How to Help a Single-Parent Family Buy a Holiday Toy.

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Looking for new ways to give to those in need this holiday season? Beyond Baby Mamas can help, by connecting you to a single parent who needs help buying a gift for their child.

Whether you were raised in a one-income household, had a few financially tight holiday seasons as a child, or have ever struggled to meet the needs or fulfill the desires of a child in your life, you can imagine how hard it is for some families to make ends meet at this time of year.

We’ve asked single parents to fill out a request form, noting their child’s age (between 4 and 12 years old), as well as the gift their child wants most. We’re taking requests and making matches until Friday, December 12. If you have not been matched by Friday, December 12 at 8 PM EST, please be advised that it is likely because we have already fulfilled all qualifying requests.

Once you are matched with a family via email, please proceed to Amazon.com or ToysRUs.com and place an order using the name, email address and shipping address that we provide. Order as soon as possible so that the gift will arrive by Christmas Day.

Just fill out the form below to begin the process.

In order to contribute, please note the following:

  • Your contribution is a one-time purchase shipped directly to a parent in need.
  • Should you choose to contribute, your purchase will not be tax-deductible.
  • Beyond Baby Mamas will provide you with the name, contact email, and mailing address of the parent in need and can follow up with him or her directly to confirm receipt of your gift.
  • Beyond Baby Mamas will coordinate matches and facilitate contact. We cannot answer questions regarding package tracking or personal details about selected families.

Single Parents: Need Help With a Gift for Your Small Child? We Can Help!

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Read all details and fill out of the form below if you and your child qualify. Happy holidays!

Beyond Baby Mamas understands that the holidays can be a stressful, financially-prohibitive time for many parents living on one income, and no families that celebrate a gift-exchanging holiday this time of year should have to explain to their children that they can’t have what they most desire.

Beyond Baby Mamas would like to help 30 single-parent families afford toys for their children this Christmas — and you can help!

To apply for this year’s holiday campaign you must be:

  • a single parent with a child between the ages of 4 and 12.
  • in need of a gift that retails for $50 or less.
  • able to receive gifts via a valid U.S. mailing/shipping address (no P.O. boxes).

Beyond Baby Mamas will select families, based on their statement of need, the availability of the gift they’re requesting for online order, and their submission of the online request from below by no later than Friday, December 12, 2014 at 5PM EST.

All gifts must be sold via Amazon.com or ToysRUs.com so that our donors can easily order and ship them directly from the website to the shipping address the parent provides.

Parents: please check the availability of your child’s gift at Amazon.com or ToysRUs.com BEFORE submitting their online request form. 

Please note that Beyond Baby Mamas may not be able to match each requesting parent with a donor and reserves the right to deny requests that do not meet the requirements listed above.

Parents: please limit requests to one child per form. Or, if you are submitting requests for more than one child, the requested toy prices cannot exceed $50 total.

What Mali Music’s Gospel Album Gets Right About Unmarried Parenting.

It isn’t often that we get hopeful, even-tempered, nonjudgmental songs about unmarried parenting from gospel artists, but Mali Music’s latest album, Mali Is…, released this past Tuesday, gives us just that. The second to last track on the album, “Johnny & Donna,” tells the tale of a young unmarried couple who naively embark on the journey of parenthood and promptly realize how unprepared they are — not just for parenting but also for salvaging their flagging relationship.

In his short New York Times review of the album, Jon Caramanica calls “Johnny & Donna” “a classic morality tale for the Teen Mom era” and finds the song’s final lines: “Whether you’re Johnny or Donna or neither of the two/Just try to make the best of what’s given to you,” to be too morally noncommittal. Caramanica assesses the lines as “an answer that tries to please everyone, and may satisfy no one.”

But as someone who grew up in church, who met the father of my daughter at church, and who still attends church as an unmarried parent, it’s hard for me to be as dismissive of “Johnny & Donna.” On more than one occasion, we’ve written here at Beyond Baby Mamas about condemnation of single motherhood at church and how Christian mothers are practically forced to internalize that condemnation.

Few sermons or gospel songs allow for the ideas in Mali Music’s song about a young couple forming a permanent relationship while acknowledging the impermanence of their romance:

Johnny and Donna slowly recognized
That for the baby’s future they planned 2 different lives
Donna wanted a family; she wanted to do it right
Make Johnny’s house a home
She wanted to be a wife

But Johnny was a dreamer
And he had to move around
Yeah, he’d be there for his child
But wouldn’t settle down
How, how, how, how
Do I win and where?
Are questions they often both asked God

He doesn’t mock either party’s idealism, naivety, or needs. He doesn’t make light of either’s desires, opting instead to attribute the dissolution of their partnership to a difference in priorities and personalities. In truth, that’s often what it is. Break-ups aren’t a punishment for sin; they’re often a miscalculation of compatibility. Single parenthood isn’t indicative of defunct morality; it’s the result of breaking up with someone with whom you’d once intended a shared future.

