An Open Letter to Single Parent Preppers

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Dear Single Parent Preppers:

If there’s one thing I know about, it’s taking care of things by myself. If you’ve been a single parent for a while, you know exactly what I mean. You’re the breadwinner, the disciplinarian, the homekeeper, the chef, and the decision-maker. If you’re new to being a single parent, hang on to your halo, because there are definitely going to be some adjustments to life as you know it.

And if generally holding down the fort isn’t enough work, add to this, your preparedness efforts. When folks think about family preparedness, they usually consider the traditional family unit, with two parents, some children, and maybe a grandparent.  Often, it seems like single parent preppers are completely overlooked in these scenarios.

Even worse, when you do see an article about prepping as a single parent, it’s nearly always written by a married person and is a rehash of a prepping 101 article, advising the storage of emergency food and  some extra water.  You know, because if you are divorced, widowed, or otherwise single it wouldn’t occur to you to read a general prepping article or book. You’d only be seeking an article with the word “single mom” in it.

Ever since my first daughter was born, almost 24 years ago, I’ve felt that it was my responsibility as a parent to plan ahead for emergencies so that I could provide her with security no matter what life threw at our family. In fact, it was my husband’s job loss when she was a month old that sent me down the path of preparedness in the first place. (You can read the whole story about how I got started prepping here.) When I became a single mom of two daughters 16 years ago, it didn’t lessen my commitment to being prepared. If anything, I found that it was even more important.

Unfortunately, I have read some pretty discouraging things out there in Internetland that make it seem like single parent preppers are fighting against terrible odds, which is what compelled me to write this letter. Little aggravates me more than reading articles or forum posts that belittle entire groups of people or that serve to make people feel like their efforts are for naught.

While not all of the posts are this judgmental, I’ve even had readers go off on uninformed tirades about what a horrible person I am for not being married, insinuating that a single mom is less than moral and speculating about the reasons even though they are completely ignorant of the situation. Even at the end of this article, there are people in the comments who are too busy judging to comprehend that there are many different reasons that being single can be better than being a part of certain relationships. It’s hard to ignore those nasty people who wrap their religion around them like a cloak of righteousness, but they’re willfully ignorant. They aren’t better than you, even though they may be secure in the belief that they are. These people will add nothing whatsoever to your life and you’re better off without being around them. It’s absolutely okay to be glad you’re single and out of a bad relationship.

(Update🙂 When I originally wrote this article, I inadvertently left out an entire subset of people who don’t fall completely into either category. There are a growing number of people who straddle the line for a variety of reasons. Some are the spouses of our military members who have been deployed overseas. Others are forced to live separately when one spouse finds employment too far away to return home each night. There are families in which one parent takes the majority of the responsibilities due to something that affects their spouses: chronic illness, addiction, or mental health concerns, to name a few.  More and more grandparents are raising their children’s children, and many of these grandparents do not have partners or have partners who are not fully invested in the new additions to the home. These semi-single parents face many of the same issues as single parents do, and these are topped off with additional worries about the well-being of their spouses.

Whether you are a single mom, a single dad, or any other single individual in charge of children, your efforts are incredibly important.

Ignore those people who tell you otherwise, because folks who are so narrow-minded may actually discover that they are the ones with the limitations that get in the way of survival. We are accustomed to gritting our teeth and adjusting to the situation because we have no option.

While single parenthood was certainly never my plan when I dreamed about being a mom, it’s not as horrible as some folks make it out to be. Sure, there are difficulties, but every parent on the planet has difficulties. Perhaps your family is having money problems. There could be a chronic illness. You may hate your job because your boss pats you on the butt when no one is looking. Maybe your kid has behavioral issues. Your day might not have enough hours to get everything done. None of these problems are unique to single parenthood.

The lives of single-parent preppers aren’t all bad.

There are a few things about it that are actually kind of nice.

First of all, you never have to persuade a partner to get on board with preparedness. A frequent issue with couples is that one person is more involved or dedicated than the other. In some cases, the prepper family member actually has to hide purchases and preparedness expenditure from the non-prepper family member. The extent of the family’s preparedness endeavors is entirely up to you.

In the event of an emergency, you don’t have to waste time discussing your decisions. While it’s great to have another person to bounce ideas off, sometimes you are flying purely by instinct. The ability to immediately respond to an emergency situation can often mean the difference between life and death.

The children of single parents can’t play one parent off the other to the same extent. Some kids like to ask one parent for permission, and if that parent says no, they try again with the other parent. As the only game in town, we don’t have any of that nonsense. It’s merely annoying in good times but could be downright dangerous if the situation changed in the US.

There’s no need to come to an agreement on how much to involve the kids.  Some parents feel the kids shouldn’t have to worry about doomsday scenarios and thus, keep their preparedness activities completely on the down-low. Other parents believe it’s essential that the children develop a preparedness mindset from an early age.  When parents disagree about what is best for the children, it can cause a lot of tension in the household.

Kids from single-parent households are sometimes more independent. Of a necessity, kids in single-parent households have to help out more.  They aid in caring for younger siblings, they get dinner started, and they have a few more responsibilities. (I’m generalizing, of course – each family has its own dynamic.)  This additional responsibility often results in kids that are highly competent and independent, and these qualities can really help out in a survival situation.

Of course, the life of single-parent preppers is not all sunshine and roses.

Sometimes I get really tired of running the show completely on my own. Sometimes I sincerely wish there was another person on the planet who cared about the welfare of my children as passionately as I do.

