Tammy Rogers, center, is a single mom taking care of her two kids - Cassie, 18, left, and Cody, 16 - while being employed at Moffat County High School. Rogers, who works as a special education paraprofessional at the high school, said being a single mother was challenging at first but added that the experience has brought her family closer together.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Tammy Rogers, center, is a single mom taking care of her two kids - Cassie, 18, left, and Cody, 16 - while being employed at Moffat County High School. Rogers, who works as a special education paraprofessional at the high school, said being a single mother was challenging at first but added that the experience has brought her family closer together.

Single mothers say parenting is challenging, rewarding

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— Fear, followed by resolve.

It was the sequence Deborah Gann faced five years ago when encountered with divorce.

"It kind of hit me right between the eyes," she said. "It was scary.

"Very scary."

The emotion was intensified on account of her three children - Alisha, then 16, and Chandler and Addison, 11 and 6, respectively.

"Learning how to be become the mom, the dad, the sole provider - it was a mortifying thought," she said.

She was not alone.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 10.4 million single mothers were living with children under 18 years old in 2006. That number was up from 3.4 million in 1970.

Gann thinks being among that number isn't always easy. As a single parent, she said, she is the sole support for her family.

Still, in Gann's view, parenting in whatever circumstances demonstrates a level of maturity.

"You get to the point that you realize that you're done being nurtured : and you're now a grown up," she said. "The torch has to pass."

And, being a parent has its own rewards that offset the struggle of doing it alone.

"I think it's the greatest job that there is," Gann said, "raising kids and teaching them how to be productive, honest, caring, responsible people."

Tammy Rogers, another single mother, can relate.

A divorce about 12 years ago required Rogers and her two children, Cassie and Cody, then 5 and 3 years old, respectively, to make long-term adjustments.

Rogers currently is a Moffat County High School special education paraprofessional. She works close to home in the school her children attend.

It wasn't always this way.

Rogers used to work in Steamboat Springs, spending many hours away from home, she said.

As the children grew, they took on household responsibilities while Rogers worked. Those responsibilities included running errands, dropping off bills and doing laundry.

Meanwhile, Rogers provided for a family, financially and parentially.

"I think it's a constant worry," she said. "There's never a backup.

"Everything stops at me."

During that time, something has developed between this family of three.

While sitting with their mother in an office near her high school classroom, Cassie and Cody engaged in a first, then a second, round of thumb wars.

They sat close to Rogers. Occasionally, Cody bent to kiss his mother's hand.

"I think we're pretty chill," Rogers said. "The three of us hang out a lot together."

Attending her children's extracurricular and church activities takes up most of Rogers' time.

Actually, make that almost all of her time.

"I only go to their activities," she said. "I don't do much on my own."

Rogers said her faith in God has supported her during the past 12 years.

As for the future, dating doesn't appear on Rogers' list of things to do.

At least, not right now.

"We're used to being just the three of us," she said. "I just think it will be hard for someone else to step in."

One of Rogers' highest priorities now, she said, is raising Cassie and Cody.

That task became a little easier when Rogers came to work at the high school about three years ago.

Although the children's chores didn't disappear completely, Cassie said, she and Cody don't have to help out as much as when Rogers was commuting to Steamboat.

Cassie, now a MCHS senior, is OK with that arrangement.

"Now, whenever we need anything, she's right here," she said.

Rogers' next task: Watching first Cassie, then Cody, a MCHS freshman, start lives of their own.

At that point, Rogers said, she looks forward to meeting two goals.

The first is completing her bachelor's degree in elementary education, followed by her master's degree in special education.

The second: Becoming a grandmother, eventually.

Still, Rogers isn't in any hurry for her children to leave the nest.

"I could not be a prouder mom," she said. "These are two amazing kids right here."

Bridget Manley can be reached at 875-1795 or bmanley@craigdailypress.com

Comments

diggerswife 6 years, 7 months ago

Not all single mothers have to be sole providers and both MOM and DAD. There are some fathers in Craig who do take responsibility of their children, pay their child support, play with their children, have joint custody and make a home for their children half time at their own home. These men are not given credit for their efforts. When will someone do an article about single father's who make a home for their children AND pay child support to the single mother who has the children HALF time.

I was a single mother who was mother and father to my two children for 25 years without child support, insurance, or a father who cared to even visit his children. I have the ultimate respect for Tammy Rogers and the other single mothers who don't constantly complain or use the fact that by circumstance they are single mothers to make people feel sorry for them. Like me, they just take care of their children the best they know how and work long hours, make financial and relational sacrifices and enjoy every minute of it. I watched my children grow up, go to college, and make their own lives without constantly complaining about their father's lack of support.

My current husband does everything he can to keep joint custody of his three children, make sure they have medical insurance, take off from work to take them to the doctor, hospital, dentist, eye doctors, school, attend school functions as much as possible and provide for both houses by paying child support on time and consistently without any respect or appreciation from the woman who shares the children with him. When will someone look at that side of the story? When do these fathers get to be excluded from the "dead beat dad" category?

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Taylor 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree, many fathers do not get the credit they deserve. There are just as many dead beat moms as there are dead beat dads, but you never hear about those. It's difficult to be a single parent no matter what your gender.

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grannyrett 6 years, 7 months ago

diggerswife-Great post. There are women who walk out on their children and never pay support. We never hear about the Dad's who go through this by themselves. There are some really great guys out there who have done a wonderful job raising their kids. Hat's off to them too. Being a parent is a tough job. Being a single parent is a real tough job.

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