Inspirational stories of single mothers [Top 5]

Parenting, Health, Wealth, Education, Companionship, Leisure, and Freedom to name just a few; are all things we wish to be successful in.  Though sometimes it seems like an impossible endeavor, these stories make it crystal clear that single mothers CAN be and often are very successful in all the ways we too desire.

While there are MANY stories of successful single mothers, the following are the inspirational stories of single mothers I found most inspiring:

1. Madam C.J.Walker 1867-1919

(Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company)

This woman’s story takes the cake of inspirational stories!

Walkers Youth

Born Sarah Breedlove in 1867 in Delta Louisiana, she was the first of her family born free.   Her parents and elder siblings were slaves. She was orphaned at the age of seven and started working at the age of ten while living with her sister and abusive husband. Breedlove married at fourteen, most likely to escape her abusive brother in law, and had her child at seventeen. Unfortunately she was widowed at twenty.


She worked scrubbing clothes, sang ragtime, did door to door sales of other products, remarried, divorced took care of her daughter among many other things and eventually started selling her own hair products door to door.

Her “Big Break”

Despite her age, poor health, hair loss, being a single parent, no doubt dealing with racism and misogynistic butt holes of that era, hardly any education and very limited resources she was able to to do all these things and then some.  She didn’t get lucky and nothing fell in her lap.  She got out there and made things happen.

Yes, this suffering woman with the whole world and god himself seemingly against her managed to start her own company at age 38.  She later became one of the wealthiest self made woman of all time!

An “older”, widowed, divorced,orphaned, single mother, woman of color with little to no education became a MILLIONAIRE!! In the early 1900’s!!!!

BooHoo For Me and You

Feeling sorry for oneself after reading this story seems absolutely ridiculous. I am not devaluing  feelings that are a reaction to hardship, but rather seeing things realistically.  I thus suggest being appreciative of all that one DOES have on their side.

Even though the world might not be entirely equal or fair for women, even in the United States.  We DO have an immense amount of opportunities and resources to help us succeed in life in all the ways we wish to.

There is no excuse for not getting it done! Next to Sarah Breedlove,  becoming a millionaire should be considered easy!

2. Maya Angelou April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014

(Poet, Writer, Singer, Civil Rights Activist, etc, etc, etc….)

Mmm hmm!!  One of the most known spokespersons for people of color and women was a single mother.

Mayas Youth

She was born Marguerite Annie Johnson, in St. Louis Missouri. After her parents marriage ended when she was three , she basically flip flopped back and forth from her grandmother (who seems to have been a very lovely woman who greatly influenced Maya) and her parents.

When she was eight years old she was raped by her mothers boyfriend. She told her brother and her brother told her family.   The man went to jail for only one day, but was murdered very soon after his release. Likely by Mayas uncles in retaliation of this awful crime. Because of this she became mute for over four years as she thought that her voice had killed this man and would kill anyone else too. She  finally started speaking again with the help of a family friend who also just so happened to introduce her to many authors that would inspire her career as writer.

She went to California Labor School in California and became the first woman street car driver before graduating.  Three weeks after graduating at age 17, she gave birth to her son.

Jill of Many Trades

She had many many different jobs from sex work for lesbians, calypso dancer, editor, singer to working with Martin Luther King during the Civil Rights Movement.

It wasn’t until she was over forty though, that she published her most famous work I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.   Because of this work she became critically acclaimed and recognized.

Her net wealth was between 10 and 34 million!

Interesting Tid Bit about the great Maya:

To write, Angelou would go to a hotel where she had all the paintings removed.  She would bring only legal pads, sherry and playing cards with her.  She would go in the morning and would leave by mid day with less than 20 pages written. That’s how she wrote.

She also didn’t leave anything out and openly admitted and accepted her mistakes.

Harness Your Weird

We are all strange in our own ways and instead of hiding and feeling shame about it, we could take example from one of the greats.

Even though she galavanted around several countries, had been with many different men, had many different jobs, and made a ton of mistakes, she embraced it all.  Maya embraced her strangeness and ended up an infamous poet, writer, etc. etc. etc!

We can all be who we are and do what we want and find a way to use it to push us forward to become successful in whatever we choose!

3. Caryn Elaine Johnson a.k.a. Whoopi Goldberg!

Born 1955 (Actress/comedian/activist/etc…)

Yup, Whoopi Goldberg was a single mother at one point.

Caryn’s Youth

She was born and raised in the projects of New York.  And although she always knew she wanted to be an actress, she ended up dropping out of high school as she was mistakenly classified as slow, and possibly retarded.  Really she just had dyslexia.

At one point she was a junkie.  After she got clean, she ended up having a child with her drug counselor.  Unfortunately he left her just a few months after her daughter was born.  Just lovely right? Get mistaken for mentally impaired. Junkie. Abandoned teen mama.