If you can’t do something, you either have to learn or hire someone. In a two-parent household, there are often clearly defined roles, and if one parent isn’t efficient at a particular task, the other parent might be better at it. I can do minor repairs and MacGuyver with the best of them, but I’m not good at building things or doing more mechanical repairs. I’ve picked up a lot of skills out of sheer desperation (anyone need a drain taken apart?) but, if I need something done that requires a lot of strength or know-how, I have to hire someone to do it for me.

No one else will take care of your kids like you will.  This isn’t the case in all single-parent situations. Some folks have a good co-parenting arrangement, which is very beneficial for the children. But in other situations, the other parent is absent, irresponsible, or deceased. And that means that it’s all you. Every single decision that affects their welfare, every dime of money that comes into the house, and every mama-or-papa bear moment in which you must defend your children rests on your sturdy shoulders.

No one has your back. In a situation where home defense is necessary, you may find yourself all alone to protect your children if you are without a partner. So, you must train, learn self-defense skills, practice at the range, and train some more so that if a day ever comes when you have to, you will be able to defend your babies. The idea of a middle-aged mama going Rambo might sound silly, but that’s only to people who don’t think the way we, as preppers, think.

If something happens to you, what will happen to your children?  This was a tremendous concern for me. I’m the only living parent of my children.  As such, I didn’t participate in risky hobbies (no skydiving for me, thank-you-very-much) or speed in the car or have unhealthy habits like smoking.  It was imperative that I be healthy and strong and able to finish raising my children because there was not one single person on the planet who will unconditionally adore and protect them with the same motivation that I would. Thinking about the possibility of leaving my children orphaned kept me up at night because I was the only game in town.

My advice to single parent preppers

Most of the advice I would give to a single parent who is interested in being prepared is exactly the same as the advice I would give to anyone else. Stock up, be frugal, learn skills, and be alert. You know, the normal prepper stuff.

But there are a few things that a single parent family should pay special attention to, perhaps a little bit more than families with two adults.

1.) Don’t let your tasks be defined by gender roles.

There’s no room in a single parent’s life for stuff like “I’m a tough man, I don’t bake bread” or “I’m a helpless woman, I can’t change my own tire.”  You can, and you will, especially if you intend to survive in a long-term emergency.  There is absolutely nothing written in your DNA that precludes your ability to do certain tasks that are normally undertaken by the opposite sex.

The major exclusion to that would be physical limitations. While I’m pretty strong, there are some things that I simply can’t do because I’m not strong enough and in the last few years, I’ve had some back problems that would be exacerbated by doing stuff like chopping wood. For those things, I use physics whenever possible, moving things with levers, for example. When all else fails, I hire someone to do those things for me. And speaking of needing help sometimes…

2.) Make reliable friends in your community.

I have quite a few like-minded friends that I can call on when I need a hand.  I don’t invite just anyone to my home, so it helps that some of the folks I know and trust are handy.  It’s good to have someone on speed dial that can aid when there is an emergency. There may come a time when you need someone you can trust to look after your kids, help you with a difficult repair, or push your vehicle out of the mud.  If you have family around, this may solve your problem. Otherwise, look for folks who share your views on the world. A friendly neighbor is always a good thing. Be ready to help out others when they need a hand, and build relationships with folks you can rely on if the need arises.

One caveat: unless you know people very, very, very well, never let them in on the details of your preps. OPSEC, baby.

3.) Be vigilant about security.

Out of all of the suggestions I’m giving, this one might apply more to single moms than single dads. (Of course, everyone should pay attention to home security.)

Some unsavory characters see a single woman and think: TARGET ACQUIRED.  They feel that a woman alone with kids will be more vulnerable, simpler to overpower, and easy pickings. Even worse, some see a mom alone with kids and want to victimize the children.

If you only follow one piece of advice in this article, make it this one: DO NOT BE THAT EASY TARGET.

Make your property as secure as possible with better locks, warning signs, barriers to easy access, and visible deterrents. When I lived in the country, my property was posted with no trespassing signs. I had cameras and warnings about those cameras. My welcoming committee was comprised of a 150-pound guard dog. Then there was a 70-pound dog in the house. Then, if someone got past the gate and the dogs, there’s Mama, armed to the teeth. In fact, once we had unexpected visitors at this location and I believe my gun was what saved our bacon. Now that I’m in the city, we still have the dogs and the guns and I spent a great deal of time securing this house too.

You don’t want to be a delicate flower. You want to be Sarah Connor in the Terminator 2: Judgement Day. She trained to become a bada** because everyone was out to get her son. Become that mom.  Your children are depending on you, so you must train as though their lives depend upon your abilities.  Because someday, their lives might.  (This article has some fantastic suggestions for women.)

4.) Teach your children to be self-reliant.

Your kids may need to be a little more mature than kids in two-parent families. Although I think it’s a good idea for any kid to be able to feed themselves, keep themselves warm, keep themselves safe, and defend themselves, it becomes even more important when there’s only one adult in the house.

(Perhaps our free QUICKSTART Guide on emergency evacuations can help?)

A difficult lesson for me was when my youngest girl and I lived up North in a cabin only heated by a wood stove. Initially, I wouldn’t let my daughter go near the stove because I didn’t want her to get burned. But then someone pointed out, “What if something happened to you and because the power was out, she couldn’t get a call out for help?  You live in a climate where she would freeze to death in just a couple of days without a fire.”  So, my pre-teen learned to build a roaring fire in the wood stove and maintain that fire, all on her own. Yes, she got a little burn when she bumped her arm against the door of the wood stove, and I felt like an awful parent for putting her in that position as she cried in pain. But…I would have been a more terrible parent if I hadn’t prepared her for something that could cause her death in an emergency.

