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Get what you want this Mother's Day. Twist the ex's arm

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Old May 8th 08, 02:53 PM posted to alt.child-support
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Default Get what you want this Mother's Day. Twist the ex's arm

Get what you want this Mother's Day. Twist the ex's arm

From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

May 6, 2008 at 9:05 AM EDT

On behalf of my four-year-old, who has a Yahoo account in her name, I
recently sent an e-mail to her father, who lives in Alberta.

"Hi Daddy," I typed, as my daughter was fast asleep. "Mommy has been talking
about Mother's Day. I only have 143 pennies in my piggy bank. She's the best
mommy ever. She's been pretty exhausted. I'd like to get her something nice.
Can you help? Love you."

It was a slightly pathetic, but possibly cute, way of reminding my
daughter's father about Mother's Day.

On what is perhaps the Hallmark holiday of all Hallmark holidays, what's a
single mother to do to get some sort of recognition? It's certainly not
going to come from a child who still licks glue and is too young to
understand the concept.

But modern single mothers, whether they've chosen to be single, still get
along with the father of their children, or have no contact with the father
at all, are finding new ways to make Mother's Day special (and, in some
cases, more fruitful).

All mothers of young children rely on gifts made by someone else. For the
single mom, feeling the need for something more than a crumpled card in a
knapsack - something that comes with a gift receipt - presents a particular
dilemma. You can't very well hand over $20 to your three year-old to do your

So some have learned to lobby on their own behalf.

"I've drilled it into him," says Toronto-based Vanessa Craft, the author of
Out of Character, about her three-year-old daughter's father, who lives in

"Growing up, Mother's Day, like most holidays, had always been recognized in
my house. So it's a big deal. I even remind my daughter's father that on her
birthday I should also get something, for the fact that I gave birth," Ms.
Craft says.

"Her dad knows to make me cards, at the very least, on behalf of our
daughter," says Ms. Craft, adding, "I've never had a bad Mother's Day being
a single mom."

Carolyn Weaver, the popular television host of five book shows, made the
decision to become a single mother via a donor at a fertility clinic, so she
has no relationship with her son's biological father.

Last year was her first Mother's Day with her son, Throne.

"In my 30s and having not met the right man in the right circumstances, I
decided to try to become a mother. I realized continuing to wait for all the
stars to be aligned in the Hollywood movie sort of way was a risk I wasn't
willing to take," she says. "In my picture and my son's picture, there will
never be the Leave it To Beaver family picture of Mom and Dad."

That doesn't mean, however, that Ms. Weaver and her son don't have a lovely
family picture of their own.

Ms. Weaver was shocked at what she says was the "unexpected support" she got
on her first Mother's Day. "I received a lovely basket of fruit, with a card
saying what a wonderful mother I am, from my son's godmother."

Ms. Weaver's mother, like her father, had at first been unsure about the
route she chose to become a parent, but was "extremely thoughtful" on
Mother's Day, buying Ms. Weaver a beautiful diamond necklace.

"These sorts of gestures of support are very meaningful to a newly single
mother who is still getting her stride in the social context," Ms. Weaver

Many single mothers, like Ms. Weaver and Ms. Craft, receive phone calls from
friends wishing them a happy Mother's Day - something that non-single
mothers rarely get.

Stacey Otis, a single mother of three, says that without a partner there is
"such a greater connection with your children," and that Mother's Day is
always "awesome."

She celebrates the day at her house, or at one of her siblings' houses, and
has turned it into "Family Mother's Day."

Unlike many of my mother friends, who moan about husbands forgetting
Mother's Day entirely, or who complain about partners not even giving them
two hours of alone time, Ms. Otis says, "My Mother's Days are always
special. When my kids get excited to give me what they made at school, it's
like gold. When you know all you have is each other, it makes the day really

Some single, non-traditional mothers such as Ms. Weaver still think of
Mother's Day as a "traditional" holiday, but one that gives unique families
an opportunity to define themselves, their tone and outlook on life.

As for me, the e-mail worked. I'll be at a spa, thanks to my four-year-old's
request via her mother's e-mail.

Rebecca Eckler is the author of Toddlers Gone Wild!


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