Dear Dr. Laura,
I've wanted to write to you for some time, but I'm just getting around to it now that my kids are finally in college.
I was raised in a very liberal family and I worked right up until the time my first child was born (I was literally at work when I went into labor). I assumed I would go back to work soon after my son was born, but everything changed in those first few weeks. I instinctively knew my son needed me, and even though there was pressure from all sides to go back to work, including from my husband and his family, I held out. I wish I would have know about you then. I felt like I was the only one in the world making this decision (twenty-some years ago).
I had a daughter two years later, but I had not chosen my husband wisely, and even if I had, I knew nothing about being a good wife. My marriage only lasted until my children were toddlers.
After I divorced, my ex-husband had virtually nothing to do with the children, and I wondered if I should look for someone to be a father to them. My son was beginning to show some of the typical problems of a boy growing up without a man in the house. Once again, I went with my instinct, which told me my children did not need my attention to be subdivided. I never dated while my children were growing up.
My son did have problems, lots of problems, including getting thrown out of several schools and getting arrested when he was fourteen. I did the best I could, combining love with firm discipline. I was always self-employed, so my kids came to work with me when they were little, and I arranged my hours so I was always there when they came home.
Then one day, I came across your program on the radio. Here was someone finally saying I was on the right track, and it helped take away some of the self-doubt I had always felt. It helped my to stay strong and continue what I was doing, even with everyone I knew questioning my decisions.
Well, even with these less than ideal circumstances, my son finally settled down and is now a student in his third year of college and my daughter went off to college this September. I'm proud to say both my children are responsible, compassionate, and hard-working young adults (and by the way, now everyone compliments me on the great job I did raising them). So I'm constantly singing your praises and directing people to your advice. I have to tell you my mom and sisters groan when I mention your name, but I'm working on them. When they compare my kids to how children of other divorced parents have turned out, when those children had to deal with absent/working mothers and a constant flow of boyfriends/girlfriends, step-siblings, etc., they have to admit that your advice makes a lot of sense.