Make sure that as soon as they’re old enough your children become competent in the following things:

  • Doing laundry
  • Doing dishes
  • Preparing simple meals
  • Taking care of pets and/or livestock
  • Keeping things tidy
  • Cleaning
  • Running the various systems in the home: the heater (whether it’s wood or controlled by a thermostat), irrigation for the garden, off-grid lighting, and power, kitchen appliances, etc.)
  • Caring for younger siblings
  • Driving (as soon as they are old enough)
  • Firearms if you have them (When they’re young, keep your firearms locked away and make sure they understand the rules about not touching them if they happen to be out. When they’re old enough, begin instructing them in using firearms safely.)

You can gently encourage self-reliance by the entertainment that your kids are exposed to. We like watching movies or programs together that have independent kids or (since I have girls) strong female characters that can kick bootie.  Since I have a family of bookworms, the books that I bought my girls were often those that inspired an independent spirit. (Here’s a list of our favorite kid/young adult books to inspire independence and the survival instinct.)

5.) Make sure that your children know exactly what to do in the event of an emergency.

For example, we have bug-out lists printed up. My daughter has a list and I have one so we can pack twice as fast. A couple of years ago, when the King Fire was nearly at our door, we were ready to go in just a few short minutes. By having a responsibility, the kids can focus on those tasks, which can help keep them calmer and more productive.

And, worst case scenario, if something happens to you, they need to know who to call, or if it occurs during a situation in which no help is available, they need to know how to take care of themselves and any younger siblings until such a time that an adult can step in. If they have the skills listed above, they’ll be far less likely to panic in such a situation.

6.) Make some things easy.

Sometimes, you need to take shortcuts.  I’m all about low-tech, cooking from scratch, raising my own, back-to-the-land living. However, I can’t do everything all the time. No one can, and when there is only one adult, it becomes even more challenging. Remember, you are only one person.

Have some things that are easy. There will be days when you don’t feel like grinding wheat with the manual grinder, baking a loaf of bread, and doing everything from scratch. There will be days when your kids have to fill in for you. For those days, have some things that are a little less challenging.

  • Keep some easy-to-prepare meals on hand. I like no-cook meals for this very reason.
  • Have some wood set aside that is already split if you heat that way.
  • Prep food ahead of time, at the beginning of the week, so that leftovers are available.
  • Set up your watering system for the garden so that it’s automatic – that way no one can forget.
  • Likewise, automate as much as possible the feeding and watering of your animals.
  • Keep laundry and housekeeping under control, so that if you have to take a few days off because you are sick or injured, the household can still continue to function.

There’s no shame in taking shortcuts from time to time. If you constantly work yourself into exhaustion, it’s far more likely that you’ll get sick. Speaking of which…

7.) Take care of yourself.

When you are the only adult, it can be easy to get caught up in the grind of a constant struggle. There were several years that I worked so hard to make ends meet that my health suffered, I lost my sense of humor, and I rarely got to spend “fun” time with my daughters. It was grim indeed, but it taught me some valuable lessons.

You absolutely must take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. Your health is even more important than ever before because you have a child or children who are depending on you. If you burn yourself out, eat poorly, develop a stress-related chronic illness, or injure yourself, then you won’t be able to take care of them.

I call it the “flight attendant theory of child rearing.”  When you’re on a plane, they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before attempting to help others. This is for the simple reason that if you pass out from oxygen deprivation, there will be no one else to help.  The same holds true with parenting in general. If you constantly care for others without a thought for your own well-being, you can become so drained that you are no longer able to help anyone.

  • Don’t over-commit yourself. The most freeing thing I ever did was learn to say no. I limit the number of commitments we have because there are so many people that want a piece of our time. We all get pressured to do things like volunteer at the school, drive kids back and forth to extracurriculars and social events on a daily basis, and take on extra projects at work. You absolutely have to learn how to say no to some of these obligations if you expect to have a few minutes for relaxation or time for your own projects.
  • Eat properly.  One of the biggest pitfalls of a busy life is taking too many shortcuts with regard to nutrition. Keep healthy food on hand at home instead of going through the drive-thru for dinner. When I worked outside the home, I found that a weekend food prepping session was essential for keeping us on track throughout the week.
  • Take time for exercise.  Many people have a sedentary job that keeps them sitting at a computer all day long. Take time throughout the day to move around. Inertia can take its toll. (Bodies at rest tend to stay at rest.)  Enjoy a walk during your lunch break and coffee breaks.  After work, do something active with your kids. If you are taking the kiddos to an activity, instead of sitting in the car playing on your phone while they are doing gymnastics, use that time to take a brisk walk.  This will keep you healthy, flexible, fit, and actually increase your energy levels.
  • Stop to smell the roses, especially those made by sticky little fingers from cotton balls stuck to construction paper and sprayed with stinky perfume. One day, they’ll be grown up and out of the house. You truly don’t want to look back on their childhoods with regret that all you did was grimly work to keep a roof over their heads.

Are you a single parent prepper?

You absolutely can do this. Lots of us do. Don’t let the naysayers discourage you. Don’t feel that it’s too difficult. Every single step you take toward greater preparedness is a step toward making life safer and more secure for your children.

How do you juggle all of your responsibilities?  Do you have any tips for the folks reading this? And, if you are new to either prepping or single parenthood, do you have any questions? Please post in the comments section below.

