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Bay and Her Boys: Unexpected Lessons I Learned as a (Single) Mom Hardcover – March 27, 2012
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“A revealing autobiographical journey…[Buchanan’s] narrative is passionate, pugnacious, and persuasive. There’s a lot of food for thought in these pages. This book would be useful to any single parent, regardless of gender.”
Donna Brazile, veteran Democratic political strategist
“In her latest book, GOP political guru and former U.S. Treasurer Bay Buchanan goes behind the scenes to discuss her remarkable family. Bay and Her Boys is a practical, common sense guide to raising kids single-handily in a modern family. No matter if you’re a single Mom or married with kids or expecting kids soon, Bay and Her Boys will inspire you with heartwarming stories of her devotion to her children.”
“The book offers some very good advice for all mothers, single or married.”
“[Buchanan] has landed squarely in the middle of the zeitgeist with her new book on single motherhood…In her book, Buchanan offers lessons and advice culled from her personal experiences—which are painted in vivid, and sometimes hilarious, detail.”
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This book would be useful to any single parent, regardless of gender. My own mother died when I was twelve, after a very bitter battle with cancer that lasted for nineteen years. That forced my father in to the role of a single parent until he re-married.
This author writes like she speaks. Angela M. Buchanan, nicknamed "Bay" because one of her brothers couldn't quite say "baby," was a pleasure to talk with. Being a single mother isn't Liberal or Conservative. It just is. It's my opinion that Parenthood could be the single greatest virtue that contributes to the long-term health of our republic.
Hear more about this by listening to my interview with the author at:
Buchanan lays out eight `rules' in her book that can be thought of as hard-won pearls of wisdom that could've only been cultivated in turbulent waters. Single parenthood can be bothersome and brutal, or it can be enlightening and rewarding.
We tend to think of nationally prominent figures as having few if any troubles. No amount of money makes up for an upside down home life. No amount of fame washes away the loneliness associated with single parenthood.
There are certain stigmas associated with single parenthood that Bay talks about in this book. I'm not a single parent, but I can relate to some of these slings and arrows. As a visually impaired person, I know what it is to be shunned, slandered, and used as a scapegoat for social problems that aren't my fault.
Bay raised three boys from cradle to college. This one fact, by itself, makes this book worth reading for any parent who has more than one male child to contend with. New moms and dads who want to know more about what goes on in a little boy's mind will find Bay and Her Boys to be constructive reading.
I grew up in a two-parent home during the years when it mattered most. Many of my friends and classmates have not been so fortunate. The terrible truth is that one quarter of American households are lead by a single parent. Most of those single parents are women. A Very few of them are actually single dads.
Today's mainstream media seems to be so pre-occupied with sensational headlines that they've lost track of what I think are more important things. I asked the publisher for a chance to speak with this author in an effort to drag this topic out in the open because I was fed up with everything I heard about "the war on women."
It's been said that all politics is local. I say that all politics is personal. How we live, and what we leave behind, does matter. None of us are so great that we can genuinely succeed on our own. We need help from others, whether we want to admit it or not.
Single mothers are not pathetic. They don't want, need, or just gotta have our pity...but...they are one person trying to do the job that two should be doing. Think about that the next time your spouse helps out around the house. How would you do that if they were never there? Would it be so bad to want some encouragement? Maybe (just maybe) it might even be totally ultimate cool to have some h-h-help.
One thing is clear to me after reading this book. Even if your not sure about that `help,' you should be sure that a little respect could go a long way. Don't talk trash about people when you don't really know their situation. Single parents don't want to be going it alone...but...they'll do it for the sake of their kids. I would.
The two features of this book I struggled with was 1) that Bay is a CPA, that is an upper level degree with excellent earning potential...affording her the opportunities to send her children to private schools and having the assistance of a nanny for most of their lives and 2) a very successful exhusband whom I am certain also paid child-support although it seems he did not provide as much parental support as a father should. What I have found with the hardships I have endured so far is that it pales in comparison to the majority of single mothers' situations. After losing my job (due to a loss of a federal grant) I reluctantly had to find employment for half of my previous earnings with no benefits and realized just how dire the consequences are for single mothers trying to hold down minimum-wage jobs. With the cost of childcare, housing, and food I have NO IDEA how they survive. It had never occurred to me before until I realized while earning $10 an hour it was impossible for me to pay my rent, living expenses, auto payment, and childcare on that amount of money. I actually lost money by working-and I live very modestly. I only survived because of my child-support payments until I could find another position. Bay speaks very authoritatively about how things should be a certain way but the reality of many single mothers, I would dare say the majority of single mothers, is the question of how are they going to meet their rent, utilities, and groceries next month...immediate concerns versus the big picture as she paints it. Not to take anything away from her, I can only dream of being the mother she describes herself as, but I was discouraged by some of what I read in this book rather than encouraged because I did not feel she could relate to the dire financial circumstances so many of us single parents face.
The other position she held about not involving herself with another man while she was raising her sons was also discouraging. It made me feel so guilty that there are some days I do dream of meeting a mate that could be a fine role model for my sons, even though their father is in their lives and stays involved. Is she not human? I certainly do not believe an assortment of men should be paraded through children's lives but if a single mother happens to come across a man deemed worthy to fill the role of mate and role model why wouldn't she welcome them into their lives? I feel as though I could still put my children first and have a relationship with a man-it would have to be the right kind of man, perhaps an extraordinary man, but I hate to think it is absolutely impossible or I am such a terrible person to want such things? I cannot accept this concept; I know of women who have found such a man, who have helped raise children not their own, but treated them as such. It seems to me that we as human beings still want to feel desired, to be touched, and encouraged by another-being a mother is fulfilling but is it natural to dismiss ourselves as women completely? It is the only way to be a successful single mother? I got the sense from reading this book that is what Bay is trying to convey to us. What I read is that it is not worth the risk of them getting hurt. Tis true, the risk is great...but is it somewhat of a risk to not show your sons an example of what a healthy partnership can be like if the right person came along?
Other than those two issues, I did greatly enjoy reading the book. Both Bay and her son (who wrote many excerpts) are excellent writers and the stories were entertaining, I found myself laughing out loud on occasion. I appreciated her candor with portions of the book when she shared some of her greatest parenting mistakes and the occasional shameful antics of her boys. It helped counter-balance some of the points she made which I felt needed a reality check or were simply not valid unless you are super-human. I could relate to much of what she wrote so I still gave it four stars. I did feel strongly enough about it to take the time to offer this review since no other reviewer mentioned the two points I have raised here. I was overwhelmed with sorrow and overcome with laughter all within the pages of this book. Perhaps that was Bay's point.