By Heidi Stevens
We hear so much about single mothers and so little from them.
I’ve been one, and it’s an oddly isolating role. You know there are many, many others just like you, but you’re not sure where to find them, not in a support group sort of way, just in a hear-their-voices sort of way.
That’s part of the reason Michele Weldon decided to write “Escape Points,” her new book about raising three sons after their father left.
“I didn’t write another memoir because I think I’m so utterly fascinating,” Weldon told me. “I just found that my experiences were not voiced in the media landscape.”
Weldon, who lives in Oak Park, Ill., previously wrote 1999’s “I Closed My Eyes: Revelations of a Battered Woman” (Hazelden Publishing), about living with the domestic violence wrought by her ex-husband, the father of her three sons.
“Escape Points” is about life after the split: nurturing three boys (now 26, 24 and 21) who live and breathe competitive high school wrestling; battling cancer; working as a professor at Northwestern University; and participating as a leader with the OpEd Project, a nonprofit that aims to broaden the diversity of voices in the media.
The book is so refreshing and true that I found myself choking back tears before I even finished the preface.
Of single mothers, she writes:
“We are seen as holograms of women, eerily transparent visions performing acts of duty in different blocks of time and space, shifting stage sets from work to home and back again.
“All of it is described with language of desperation and a narrative of drowning,” she continues. “We are made to feel that if we work long hours, we are selfish, and if we spend long hours with our children, we are wasting our brains. And that we never get anything exactly right.”