The ambiguity of the last line isn’t an attempt to “please everyone.” It’s a call to all of us: listen to people’s stories, honor their individual circumstances, acknowledge their humanity. The reason “Johnny & Donna” isn’t a satisfying “cautionary tale” is because unmarried parenting isn’t a “cautionary tale.” It’s like artist asserts in the end:

Life is full of twists, twists
Life is full of twirls, twirls, twirls ,twirls
It’s the way of the world;
It’s whirlwinds and girlfriends
Toys and boyfriends, friends, friends
and Frenchmen (war) Peace, impeachment
gentlemen, ladies, Hyundais, Mercedes
Mistakes and Peach Rings,
Blacks and bleach stains
(Don’t forget wasps and bee stings.)

It isn’t arbitrary, exactly, but it comes at your in clouds and dust storms. It hits you hard and fast. Some things are avoidable. And some things are result of running toward the wind instead of shielding ourselves from it. But we’ve got to make the best of whatever comes (and whatever we’ve chased). It’s refreshing to have a new song celebrating that process instead of shaming those who are navigating it.

Mali Is… is currently $7.99 at iTunes. Buy it. It’s brilliant.

I Am Recovering From Fatherless Daughter Syndrome.

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The picture above is from 5th grade. It’s an important picture because my dad did my hair that day.
My dad…
…was tall and slender.
…could throw down in the kitchen.
…was artistic and musical, and was the person who taught me how to sign my name.
…did drugs.
…hit my mom.
…made empty promises.
…was not around much.
…should’ve never procreated.

I used to say to myself “I don’t have daddy issues.” That was a boldface lie, I just didn’t know it. My life manifested itself into a clusterfuck that I sometimes don’t recognize, but through continual self-awareness, development and honesty I now know why – because I have fatherless daughter syndrome.

Fatherless Daughter Syndrome is a disorder of the emotional system that leads to repeated dysfunctional relationship
decisions, especially in the areas of trust, and self-worth. It is caused by the lack of a father/daughter bond, which leads
to the daughter not having a clear understanding of what a healthy, loving male/female relationship looks like. It can be
a lifelong syndrome if the symptoms go unrecognized and unacknowledged. The first relationship a little girl has with a man is the one she has with her father. This relationship gives life to what that little girl, who will eventually become a woman, will believe she deserves in her relationships with men. It is poignant, life-shaping, and oh so necessary. What happens to the little girl who doesn’t have the chance to experience this relationship?

Well, you are looking at her.

Without that relationship I had a hard time deciphering what I deserved or who I was worthy of having in my life. There
was no blueprint, no outline, or guide to help me understand the right way to be loved, and because I didn’t truly know,
I settled. I wholeheartedly could feel when something didn’t feel right in my relationships, but elected to stay in those
relationships because my sense of self was not fully developed. My decisions came from a place of scarcity rather than
love. There were so many things my dad could’ve showed me and saved me the trouble of letting my mistakes show me,
but he was selfish and put his needs before that of my brother and I.

I haven’t seen my father in close to ten years, which is by choice. I know where to find him but I haven’t decided if it is
necessary.

Since I have taken the time to be away from the world and reevaluate my life and my decisions, I have had the
opportunity to understand my pattern. This is why I say I am recovering from Fatherless Daughter Syndrome because I
have taken the time to really look inside myself and understand what I want. It has not been easy, but it has been
necessary because the life I want and work hard towards everyday will not allow for it to be any other way.

 

Toi is a single mother to 4 wonderful boys and the creator of the single mom blog, Baby Mama Lessons. The piece above is crossposted from her site. 

Enter Beyond Baby Mamas’ 2nd Mother’s Day Dinner Contest!

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We want to help send you and yours to Mother’s Day dinner.

It’s that time of year again! Mother’s Day 2014 is on its way, and we want to show you how much we appreciate you. Beyond Baby Mamas is once again offering families led by single mothers of color the opportunity to win a gift certificate to a family-style restaurant.

Here’s our annual appeal:

For restaurants, Mother’s Day is big business. For single-parent families, it’s just a big expense. If your children are old enough to contribute, it can be fun, provided they have jobs or a few siblings to split the costs. They may also opt to cook for you, which can also be pretty cool… if they know how to cook. But for moms of younger children or moms who tend to spend Mother’s Day cooking for or dining out with (and paying for) their own mothers, it may be a cost-prohibitive affair.

To help, Beyond Baby Mamas would like to treat one special single-parent family to dinner this Mother’s Day (or at least split the tab). We’re offering a $60 gift certificate to one of the following restaurants:

The winning family chooses the restaurant, and the electronic gift card will be delivered to the email address provided on your contest entry form. To enter, you MUST:

  • Follow, like, or subscribe to us on at least one social media site (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or this blog).
  • Submit a complete Contest Entry Form.

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 11. Our contest ends at 12PM (noon) EST on Monday, May 5. The winning family will be notified and their gift certificate emailed no later than Wednesday, May 7. Good luck!