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Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • Something glitched on #2.)….paragraphs repeated a few times…..
    Anyway, single mom here…..not that I had any control over this…but I was blessed to have 2 sons. Now grown so two men to do all the really difficult stuff.
    Oh, and, I think you could handle an electric log splitter. They aren’t that difficult to maintain either. I know you were in the automotive business and I was too to some degree so it’s doable. Our next one will be diesel though, I just don’t want to be concerned with fuel separation and diesel engines just last longer.
    Glad you’re in a good place now….keep preppin!

  • Life is much easier when you have a spouse, instead of doing it all on your own. Some women end up widowed or divorced through no fault of their own. BUT, a woman should do everything she can to keep her marriage together, and definitely shouldn’t have children without being married.

    The benefits at the beginning of this article don’t sound that beneficial to me. I wouldn’t want the sole weight of deciding everything for my kids. My husband and I together are less likely to mess it up than either one of us would be alone. In an emergency, my husband would make the important decisions, and I would help with practical implementation.

    It would be great to have more info out there on how single parents can overcome the difficulties of their situation to make sure they are prepared, but why make it sound like, wow, look at all the ways single parenting is wonderful! I don’t think it’s that wonderful of an experience for most people.

    • Dear Not-single Mom:

      Actually, your comment is exactly why I wrote this article. Regardless of why someone is not married, we must all find the bright side in our situations. The myriad reasons someone may be single are no one’s business but their own, so we need to try not to be judgy. This article is written just as much for single dads as it is for single moms, which is why I used the word “parent” throughout.

      Unfortunately, the internet is rife with opinions like yours. I’m certainly not saying that my situation is better than yours, but we must all move forward with the hand we are dealt in this life, and part of moving forward is accepting it, instead of always feeling like your life is second best.

      I’m not sure how you could read this article and then reinforce the very thing I tried to combat with it: “…why make it sound like, wow, look at all the ways single parenting is wonderful! I don’t think it’s that wonderful of an experience for most people.” You are actually insisting on making it seem as though a single parent should not behave with optimism, which makes no sense to me.

      Becoming a single parent can happen to anyone, regardless of their religious faith, their intentions, or their life plan. I hope that you didn’t actually intend to make single parents feel like second class citizens, because that is a cruel and discouraging thing to do.

      Very best wishes,


      • Dear Daisy,

        My comment was based on what I have personally observed with single parents I’ve known, like my brother. It’s a difficult life, for both the parent and the child(ren), and should be avoided if at all possible. After my brothers ex-wife walked out, he never remarried and never had another child. I think the whole situation was just too hard and he didn’t want to do that again.

        I’ve seen a lot of opinion pieces and blog posts about how awesome and wonderful single parenting is. In my opinion, that’s cruel to single parents. Maybe some people have the awesome, wonderful single parenting experience, but I don’t think most do. I’m sure there are single parents who feel like they’re failures for not measuring up to that misleading image we’re all being fed.

        Optimism is fine. Pushing the idea that being a single mom (or, less often, single dad) is so much easier than having to work with the children’s other parent… well, that’s just wrong. I read your article as the latter, but possibly that isn’t what you meant.

        • I really don’t think I can get through to you how damaging it is when you say things like that to someone who may already be discouraged. It’s truly shameful that I explained it and still, you came back telling me and everyone other single parent who reads your comment that their lives are less worthy than yours.

          I wrote a long response, but I’ve deleted it, because this debate is ridiculous and I refuse to give it any more bandwidth. I can’t change your mind, because there are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

          It saddens me that you’ve been so cruel on an article that was meant to be uplifting and full of encouragement. Everyone’s experience is not the same. To discourage someone finding happiness in the lot they’ve been given – well, one who dogmatically insists that her way is the only way to live will have great difficulty in the event that life throws her a curve ball. Adaptability is the key to survival in any situation. Some people have that ability. Some, clearly, do not.

          Best of luck to you.

          • Thank you Daisy. I was one of those “not-single parents” but for 35 years I “single parented” because to my spouse his toys, his fun with his friends, etc. were way more important than parenting or being married. Now I’m a widow and my adult daughter who has disabilities lives with me. I’m as prepared as I can be, but because of my age, a back injury and my daughter’s disabilities, the “bugging out” part would be difficult. She can do the basic things around the house like laundry and simple cooking and cleaning — but it would be very difficult for her to cope in a grid-down or a high-chaos dangerous situation because she doesn’t process quickly. I continue to make the best preparations I can. I also deal daily with the worry of what would happen if I was incapacitated and not able to care for her or make decisions. However I am so thankful that I can now follow my own judgment and don’t have to be concerned with someone who sees no reason to be prepared or aware. For “not-single mom” — not everyone is so fortunate to have someone who is supportive and who can help make decisions, etc. Sometimes it is a better situation to be able to do it yourself!

  • Daisy

    A very sensitive subject to be sure. I was married for 24.5 years to my first husband. For the last 20 years he was ill……………mentally ill. We had 2 kids, a boy and a girl who basically grew up with an unstable father.

    The man was bipolar, a rapid cycler and non-compliant when it came to his meds. He could also be violent. I didn’t leave as I knew it was a sickness. Did everything I could to keep things running on an even keel but it wasn’t enough.

    I became a single parent during that marriage like so many other people I knew. We were technically married but through no fault of our own had to bear the entire responsibility for raising our families. You didn’t think of this group. Your article was a black and white piece. You’re one or the other.

    I wasn’t offended with what you wrote but felt compelled to show that there is a grey area as well.

    I’m glad that I remarried although I had decided years ago after my divorce that I’d never do it again.

    Just for the record, my ex was the one who came home and said he was divorcing me.


    • Yes! I need to update this article a bit to add the gray areas. I’m sorry that I missed this originally. It sounds like a very difficult time with your first husband.

