, Mind Body Green, and Talk Space. She has published essays and fiction in the Daily News, Elephant Journal, The Hill, Ms., Silent Voices, and the Southern Indiana Review. Keep up with her at https://esme.com/.
“We Got This:
Solo Mom Stories of Grit, Heart, and Humor”
Frank, funny, and unflinchingly real stories by solo moms, for solo moms
In the United States, more than 15 million women are parenting children on their own, either by circumstance or by choice. Too often these moms who do it all have been misrepresented and maligned. Not anymore.
In We Got This, seventy-five solo mom writers tell the truth about their lives—their hopes and fears, their resilience and setbacks, their embarrassments and triumphs.
Some of these writers’ names will sound familiar, like Amy Poehler, Anne Lamott, and Elizabeth Alexander, while others are about to become unforgettable.
Bound together by their strength, pride, and most of all, their dedication to their children, they broadcast a universal and empowering message: You are not alone, solo moms—and your tenacity, courage, and fierce love are worthy of celebration.
Edited by Marika Lindholm, Cheryl Dumesnil, Domenica Ruta, and Katherine Shonk
September 10, 2019 | She Writes Press
In an interview, Dr. Marika Lindholm can discuss:
- The unfair stigmas that single mothers face
- What makes We Got This a necessary book for the Solo Mom community
- How the book can benefit two- parent homes
- The inspiration behind We Got This
- How the collection of stories came together
- The growing trend of being a single parent by choice
- Social truths that bind solo moms regardless of their route to single parenthood
An Interview with Dr. Marika Lindholm
How did you rally 75 single mothers into submitting their unique stories for We Got This?
Our anthology features great writing by well-known, and yet to be discovered, solo moms. We searched for previously published work by Amy Poehler, Audre Lorde, Mary Karr, Anne Lamott, Elizabeth Alexander and other notables, but the real fun was finding lesser known solo mom authors to share their original stories. Fortunately, over the years, I’ve established a network made up of wonderful writers who’ve contributed to ESME. We reached beyond that network as well, posting calls for work in a range of communication channels for women writers. We had a treasure chest of submissions but had to make some hard choices based on our goal to weave an inclusive story that represented a diversity of solo mom experiences. The enthusiastic response by writers hoping to join our collection of solo mom voices was incredibly reaffirming!
What is your definition of a “solo mom”?
A solo mom is any woman who parents alone, whether by choice, circumstance, or surprise. The term solo mom is an intentional dismantling and redefining of the “single mom” stereotypes that have been used to denigrate hard-working moms. Adopting the phrase solo mom allows us to write a new, more accurate definition, one that highlights solo mom’s strength, resilience, intelligence and ingenuity. The term solo mom also has the benefit of including women who are solo due to a variety of circumstances such as a partner’s deployment, incarceration, abandonment, deportation, death or frequent travel for work. The reasons for being solo might differ but all solo moms are united in their fierce love and dedication to their children. As we say at ESME, solo doesn’t mean alone.
What inspired you to put the book together? Why now?
During my own divorce over 15 years ago, I recall looking for, and not finding, books about solo parenting that spoke to my heart, rather than offering practical advice. I was hurting and wanted more than a how-to book. After starting ESME and seeing all the heartfelt writing by our solo mom contributors, I searched the shelves to see if the book I needed, so many years ago, had been written. I found wonderful memoirs and fiction that featured solo moms, but there was still a hole to fill. I’m proud that our book invites the reader into a community of solo moms who lay bare their fears, joys, hopes and challenges, thus inspiring and celebrating anyone raising children, especially on their own.
Why do you think it’s crucial to tell these stories right now?
Our current historical moment, where the gap between the super wealthy and the working class continues to grow, where the cost of living rises but wages don’t, where federal taxes take a deeper cut into paychecks, where our children are practicing “active shooter” drills at school, where educational opportunities come with a steep price tag, where social supports such as healthcare, food assistance, and childcare support are at risk—it's incredibly frightening for solo moms. It’s critical that we show solo moms that they are not alone and that they are worthy of being honored and celebrated for their heroic efforts. Equally important, by sharing their profound stories, we defy the stereotypes that convince voters and politicians that solo moms and their children are a social ill, unworthy of support. I wish We Got This could be required reading for everyone in the Senate and House, because once they got to know the moms in our book, it would be very difficult to vilify and compromise the safety and health of solo mom families.
You are very passionate about making people aware that single moms in the US are a diverse group. How do you think the collection of stories in We Got This represent that?
Yes I’m very proud that we are able to share so many solo mom perspectives in their gorgeous variation. Not only do we feature solo moms who represent diversity in terms of race, culture, sexual orientation and economic situation, we also showcase diversity of experience: moms with special needs children or special needs themselves, women who became solo due to divorce, deployment, incarceration, a husband’s mental illness or death. We feature solo moms by choice, by adoption and by surprise as well as a range of human experiences such as, suffering a heart attack while a spouse is deployed, adopting a baby that lands in the NICU for many weeks, helping a heroin addicted son, pondering how to explain a father’s suicide and many more stories that are certain to resonate whether or not you’ve faced similar challenges.
Why do you think there is a growing solo mom trend? How do you think that will change parenting culture for the next generation of parents?
Divorce rates are dropping but divorce continues to be the main reason women become solo moms. Sadly, the opioid crisis and increased suicide rates have also forced women to parent alone -- in many cases grandmothers have stepped up. However, one of the most dramatic trends is the willingness of women to parent alone when they don’t find a suitable partner. Many women don’t want to wait for their prince or princess to start a family. They are keenly aware that their biological clock is ticking and don’t want to miss the chance at motherhood. The biggest change in parenting culture is that its decidedly more fluid. Increasingly, parents aren’t married or single for the first 18 years of a child’s life - families are in flux - and that’s OK. I hope and believe there will be more acceptance of a variety of family arrangements, such as one home for the children that mom and dad, or mom and mom, rotate in and out of. Or multiple solo mom families sharing a home to help each other manage work and family obligations. These scenarios may sound unstable or threatening to some but we’ve had many generations of solo moms who toiled in invisibility or shame. As long as we continue to put children’s needs front and center, parenting culture in all its permutations and combinations should be supported and accepted.
What stigmas do you hope to break?
In politics, the media and dinner party conversations, single moms are often portrayed as a problem to be solved. According to the stereotypical storyline, they’re clueless, irresponsible, lazy, morally lax, and unable to stop having children. They mooch off of social welfare programs, the persistent stereotype says, and they would rather have more babies than hold down a job. In researching the book, and in my thousands of conversations with solo moms, I can confidently say that the pernicious single mom stereotype is a fabrication. If anything, solo moms are weaving their own safety net by working multiple jobs, sharing homes, bartering services, swapping clothes and helping each other every day. We Got This features their individual stories but also sheds light on one truth that unites all single moms across age, race, class, and culture: children come first.