by Karen Oliver, a single mom of 3 with a great sense of humour , takes her role as mother to heart and makes every day in her chaotic tribe purposeful. .

Father’s day is an interesting day in our tribe as my kids do not have a father figure to look up on our single mother household.  I have 3children, Michael (14), Steven (18) and my little angel girl, Krysstel is 7. I often wonder how this affects them. Its tricky as a single mom to try and fulfil this role.

So what have I done in my tribe to fill this very vital and critical gap (especially for my boys…)

1. Instead of family we call ourselves a little tribe and to explain why,  I include some word play – TRIBE = TRI – BE = TRY {TO} BE>.  Our TRI-BE’s creed – confirms OUR RIGHTFUL place where we can practice to BE <ourselves> in this world.

2. We have honest and open conversations. I have found male family members and friends, whom my children and I trust and can talk to about topics they don’t want to have with me.

3.Talking about sex with my two teenage boys is the hardest.  Yet when I don’t know the answer, we do research together to find relevant answers

4. The most beautiful behaviour however has came from my eldest son.  He has taken on the role of father figure for his little sister.  He was with  me at his sister’s birth, at the age of 11.  My midwife said that the birth  experience would make him an excellent father one day.  Well he has taken it upon himself to play this role in his little sister’s life, and she adores her brother – in fact she really listens to what he has to say – more than she listens to me.

5. My  mothering style is controversial.  I am not afraid to show them real hard life, and the wickedness which exists in our world.  My children are intelligent, emotionally mature and spiritually connected.  Most importantly they are street wise, and know how to deal with tough challenges including aspects of peer pressure, alcohol, drugs, sex and violence.  They know that there is one person that they can always count on, when they are in trouble, when they need an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on.  I might bark at their bad behaviour but I never bite!

I often wonder how  child headed families cope. How can we as communities assist and support these families in filling the gaps of absent role models so needed in a child’s life.?

In conclusion however, I want to honour all real fathers out there.  A facebook friend, Theo Geldenhuys had a kidney transplant a year ago and was told by doctors that he will never have children.  His baby girl, Zoe was born a week ago. I asked him what father’s day means to him this year.  His answer: “Being a father is my utmost blessing in life, I adore my little miracle!”

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