  • Dear Daisy, I am not a single mom but I admire you for how hard you work to make a good life for your daughters. I was a half a single mom for a few years after DH & I went broke & we had to find work in different towns. We still had 1 son at home & he lived with me a lot of the time so I know a little of your experience. My work was in the northern part of our province so winters were difficult travel wise. Just keep your chin up.Don’t let comments intentional or not get too deep under your skin. You are doing a great job both for your family & for the prepper community!

    • @canadagal

      I know that you did what you had to do at the time and I admire you for it. That would have been a tough decision to make.

      Love that you referred to yourself as half a single mom. I used to call myself a married single mother.

      I know that there are many different stories out there about being a single parent. You can pick the best partner in the world at the time of your marriage. No guarantee that things will stay the same. Sometimes its just a crap shoot.


    • Thank you for your sweet words. They really mean a lot to me!

      There is an entire subset of semi-single parents: folks like you and yours who have to work great distances apart, families who are on the outs, the spouses of people in the military. It’s all a challenge, but I hope this article helps some. I’m going to update to add these things. 🙂

  • I am sorry that people are so judgmental. I was married and a single parent at the same time, he left and I raised our children. I give a thumbs up to any and all parents trying to raise kids in this day and age. IMO, if you can raise your children to be self-sufficient and self-reliable, you are ahead of the rest. Too many are teaching the kids to be reliant on others for their care, food, and shelter (a word I truly dislike is entitled). I will step off of my soapbox, lol. Kudos to you and all that teach their children and the younger generation to do for themselves.

    • Thank you, Single Married Parent. Sometimes being single and married at the same time is the most difficult situation of all.

  • Thank you for this article! I have been a single dad for 3 years now with 3 boys at home full time. I discovered prepping about a year ago when I realized how rapidly the country was being flushed down the toilet economically and culturally. I can’t say I would have had that epiphany as a happily married man going blissfully about my days in ignorance. When I was married, I wasn’t as self sufficient as I am forced to be now. And there are no women at all in the house for their special guidance. God’s plan for us is mysterious but I love this community of like minded families who will be the leftovers after SHTF. Keep encouraging the ladies! We need you to carry on with us.

    • I can relate to what you are saying. I raised my 3 youngest boys from 5, 3 and 1, back when everyone thought Dads couldn’t raise kids. I learned a lot and basically I’ve always prepped because stocking things up for emergencies has always been a good idea. I especially liked knowing the boys would always eat if nothing else.

    • Way to go, Big Daddy! Sounds like you’re doing a fantastic job raising your gentlemen. 🙂

  • Thank you for a very encouraging article! You are so right on every point & here’s another layer for you: I’m a 70 yr old single grandma with a disabled son & 2 teen-aged grandkids to care for, financially & otherwise. My son’s physical limitations (due to accident) have left him severely depressed so that’s a double whammy. I’m in good health but certainly not as strong as before. Some days it does feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders; not the way I pictured retirement. We often don’t get to choose our circumstances & smugness & criticism from those who are not walking our path is just downright hateful.

    • Wow, Linda, you sure do have your hands full. You are a wonderful person for looking after everyone. Please be sure to take care of YOU. <3

  • I haven’t commented before, although I read your blog regularly. I just want to thank you for all of the wonderful information and helpful tips you share.

    • Welcome, Glenda! Thank you for your kind words 🙂 I’m thrilled that you are getting use from the information I share here!

  • Thank you so much. As a recently divorced mom of 3 girls, I did all I could to make my marriage work. No matter what I did though, I was done everything! In and outside the household. And then the infidelity, welding that was thhe last straw. He certainly enjoyed the benefits of my prepping. My frugality, weapons purchased, my medical profession. But never wanted to help. Overwhelmed now at the prospect of handling a disaster scenerio on my own, you’ve saved my sanity with a concrete plan to work with. To the respondent who implied you glamorized being a single mom, I could just LOL! There is nothing glamorous, fun or exciting about it. It’s exhausting, heart wrenching and a 2nd full time job. Her condescension infuriated me. So sincere thanks, from one overwhelmed single prepper mom!

    • Hi, Stephanie! Hang in there. If your partner isn’t really a partner, sometimes that can make handling the scenario tougher than it would be on your own. You sound like a tough cookie and I am absolutely positive you can handle anything life throws at you with aplomb! 🙂

  • The primary reason for my interest in prepping is the fact that I am essentially single, I have two kids and aging parents. Thank you for writing this. It’s reaffirmed my commitment to the cause.

  • One of the hardest parts of being a prepper and co-parenting in my opinion is the concerns of a disastrous event happening and your kids being with the other parent. Let me tell it’s even more difficult when you have children with 2 different former spouses neither of which you are with. And I agree with others that commented stating how much easier it is when you have a spouse that’s also on board with the prepping. Going thru a seperation, divorce, and dealing custody battles in the midst of being a full time prepper really set me back significantly. Over time getting back out there and finding a new companion I found myself really slow to introduce prepping to them.

