Former U.S. Treasurer Bay Buchanan has written a book about what she learned as a single mother, in which she hopes to send a positive message to single mothers from the conservative point of view and to offer lessons for all mothers based on her experience.
Buchanan, a political strategist who was recently named as one of the top 10 conservative women in America by the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, talked to Newsmax.TV exclusively about the new book which is titled, “Bay and Her Boys: Unexpected Lessons I Learned as a Single Mom.”
As a high-profile conservative woman, Buchanan said it was hard to find herself suddenly a single mother after a divorce. “I was raised in a very strong, Catholic family – nine children and my dad was there every single night, seven nights a week at the end of the table,” she said.
“That played a major role in my life. And here I was, pregnant with two baby boys and pregnant with a third, finding myself as a single my mom and I thought, my God, how can I possibly give these kids a life as good as the one I had as a kid because my dad was such a key to that whole environment which I was raised.”
Buchanan said she simply had to accept that it was going to be different and soldier on and “do the best and make certain you give those kids the kind of life you did have by compensating for the fact that they don’t have a dad in the home.”
Being a single mother enabled Buchanan to develop a strong bond with her children because she put them first and she was there for them all the time. “No matter what, every single day, no matter what the decision was, I just put these kids first in my life,” she said. “I really felt strongly that everybody born into this Earth should have one person that has them first in their life and now it was up to me.”
“So you develop an enormously close relationship with them and, in addition to that, it’s an enormous amount of fun to be a parent once you relax and realize it’s just you and the kids, you put that family together, to see them grow, to see them make incredibly great decisions, to see that they are grounded and will succeed. No greater joy than that.”
But there were downsides and huge challenges, Buchanan said, among them exhaustion, loneliness and not being able to share the joy of bringing up children with anyone in the home.
“ At the end of the day, you’re exhausted, you’ve been working on all day, you came home, you took care of the kids, lots of thing have happened and you go to bed and you realize there’s nobody to share them with,” Buchanan said.
“You tuck your kids in, you read them a book, there’s a funny little thing that Billy may have said or some trouble Tommy might be having at school. Who do you talk to about it? Who do you exchange? Who do you laugh with? You’re very much alone.”
She continued, “Nobody loves those kids and knows them like you do. You can tell your mom, you can tell your brothers, you can tell your friends but it’s not like telling the other parent. And so it’s a lonely existence, really, for a long time those nights.”
But Buchanan said she learned to come to grips with the challenges and realize that she had to make the best of it and, besides, her family was wonderful.
“You, as a parent, have some great kids and you have this wonderful family and so you’ve got to make the best of that and it’s the best of all the worlds. You know, just being a parent. Enjoy the fact that you’re a single one if that’s the card you’ve been dealt.”
One of the lessons Buchanan offers in her book revolves around traditions. For a single parent, traditions can be a powerful tool, she said, and she named having dinner with her children as crucial for not only single mothers but for all parents.
“As I raised those kids, I realized that there’s certain things that apply to all parents, but even more important to single parents….I didn’t realize how really amazing a difference occurs in the family dynamics when you’re home five to seven nights a week . . . and that’s why I wrote this book,” she said.
The lessons she details in the book are even more important to single parents, she said, because of the odds against them. “The odds are out there that show, study after study, the importance of a dad in the home,” she said. “And that’s the message I got year after year from my conservative friends on television, the importance of dad in the home otherwise kids are so much less likely to succeed in high school, to succeed in getting those marks and completing their degrees and, also, emotional problems as well as drug use.”
She wanted to focus on how to make up for her children not having a father around. “How do I make certain my kids beat the odds and that’s what this is a book about,” she said. “Here are some ideas of how you, as a single mom, can help your kids beat the odds and thrive. But it works for all parents, as well.”
Buchanan described herself as “heartbroken” that conservatives in particular have failed single mothers. She described how conservatives would cite how important it was for fathers to be present in the home and the latest statistics backing the benefits of it. While she agreed fathers are important, she would ask, “But what if we don’t have one here? Do you have any ideas? Do you have any suggestions for us? Because, surely, as a movement, we want all kids to succeed. And we want to be able to help all parents help their children get on that right path. But there was never anything for us.”
Buchanan said that conservatives may have been afraid to offer ideas on how to succeed because it would undercut their argument about the importance of a father in the home. “And so that’s why I wrote this book, to be quite honest, is to send a positive, upbeat message to single moms from the conservative point of view.”
The left was no better with their message, she said. “They were saying we’re victims. Single moms are victims. You need the government in to help. I am no victim to anybody. And my feeling was just give us some encouragement, some support,” Buchanan said.
She went on: “I’ll make it work because I’m fighting for my kids. But don’t tell me the odds are against you and then leave out to figure it all out on my own. And that’s why I thought, you know, we really came up short as a conservative movement. We didn’t have the message for single moms out there. Neither did liberals. And this is my contribution to that, this book.”
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