Nothing To Offer?

She thought she didn’t know how to do anything at all and ended up working as a nanny from Texas to California where she had some kind of problem with the family who were once her friends.

So she tried a bunch of odd jobs. She worked as a cosmetologist for a mortuary, as a bank teller, she laid bricks and so on and so forth.

Getting After it

Most importantly she revived her original passions/dream, joined a theater troupe and ended up teaching comedy and acting classes.  After pursuing her career in acting her talent was finally  noticed by a big director and thus got the part of Celia in The Color Purple.

The rest as they say is history. At the ripe age of 30, after so much hardship and failure,she worked her butt off learning and studying and taking care of her daughter and ended up one of the best and most successful actresses of all time and is “worth” 45 million!

Believe  Invest In Yourself

Believing in yourself is nice and all but if you don’t get out there and actually pursue your dreams and put hard work into becoming excellent at whatever that might me, your not going to get anywhere.

Her story reminds one to dream big!  Believe in onesself! And more importantly ACT on that in which you wish to achieve and INVEST in onesself, by learning all you possibly can regarding accomplishing those goals.  And even after all ones mistakes, there are things your great at!  Just got to harness, practice and nurture those talents, rather than deny and suppress them.

4. JK Rowling born in 1965

(author of Harry Potter series)

What?!?! The author of Harry Potter was a poor single mother when she wrote those stories? Yes!

Rowlings Youth

Rowlings was born and grew up on the England a Wales border.  She dealt with her mother having MS and dying, which was extremely hard for Rowlings to deal with.

She moved to Portugaul for a new start.  There, she met the father of her child, married him a short time later.  They miscarried a child but later gave birth to a girl and they were separated before her baby was 6 months old.

Getting Away

Rowling then moved to a new place where she had nothing except her sister and a few chapters of an untitled story. She was jobless with a new tiny baby. Her mom was dead. She had to get a restraining order on the father of her child after he went to get them after she moved away from him.  All of this led her to suffer from clinical depression.  And she ended up on welfare.

Of Cafes and Babies

Even on welfare though, she managed to push through and write.  She wrote in cafes while her baby slept! I repeat: JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter in cafes with her sleeping baby while on welfare!

She later became a BILLIONAIRE, was so wonderful that she gave away so much money that she wasn’t’ a billionaire for a while (boo hoo) and now is back to billionaire status.

It’s Still In There!

Her story helps to remember that the creativity inside us never dies and needs us to push through our suffering, bring it out, and see our projects through to the end (even though Harry Potter seems endless). She had ideas, put them together and saw her projects through, one chapter at a time.

So write your own story! One chapter at a time.

5. Diane Hendricks

(owner/founder of ABC Roofing Supply)

Long Story Short

This woman grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin.  She became a teen mother working on a factory line to support her son. She says she knew she wanted more out of life, And at 21 with her presumably loving husband, she started a wholesale roofing company, that’s worth over 4 billion now!

Super Mom!

She was able to spend time with her family, even cook for them, eat dinner with them every night AND build a multi billion dollar company with her husband. It’s nice to see one of the richest woman in the world was a single mother at one point and capable of getting the job done whilst taking care of her “domestic duties”.  Eventually she had a nanny but for a long while was able to get the job done on her own.

1 + 1 = 2

I do believe holeheartedly that you can be very happy and successful as a single woman with no help from any man or partner. But it sure is nice to know that it’s possible to find love and build something with a companion. Even after being heart broken, torn apart, abused, widowed or whatever the circumstances.

It’s also nice to know that is is possible to spend time with your family and still become very wealthy.   Spending time with my son is one of the most important things to me and one of the reasons I never striven for a better.

Now I am realizing that was a grave mistake.  I could have spent immense amount of time with him AND gotten things in order so we could both have a better life.  Because really ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

Big trouble in little Hawaii:

What promted this article:

I’m sitting thinking to myself. I am a lonely single 32 y/o mother. Broke. Low income job. I live on the porch of my one bedroom apt with a renter in the bedroom and my son in the living room. (see How To Convert a Patio into a habitable room) 3 of the tires on my car are about to blow out. Transmission might give out soon.

I have no profitable useful skill or degree that would afford me a better paying job at the moment.  I have lost my passion and all interest in my one skill (making jewelry). Have no credit.

My one love/hobby (surfing) entails me using my car, which needs registration that I can’t afford at the moment. My only true friend lives a million miles away. I basically screwed up everything I had going for myself as a young bustling woman and all I want to do is curl up fetal position and cry myself into oblivion!

Instead I grab my favorite bar of Natural Dark Chocolate and research some inspirational stories of single mothers.  Hopefully that would lead to me getting out of this depressing black hole and eventually become successful myself (or at least just get through this day….)

Bottom line: go get it! It CAN all happen for you but you have to MAKE IT HAPPEN!

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