  • Good read Daisy. Thank you for the time you take for all of us.I really understand how much time you take from your family for us. My dad raised us by his self for the most of my life. My mom had mental problems. She left when I was 12 & my dad was all we had. He had a hard row to hoe. He had 6 girls to raise & no outside help at all. He raised us like boys because he said you just don’t know what your life will be like & we might be single mom’s. But he treated us like lady’s. He lookspulling out our chairs & holding open the doors. Someone ask him 1 time when he did that & he said so when trash comes along they will know it.We learned how to do roofing,plumbing, electrical work, how to live in the woods, how to change our oil & tires. How to cook & clean. He gave us the gift of Independence But most of all how to love the Lord. Fast forward a few yrs & I became a mom & military wife. Hubby serves 23 yrs & 14 of those he was going & I was a single mom in those times. But because of how I was raised I was ready for it. It was not easy but I knew I could do it. After all I did have a great example . So for all those single parents lean on the Lord, do the best you can, take time for messy kisses & grimmey hand hugs. Be there for your kids as they grow. Have fun along the way. Don’t worry too much about how spotless your house is or how much stuff your gives your kids cause I promise your that is not what they remember. . Mine still talk about how bad my pasta salad was that even the dog would not eat it after all these years. We still laugh about it.

  • Hey Daisy!
    This is a very good and encouraging article, especially about making children more self reliant. I know from experience the ‘single married mother’, as I was raised by one! But, my mother also had a chronic illness where she couldn’t do much. My siblings and I had to learn self reliance – catching the bus everywhere, going grocery shopping, cooking dinner, looking after the dog etc. While my mother has not caught onto prepping, I know she would have found much heart in your article about single parents, or in her case single married mothers.

  • I actually had tears in my eyes reading this article. As a widowed single mom for the last nine years,I have felt alone in the quiet hours.( When I’m not working, cleaning, parenting , and doing basically everything 2 people used to do) I miss being with a partner who has your back. People think it’s so easy…….just get married again . like you are picking out a new car. Like you said , no one is going to love your child the way you do and now that my daughter is 15, I can’t imagine bringing another man into my home. We have become very independent and confident in our way of life. Thank you for recognizing what I believe to be a growing (for whatever reason) group of people.

    • As a father, husband, and man I am so disappointed in my contemporaries. Regardless of the circumstances that cause your situation, as a fellow human being I have an obligation to help out where I can. My grown daughters laugh about how I always used to stop to help strangers in trouble, but this doesn’t seem to be a common occurrence anymore. Please let those in your life know when they can help and don’t insist on doing everything on your own. The weight will crush you, as I am sure you have experienced. Sometimes by allowing someone else to help you with your load, you become a blessing to them, letting them feel like they matter.

  • This may seem off-topic, but one prep I never see mentioned is reading glasses. You can buy them for as little as $1/pr at Dollar Tree in various diopter strengths, and even if you’re young enough to need them for reading, any close work like sewing or gunsmithing can beca lot easier when you have a little magnification of the subject. If nothing else, in a SHTF situation, they may be a VERY valuable item for trading.

    • What an amazing idea! I have worn glasses for years. I did buy a backup pair from the optometrist and I keep all my old glasses. Buying them at the dollar store would have fit my stretched budget much better. Thanks for the great idea!

  • I became a single Dad when my daughter turned 3 and my then wife decided she needed to “experience” life more…i.e. other men.

    For years I felt horrible never giving my daughter the niceties of life, but we always had food, clothing, a roof over our heads and love.

    To get to the point… the things I couldn’t provide, were the things that never mattered in the end. What mattered, and is remembered by my daughter,are the popcorn nights on the porch. Playing “Spookum” in the cemetery across the road with flashlights. Standing on a bridge over the New York State thruway on my shoulder and pumping our arms to make truckers blow their airhorns. Sitting in her little red plastic rocking chair as we paddled down a small canal.

    These are the things children remember. Not fancy vacations or toys. They remember simple experiences with their Mom or Dad.

    It’s odd that i always thought I had to do more, when I really did more by being simple and being close to my daughter.

    I write this after being estranged from my daughter for 10 years. She’s now 34 and has my grandson aged 4. She sees in him and herself what we had.

    Out now. Been rambling. Hope someone gets something from this.


  • Daisy,

    My apologies to you for not giving you kudos for your life experiences and accomplishments with your children. Your article just touched a nerve with me, as I never felt anybody appreciates the struggles a single parent goes through.

    It stresses the importance of preparing, but also clarifies the importance of the little things…those little things that we, as adults, don’t recognize as “big things” to children.

  • I am a single parent/grandparent. Life doesn’t always turn out the way you had hoped and dreamed. Single parents should not be generalized along with many other groups of people. I’m also a public school teacher. I’ve seen many articles bashing public school and the teachers. We are not all the same. I love my students and would protect them to the death if needed. In fact, I took a first grade student and his 3 year old sister in my home and took care of them for three months when their family became homeless.
    Each situation is uniquely different. As a teacher I was threatened by a student of foreign born parents who recently had moved to the US. He was a 7 year old child. He told me that because I was a woman he didn’t have to listen to me and if he didn’t like me his father would come shoot me and no one could stop him. A little girl stated that her father was a hunter and had guns too, and he’d come protect me and the class. As this was a rural area school almost all the kids agreed and the little boy didn’t seem so assured of his power anymore. So we had a discussion about how we don’t have to like or agree with others, but we needed to respect them.
    Another incident that I had was after the Sandy Hook school shooting. I had another 7 year old boy who was the son of an active military father. He needed to know what I was going to do if our school was attacked. I told him my plans included having a can of wasp spray that would spray 20 ft away(the only “weapon” our school allowed besides an armed school officer), locking and barracading the door, and hiding the kids. He said that’s good, but I don’t want to stay in our room and get shot. We had two large windows in our classroom and I told him if an active shooter or situation was in another area of our building and it would be safe to try to escape, that I would bust out the window and send all the kids with him and another local student who lived two blocks away, and I’d stay behind, to keep them from being followed. We weren’t actually supposed to tell the children what we’d do as they could go home and tell the parents and others who would then know our escape plans. But I had a private conversation with that little boy, he needed to know that I had a plan and what his part in that plan was to be. That little boy said, you’re pretty good at this for being a girl. I laughed and told him that since we had a plan we could get back to learning.
    If we all, could not jump to judge others, but to help and encourage them to be aware and to have a plan, we would all be better prepared and less critical of each other.

