Still Going It Alone: Mothering with Faith and Finesse When the Children Have Grown
STILL GOING IT ALONE is an ideological book providing direction and guidance to parents as well as narratives of the real-life experiences of many mothers. Inspirational sections at the end of each chapter, titled "Every Mother's Prayer" and "Thought for the Day," offer Christian-based spiritual guidance. Author Michele Howe tackles the many issues related to raising older children and acclimating to the inevitable change of the empty nest, particularly in the case of the single mom. Howe approaches parenthood as a privilege and a multi-faceted responsibility that never ends, and illustrates beautifully the bond between parent and child at any stage of life and the value of family in every mother's legacy.
The best thing about this book is that it offers insightful, ethical, sound advice for dealing with a variety of situations in life, and the personal narratives are real-life experiences that each of us can relate to and smile at. I would expect these stories to hold great humor and irony for many moms who have been through similar experiences with their own kids. And for those who have yet to experience them, we can only laugh, try to gain some wisdom and hope for the best.
One mother's son, for example, drops out of college after losing his hard-earned scholarship because of simple lack of direction. He takes out student loans that he has yet to pay back, but then decides to abandon all education or job plans and dash off to Europe with his buddies to do who knows what while his friends go to school. One can only imagine the angst of his poor mom as he glides through young adulthood seemingly oblivious to reality. This particular mom chooses to kick him out and make him pay his own way rather than foot the bill for the ridiculous trip while he puts his life on hold.
One mom who wishes to teach her adult daughters about the responsibilities and challenges of marriage decides to start a weekly role-playing session with them, where they act out the role of a married couple while splurging on fudge ice cream. Another mom whose daughter was suddenly off to college went to clean out her room and found that she felt empty and saddened by all the seemingly discarded items strewn about haphazardly. However, upon looking more closely at her daughter's various possessions dating from young childhood all the way to adulthood, she gained a larger perspective of a childhood well spent and a job well done, and, with that, peace and fulfillment.
This well-written book is unique in that it is based on an ideology of hopefulness and acceptance in the face of adversity, focusing on substance and reason rather than emotional affectation. It is written for a specialized audience, particularly Christian single mothers, and offers a distinctive spiritual background to parental approaches. Howe does an excellent job of exploring many subjects that people don't commonly think about, like caring for an aging parent or how to deal with your in-laws. STILL GOING IT ALONE offers a lot of food for thought for every mother and is well worth reading.
Reviewed by Melanie Smith on December 1, 2008