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The Complete Single Mother


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About the Author

Andrea Engber is founder and director of the National Organisation of Single Mothers and editor-in-chief of its publication, Single Mother. She won the Outstanding Single Mother Award from National USA Week in 2002. Leah Klungness, Ph.D. is a single mother as well as a psychologist specialising in single parents and their families, especially those facing divorce. She is a regular contributor to City Parent, Canada's largest parenting publication.


The authors are single mothers whose state was unexpectedly thrust upon them by departing partners. Engber, founder of the National Organization of Single Mothers, is a contributing editor to Working Mother; Klungness, a psychologist, specializes in issues of single mothers. Together they have produced a frank and unabashedly feminist guide, the tone of which reflects the popular What to Expect series. No topic is off limits: there are tips on how not to fall to pieces when the baby starts saying ``da-da'' and even what to do when teenagers start worrying that mom will be old maid. Finances are approached in the chapter ``Money Matters''; custody sharing, dealing with former in-laws and dating are considered in the section ``Relating Joyfully to Others,'' which also includes the chapter ``The Ex from Hell.'' There is an entire and encouraging chapter on raising sons. Breezy but always down-to-earth, this guide provides intelligent and frequently entertaining reading and offers much to mothers without-and with-partners. (Dec.)

With more than nine million American women raising children alone by choice or out of necessity, it is surprising that most books on pregnancy and parenting still assume that the two-parent family is the norm. These two manuals written by single mothers offer useful, practical advice for women raising children alone. They include information on medical care, financial management, legal matters, career planning, social life, support networks, and dealing with family members. The Tippinses' book deals only with pregnancy and the baby's first year. It is organized chronologically by pregnancy trimester so that women can be prepared for the child's arrival. It includes sample agreements for women using sperm donors and co-parenting agreements, as well as a bibliography and resource list. The budget-planning advice is excellent. Engber and Klungness, writing in the tone of self-help books, cover the same topics, but they place more emphasis on the mother's self-esteem and other psychosocial issues. They also include child-development and parenting information about older children as well as a bibliography and resource list. Both books are more comprehensive than Jane Mattes's Single Mother by Choice (Times Bks., 1994) and Caryl Walker Kruger's Single with Children (Abingdon, 1993). They are highly recommended for all parenting collections.‘Barbara M. Bibel, Oakland P.L., Cal.

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