From Taia Ergueta, Founder of The Wisdom of Poor Mothers


I had the good fortune of being raised by a wise poor mother. Despite her difficult life experiences (and because of them) she taught me the most valuable things I know. A divorced mother of two small children, she emigrated from Bolivia to the US. She had not had the chance to study beyond the 8th grade and she worked as a secretary her whole life. But she managed to identify and open doors of opportunity for her two children that led them to Harvard and Stanford and, from there, to many demanding and rewarding professional positions.

So I have deep personal experience of the power of a wise mother. But further evidence of that power is everywhere. In political campaigns, celebrity profiles, sports events and business journals, we see successful people in all fields who point to their financially struggling mothers as the fount of their inspiration and strength. The stories of everyday Americans who live rewarding and responsible lives because of the teaching and example of wise humble mothers are just as compelling.

2 replies »

  1. I just wish that there were more attention to the role of fathers. If a father is available, the research is CLEAR that his involvement is critical. Currently family courts routinely award custody to mothers (and the only criteria is female gender) and cause fathers to pay child support (and the only criteria is that they are male). The sad reality is that even when dads do spend half the time with children AND they work full time AND they pay fully half of all expenses–they still pay full child support as if they never saw the children in many states. Child support receiving mothers are not required to report the payments as income, thus the other who lived in a mansion and spent her money on shooting lessons for her son (who shot her and an elementary school full of children) still qualified for a slew of subsidized supports. If child support counted as income AND there were incentives for fathers to be more involved (lowered support payments for each day spent with children weekly) and if judges were required to provide proof of gender parity in child support requirements and custody awards, I think we would see far better outcomes for children. People ignore the single fathers, but their numbers are growing and stats show they do a better job than mothers in raising their children.

    • Thank you, Daniela for outlining the challenges and contributions of fathers. I fully agree that fathers can be just as influential and worthy of support. Most of the things that I post in this site are just as applicable to fathers and their families. The small statement about that which I put on my “Mission” page is easy to miss and needs to be reinforced periodically. I have put the emphasis of my research and site on mothers for a few reasons:
      1. The sad fact is that mothers are much more likely to be raising children (Of all the US households with children under 18 in 2009, 25% were headed by single mothers, 8% by single men and 67% by married couples); women are also twice as likely to be poor,
      2. Mothers (especially low and middle class mothers) face more external challenges and prejudice in the work world. Since 34% of working women are their family’s sole source of support, this is a big issue.
      3. They are more likely to create positive collateral impacts as they progress. A recent estimate I saw was that 12 people are affected positively when a low income woman makes progress.

      Thank you for your comment and I will try to watch for and include acknowledgement of fathers’ roles and challenges periodically. I am very open to posting contributed information on this and other related subjects!

      Stat Source: Women and the Economy 2010, Report by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, Aug 2010

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