Single parents making it in the KMC

by Senior Airman Katherine Holt
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

No one has the guide to perfect parenting because all children are different. So when you find out you are going to be a parent, you have no idea what to do. You go out and buy every “what to expect” book on the shelf and lose sleep over the fact your child isn’t crawling by 4 months.

As a single parent, I get to take all that stress on alone. It wasn’t easy being a single parent in the states even with the wonderful support system I had, and it definitely isn’t easy in Germany with a limited support system.

This is where the newly formed single parent support group comes in.

“This support group acts as an avenue of information for single parents in the KMC,” said Yonette Davidson, U.S. Army Garrison Family Advocacy Program manager.

“It gives single parents the opportunity to network and find out what is available to them.”

The new support group facilitates discussions on the various joys and stressors that can come with being a single parent.

Our first night here my 20-month-old son woke up at 4 a.m. asking to “eat, eat.” Luckily, I had a sponsor who also went through the time change with a toddler. She stocked us up with spaghetti o’s, applesauce, juice boxes and different snacks to get me through the first couple of days here.

I made spaghetti o’s and stayed up with my son until he fell back asleep at 11 a.m. Then I was able to go back to sleep. There was no one to take the next “shift” when he woke up again in the middle of the night wanting to eat again.

Who else would be able to relate to what I went through my first couple of nights? Some of the married parents might, but single parents would definitely know how I felt and be able to lend some good advice. I found the single parent support group and met other single moms who joined for similar reasons.

“Initially I joined the group to meet other single parents to network with and have possible play dates with,” said Erica Bowen, a contractor with the Army and single mother of an 18 month old. “I have also found that it is a wonderful place to relieve stress and get tips on getting through the toddler ages.”

Even single parents with children on the verge of adulthood attend just to get a fresh perspective on their situation.

“It is nice to be able to come into a group and get new opinions or suggestions on a certain situation,” said Cyndi Miller, a local national working at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, traumatic brain injury unit, and single mother of a 17 year old. “I can also relate to the parents of younger children and offer advice because I have been through what they are going through.”

Having a place to unwind isn’t the only plus to this new program. The support group will also be a place for parents to gain knowledge on what is available to them in the KMC and around the world.

“The sky is the limit on information,” said Davidson. “My hope is that this will become a conduit of information for single parents as well as a place where parents can grow together.”

Whether it is information on rental slots at the Child Development Centers or opportunities available for single parents in the KMC, Davidson hopes that the support group can have all the answers to the questions single parents are asking.

“The support group members will drive the train with this program,” said Davidson. “We have the potential to make this big.”

The support group is held the fourth Wednesday of every month from 5 until 6 p.m. They are located in the upstairs classroom of Bldg. 2917 at Pulaski Barracks. Childcare is currently not available, but children are welcome.

Whether you are looking to relieve some stress, get advice from other single parents or just make some friends, the single parent support group is a good place to start.

To sign up for the group or to be a guest speaker, call 493-4228 or 0631-3406-4228.