  • I couldn’t believe what I was reading from Not Single Mom after you were so careful to explain yourself. I made some less than honorable decision early in life and ended up raising two daughters on my own. One is now a physician and another has her Ph.D. and is a clinical psychologist. They are wonderful daughters and have now married and both have children. A mother couldn’t be prouder and they are contributing members of society. It is heart-breaking to read such judgmental words from Not Single Mom when she doesn’t know the circumstances but lumps everyone who didn’t follow her footsteps into seemingly bad people. Your article was well-written. Congratulations!

  • My dear dad was raised by his single mom and grandparents who embodied and passed on unconditional love, devotion and skills through the generations. He grew up during the 50s and 60s (Irish Catholic neighborhood) when separation and divorce were looked down upon. He was the best father and friend a girl could ever ask for. I only wish he was still here and I knew my grandmother longer, as well as her parents. I miss them so much. I wish I knew all they did, and could learn from them still. Some people truly have it tough, and deserve our empathy and respect, not our judgement.

  • If you are a single parent Prepper, lets face it and cut the BS. you will need help.
    Either find a group to join or get a friend or family member to prepare with you.
    Regardless of the age of your children no single person can watch them 24/7 . They are bound to get into trouble on their own. It is the nature of Children and it is only a matter of time.

    When they are toddlers they wander off easily, some times in the middle years. Often when they are teenagers they think they know better and disobey.
    As young adults you don’t always fare much better with them.

    Then there is the general security. You can not be on guard duty 24/7,( and get anything else done), nor can you plan to rely on them to do it.

    So lets face it, you need other responsible Adults to help out. Regardless if you are a male or a female.
    You might “prep” alone, but come SHTF, you will need other adults to help you out.
    That is ,if you expect you and your children to survive.

  • “insinuating that a single mom is less than moral and speculating about the reasons even though they are completely ignorant of the situation.” That line of thinking goes hand in hand with those who say all homeless choose to be (including children). There are a faction of women who just don’t want to work outside the home and they too can tend to get on their high horse. Prior place we lived had a small group of them who I called stay at home snobs. Drove the kids to school cuz they weren’t organized/motivated to feed them and ensure they were ready. McDonald’s fine dining in-the-car breakfast.
    Centuries of patriarchy/religious blather/bias is the majority cause of this line of thinking. Regardless of how a person (could also be male) ends up a single parent, “fixing” the situation isn’t to find a mate post-haste and get married (and yes, you’d have to be married – no co-habitation”). Yet if a woman (usually a woman) stays with a husband/partner who beats her and the kids, SHE’s to blame. No winning.
    Before I had kids, I knew I could support them on my own. Wouldn’t be easy and that would be with extended family help in the area. So hats off to single parents who do the best they can. TheFrugalite website is a good resource to help be prepared as a single parent.

    • My first husband left when my oldest son was a year old. He ran through all the women who would have him in our area and then when he circled back to me, I took him back because I was beaten down by all the fools who said I didn’t try hard enough to “keep” him. That’s when he started physically abusing me. That was also my fault for “stressing him out,” by expecting him to hold a job. He left again when my son was three. I made a close Christian friend in a coworker at my new job and she explained I didn’t have to take him back again… and he did try. I was single for a long, long time and it was hard. I had all the usual single mom problems and additionally, my XH and his mother caused me as many financial, emotional, social, and legal issues as they could. I worked a FT job and 2 PT jobs to keep my son fed and pay the crazy legal fees and recover my credit after my XH stole my identity, and I was basically crucified for not being home with my son… as a single mother. There was no winning.

      I was right in the path of many hurricanes during all those years and my son never went without in any way because I prepped. And unlike what that doofus up there^ had to say, I did NOT have to depend on “other adults.” EVERY time, somehow, it was my fault the storm hit according to my XH, yet I had to give him and his new family food and water so they didn’t starve after the storms(?!). I never received a cent of child support, and I paid for EVERYTHING for my son, BTW, thanks to a “feminist” family court judge. The entire world seemed to assume I was a free prostitute because I was a single mother and I was treated horribly and disallowed opportunities because of that.

      As a single MOTHER, you’re truly damned if you do and damned if you don’t. It seems we’re never going to win at the game we don’t even have time to play.

  • Love this article! Just yesterday my 15 yo son told me he thought I was “more manly” than most of the city dads he knew because I am good at starting up lawnmowers, hitching up trailers, etc.

    And I love the update, too, because there are more shades of gray in relationships than ever. Traveling has made it harder for my kids to see their biological relatives, but we’ve gotten to know our friends and neighbors better than ever the past two years.

    If I was to give any advice to newly-single parent preppers, it would be to find support wherever you can. If that means changing jobs, moving, or leaving a toxic church to find a healthier, more loving community, do it. If you have people in your life that continually suggest your children are somehow doomed because their parents are divorced, stop talking to them. Find people that will help you make the best of your situation. Raising healthy, emotionally stable children as a single parent is not impossible, but you need to find other adults you can lean on. They don’t have to be romantic partners. They can be neighbors, friends from church, or parents of your kids’ friends. But make sure you’re talking to other people. Otherwise you’ll snap. I know this from experience.

