Dallas Mom and Writer Pamela Gwyn Kripke Defends Single Motherhood

Following an article it ran last summer about the dangers of being raised by a single mother, Slate invited its readers to defend  fatherless households. Sometime D Magazine contributor and Park Cities resident Pamela Gwyn Kripke, who is likely still eagerly counting the days until she can escape having to live in Dallas, is herself a mom raising two daughters solo.

She writes in a post today:

 We are surrounded by huge homes and the other accouterments of wealth. Kids here, and in similar bubbles of affluence, find gift-wrapped cars in the driveway when they turn 16, as well as one of the greatest predictors of success: support. In the recently published How Children Succeed, author Paul Tough argues that rich kids get the encouragement and poor ones get the grit, and he claims that one without the other gets no one very far. It is hard to spot the millionaire’s kid who mows the lawn or the middle-schooler on a free-lunch program who sees his parents before nine at night. I would maintain that children with a single parent get the winning combination.

Myself raised by a single mother who worked a full-time job and handled three children while attending college in the evenings to complete the degree that my unexpected birth had long prevented her from finishing, I concur that I’ve learned a thing or two about grit.


  • DGirl

    Good for her! I was a single mom for four years before remarrying. It’s tough and it’s tough to be a single mom in the Park Cities. Once a friend of mine referred to a girl her son liked as coming from “a broken family,” meaning, of course, that her parents were divorced. I was happy then and am now to defend “broken families” such as ours. We have three last names, steps and halfs, divided holidays and child support but my “broken family” is a hell of a lot healthier than many “intact” families. Take THAT to your bible study.

  • Joe

    I don’t get it. Single mothers are not more likely to fall into some middle ground of not in poverty but working hard enough to be a good example. Statistically, they are just more likely to live in poverty and likely will not see her children “before nine at night.” In fact, her article seems to stress that its the grit alone that results in a single parent being superior (leading to the conclusion that poverty is a benefit of divorce), largely based on her account of the terrible behavior of her ex. It is a very strange defense of single-parent households.

    As the child of single parents (spent time with both at various times), I wish she simply would have said it’s easier to be a good parent with the support of another good parent in the home, but it can be done without. Moreover, the children may in fact be better off with one good parent than with two parents who can’t, for whatever reason, get along. That is the truth. It might not be fair, but life rarely is.

  • Ben

    Dads matter.

  • Daniel

    I admire single moms. I do not think “It’s Better to Be Raised By a Single Mom,” as her headline has it. This is the same as saying “It’s Better For Kids Not to Know Their Fathers, or at Least Not Very Well.” There is, of course, a near infinitude of variables. Sometimes this may be the case.

    I’m sorry that Pamela Kripke’s divorce continues to cause her so much pain and resentment. Her self-exposition in this matter does not appear to be artful, or even deliberate, I’m afraid. She seems equally unaware of the level of socioeconomic privilege she enjoys — most of it, I suspect, unearned, or unearned by her, at least.

    There are people, some even on this very blog, that I do not like in print but that I suspect I would like in real life. Pamela Kripke is not such a person.

  • Bill Marvel

    It’s possible to raise good, healthy kids without a dad around. Is it easy? Desirable?

  • Avid Reader

    Better yet Pamela, we could just push our kids out of the house right when they are born…think how much more of a winner each of those children will be from having no parents.

  • Daniel

    It’s true, Avid Reader: They will have “grit.” No, wait:. “Grit” is being used as a pawn in a vindictive custody dispute and being made to understand that you should hate your father and, by extension, men generally.” No, wait: That’s “being raised with emotional abuse that will cause a lifetime of damage.” No wait. Aw shucks, I’m all confused now.

  • Jason Heid

    Running off to a meeting just as I was publishing this post caused me to forget to post the one additional line that I had intended. Daniel’s comment above reminded me of my omission:

    “…I concur that I’ve learned a thing or two about grit.

    But I wouldn’t say I was necessarily better off than those who had Dad around.”

  • Dubious Brother

    The term single mom is the result of a family court system that was designed by attorneys for attorneys. Each decree that involves children has the term “in the best interest of the child(ren).” In reality, the attorneys’ children are the real beneficiaries.
    Divorce doesn’t have to mean that one parent is eliminated from the childrens’ lives but that seems to be the goal of the family courts and the mothers have learned to game the system using the children as weapons. For the most part, the family court judges that perpetuate the system are on the bench to get a pay raise as they were not able to make it as family law attorneys. Compounding the problem is that the state is provided with federal funds for every dollar of child support that is paid usually by the father.
    Taking a father out of a child’s life will increase the chances of the child doing poorly in school, doing drugs, being promiscuous and engaging in criminal activity.