The Bittersweet Life of a Single Parent

By Shirley Rappach

Modern day family dynamics have changed drastically from when I grew up. Single parent families have become the norm. I was forced into the role of a single parent when my children’s father decided to abandon us. I have come to know all too well the way in which your life changes when you are divorced.

Witnessing the effects on my children, based on what they shared with me, gave me a whole new perspective on the world that they lived in. I have always had a strong desire to be an advocate for the children. They have no control on their environment and struggle to find a new normal in their own world. A huge task in itself.

I spent 24 years pushing and pushing myself, just to keep my children fed. New clothes? My heart was broken knowing that I could not afford to buy new clothes for my children. We were forced to rely on charity for clothing and the other necessities I could not afford. I know being a single parent continues to get more difficult, as I was forced at times to work two jobs in an attempt to make ends meet. That being said, and having lived the life, I am compelled to reach out to other single parents.

I kept journals along the way which led to the book I wrote, “Single Parents You Are Not Alone.” My desire and goal is to encourage other single parents to never give in to despair and the myriad of emotions that seem to consume you when you face monumental
issues. It is not easy being a single parent. I learned to rely on self-talk, which eventually led to prayer to take each issue and day one at a time. I can honestly say that when I found God and the strength I gained through faith, my hope and life changed.

Here is what some of the readers are saying:

“What a wonderful book. First of all your honesty and sharing of the rough times of your life touched me. So many of us women have suffered loss and made unhealthy decisions, and to have someone put it out there helps me face what I push down and try to deny on a daily basis.” Donna S.-Freelance Writer

“I read your book, “Single Parents You Are Not Alone,” and as a single parent, I could really relate to some of the things you discussed in the book. While I didn’t face all of the challenges you did, I can say that we had one important thing in common and that is having to make decisions alone. As I finished your book, I really didn’t want it to be over, I wanted more…I do hope you will consider writing a sequel.” Sandy F.

“I really enjoyed your book; didn’t know until now how challenging your life has been.  e stories about your daughters brought tears to my eyes; this is what really impacted me. I know how it is trying to raise a daughter, being a single parent, and now I am raising her son, this is another challenge for me. Shirley, you did a great job with your daughters and grandchildren, I know personally you did the best you could with what little you had…hats o? to you!! I pray this book will bless many single parents and help them through day to day obstacles.”
Debbie M.

Watch for further updates in the next two issues of
­ The Cleveland Women’s Journal East Edition.

For more on Shirley visit
Contact Shirley for speaking engagements by
email or 440-364-1851

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