  • Daisy,

    I hadn’t really given it much thought, until you wrote t his article, and you’re right. The vast majority of Prepping/Survival literature and programs are geared towards the traditional Nuclear family or Two Adult family for those with a different lifestyle. So the emphasis is on sharing duties and responsibilities (even when it doesn’t com right out and say that). Jeff Anderson of Warrior Life has brought it up too, and he does tailor a lot of his information to apply to either 1 or 2 adult Preps, as well as 2 adult Preps where one’s partner might not be in to prepping.
    I look back, and I’ve always had a little survivalist mentality, even as a teen. I’ve always kept a survival kit at hand. It’s only been 13 or 14 years since I shifted into hard core prep mode. I must confess, my better half thought I was nuts at first, it took her several years to get on board, and I’m thankful for that, because it is easier to share responsibilities. She’s better at some tasks tha I’ll ever be (her seed stockpile is impressive, much better selection than I had before she took it over).

    So I wouldn’t say it’s impossible for a single parent to do, but that it does require more effort and planning, so either having good or learning good organizational skills is a must have (for any prepper really).

    Great article Daisy, one I’m going to follow just for the information, so it can be passed on.

  • Another thoughtful and detailed article from you. You’re right that the few resources that are geared towards prepper parents (whether single or not) tend to be stunningly basic. You are one of the only writers I can consistently count on to bring info I’ve never seen before and would not have thought of myself.

    Considering that divorces and deaths tend to spike during hard times of all kinds, there are a lot of people out there who will one day need this info but don’t realize it yet. Just in the past week I know a guy whose wife hit him divorce papers and another whose wife died in a hit-and-run car crash. In the months before that 6 other people I know lost their spouses to everything from covid to suicide to sleep apnea. From the comments it’s obvious some people are assuming single parenthood will never happen to them, but they need to think twice about their odds. It can happen to anyone.

  • “How do you juggle all of your responsibilities?”

    step 1: decide what’s actually necessary, second tier the rest.

  • Daisy,

    I hadn’t really given it much thought, until you wrote t his article, and you’re right. The vast majority of Prepping/Survival literature and programs are geared towards the traditional Nuclear family or Two Adult family for those with a different lifestyle. So the emphasis is on sharing duties and responsibilities (even when it doesn’t com right out and say that). Jeff Anderson of Warrior Life has brought it up too, and he does tailor a lot of his information to apply to either 1 or 2 adult Preps, as well as 2 adult Preps where one’s partner might not be in to prepping.
    I look back, and I’ve always had a little survivalist mentality, even as a teen. I’ve always kept a survival kit at hand. It’s only been 13 or 14 years since I shifted into hard core prep mode. I must confess, my better half thought I was nuts at first, it took her several years to get on board, and I’m thankful for that, because it is easier to share responsibilities. She’s better at some tasks tha I’ll ever be (her seed stockpile is impressive, much better selection than I had before she took it over).

    So I wouldn’t say it’s impossible for a single parent to do, but that it does require more effort and planning, so either having good or learning good organizational skills is a must have (for any prepper really).

    Great article Daisy, one I’m going to follow just for the information, so it can be passed on.

    I’ve not experienced life as a single parent, so I’m not aware of all the difficulties that they face. I know it’s harder from what I’ve observed with others in my circle who do live the single parent life. It is what it is. All we can do is keep plugging away at it.

  • Ann Landers once wrote that it is better to be alone than to wish you were.
    My apologies if someone has already posted this.

  • I was a single parent prepper , now my kids have kids of their own.
    Although I agree with much of what you said. I can’t help but wonder why there is so much made of it. I always raised my kids in an equal opportunity house from the time they were born (even when I was married) we didn’t have a ton of money and if we wanted things we had to save for or make much of it. my boys are just as comfortable sewing on a button as they are building a wall. As far as Prepping food it was made more sense and was more econical to buy in bulk especially as they got older.
    As far as what anyone thought about prepping , it was not a discussion especially when they saw how great my boys were and how we lived an normal life and prepping never came up.

  • Daisy,

    It breaks my heart that religious people have said things that (1) Put you in a box (2) Denigrated you (3) Said, did things, or implied that you were a second-class citizen because you’re not married. It is wrong that they did that.

    Please realize that not all religious people are that way. I have vociferously advocated for truly loving our neighbors and walking in love toward them – no matter who they are, no matter what walk of life they have, no matter what ‘lifestyle’ they choose and lead, no matter their skin color, no matter their religion. Religious people are not to sit in judgment of others. We are to serve others, to care for them, to befriend them, and to love them.

    I am not one of the ones that ever said anything against you for your marital status or anything else for that matter. Please accept my apology on behalf of those who claim the name of Christ but don’t live like it.

    I am thankful that you are my friend!

    Karen Morris
    A Year Without the Grocery Store

  • This was a great and insightful article. It’s all too easy to judge when you haven’t been there. I mean how hard is to be married? Or have baby? Or raise children? Or run a homestead, or grow a garden?? The list goes on. I’m so sorry that women and others like her were so judgemental. I can only hope she won’t have to experience what she so easily judged.

  • Thank you, Daisy.
    It is true that if you’ve not walked in a single parents shoes, you really don’t know. And that goes for the married single parents etc also.
    I was the married single parent until my husband shot himself.
    The scariest thing about prepping as a single mother is knowing I can’t do it all in a shtf situation. I can cover most angles, but as just one person, you’ve got to sleep sometime.
    But it is taking what steps you can and making careful friends. I have some good friends close by now that are reliable and like minded plus adult children who are as well. That is a huge blessing.
    Your article was encouraging and I appreciate that very much. The day to day grind wears a person out and often it’s hard to keep trying to think ahead. Thanks for the chin up

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