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Single moms deserve double praise on Mother’s Day

Erin Waterman, Krislynn Wells, Crystal Coglas, Marhama Jackson, Lynn Smith and Katie Coale meet once a month for some “grown-up time.” The single mothers chat and have fun, while the kids are playing or watching a movie. - Michaela Marx Wheatley / The Record
Erin Waterman, Krislynn Wells, Crystal Coglas, Marhama Jackson, Lynn Smith and Katie Coale meet once a month for some “grown-up time.” The single mothers chat and have fun, while the kids are playing or watching a movie.
— image credit: Michaela Marx Wheatley / The Record

LANGLEY — Just another day until Mother’s Day and Carli Newman has a secret.

The secret most likely involves a handmade card and a crafts project of sorts, but the 7-year-old said it’s the least she can do to show her mom Erin Waterman how much she loves her.

Tomorrow the big secret will be revealed.

“My mom is the best mom,” Carli said.

The reasons are quite simple. Mom is a great artist and likes playing Butterfly Bingo, Carli said.

But there’s more. Waterman has helped Carli with class projects, tucks her in at night, runs the household, has a job and has helped the little girl to fight cancer.

She’s done all that as a single mom.

But while Waterman may be unmarried, she said she isn’t alone. She is part of a single mother’s club organized through the Family Resource Center in Langley. The group meets every third Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at the center located on Maxwelton Road in Langley.

“It’s a night away. Just a night to relax and unload,” group member Katie Coale said.

“It’s responsible childcare and a meal I don’t have to cook,” Lynn Smith added.

But most importantly — it’s community.

“We usually go over the good and bad things,” Coale said. “Summer’s coming up. No child care. ‘What are you gonna do?’” she added.

Sometimes it’s just about venting and listening, Smith said.

“Coming to this meeting every month is a huge stress reliever,” Coale said. “I’ve been horribly depressed all week. I’ve been here for an hour and I already feel better.”

The club is not only for single moms, but for all parents who feel like they are parenting alone. That could be parents whose spouses are deployed with the Navy or travel a lot for business.

“We are aware that there are a lot of moms that are single moms or feel like single moms,” Smith said.

The group is looking for new members, and while all these women will be showered with kisses and handcrafted keepsakes this Sunday, parenting alone can be isolating, they said.

“Selfcare is something you need to do for yourself,” Waterman said.

They said especially on Whidbey with its high cost of living, the challenges single parent households face become apparent quickly and forcefully.

“One thing here on the island is the cost of living is too high. Daycare is too expensive,” Coale said.

School-related bureaucracy can be overwhelming. And low wages in Island County make it all the more difficult to parent alone.

“Women get paid flat out a lot less here,” Crystal Coglas said. “There is this difference.”

And then there is the physical isolation in a rural county.

“Many single moms don’t drive,” Krislynn Wells said. “Everything I need to get — help or funding — is in Oak Harbor,” she added.

But at their moms’ group they have found the support they need, ranging from an open ear, to a babysitter, to community resources such as the Good Cheer Food Bank or the Pregnancy Care Clinic.

The group will next meet from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 22. It is open to any mom who is parenting alone or feels alone and needs the support of other single moms.

This could be your group so bring yourself, your ideas, your joys and your challenges to the meeting, the women said. A light dinner and childcare is provided at no cost.

For more information and to RSVP with childcare, call 221-6808, ext. 4602.

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