, Port Arthur, Texas

November 1, 2012

Single mom group offers guidance, support

Brooke Crum
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Gail Cawley Showalter was a single mother for 16 years. She knows how difficult it can be.

But Showalter is there to help other single moms bear the burden of parenting alone with her organization, SMORE for Women. SMORE is a nonprofit alliance of women whose goal is: Single Moms Overjoyed, Rejuvenated and Empowered.

SMORE will hold its third annual conference for single moms Saturday at the Aldergate Trinity United Methodist Church from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration, which is still open, costs $20. A lunch of barbecue, potato salad and homemade desert is included as well as childcare for toddlers and door prizes. SMORE asks for advance notice if childcare is needed.

“We want the community to know we’re here,” Showalter said.

At the conference, single moms would receive encouragement and gentle guidance from SMORE’s board members, she said. The conference adheres to the nine central themes SMORE has established, including personality predicaments, money matters, setting boundaries and dating do’s.

“They will go home with a new vision for their lives,” Showalter said.

SMORE works with several churches in Southeast Texas but mainly Calder Baptist Church in Beaumont. The nonprofit is also associated with other organizations across the country. Showalter sometimes gets letters from other single mothers around the world, asking for her assistance and guidance, she said.

“I’m here to help,” Showalter said.

Showalter founded SMORE in 2007 when she realized how little help was out there for single mothers.

“I saw that void and wanted to fill it,” she said.

So, she started holding what she calls “Days of Blessing,” which usually included some sort of gifts for single moms, facials and massages. Showalter calls herself a “tough old bird with a soft spot for single mothers.”

“All single moms have the same goal,” she said, “they love their children.”

And Showalter would know. She gave birth to three children in a span of 37 months — two girls and one boy. Her children are grown now, in their 30s, and she has remarried. But she still remembers the emotional roller coaster her children rode when their parents split.

“It isn’t okay for the children,” she said.

The children suffer emotional difficulties and heartache because they are either torn between two households or just do not have a father at all, she said. Children are often confused by their father’s absence, and that is not what is best for them, Showalter said.

“Where are the daddies?” she said.