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Survival and the Single Mom
© 2006

Ladies, this article is for you...
For the single mom, with one or more dependent children, facing an emergency evacuation can be summed up in one word: Catastrophic.

Unlike the two "Moms" pictured here, your kids cannot be left alone while you go out to "hunt-up" dinner. You have to use the six P's (PROPER PRIOR PLANNING PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE), to prevent personal disaster. You have to decide if you want to wander around helplessly in the woods... Or become a "tigress", ready for anything, and prepared for everything.


For the single mother, protection for your children is ALWAYS your first concern. Most of you would sacrifice your own lives to save your children. This is the way nature meant it to be. Don't fight nature, go with it. But, you do NOT have to go it on your own.

As you probably well know, no one can go on forever without sleep. So, regardless of the disaster you are facing, you need to find another source of ADULT help just to stay alive. My recommendation is that you develop your own circle of friends who have a common interest in disaster survival... And plan well ahead of time what to do and how to do it.

Am I talking about men? NO! The most sympathetic help you will get is from other single mom's. There is a reason you are a single mom - and I don't care what the reasons are. That is a deeply personal subject of no importance to this article. What is important is that you develop a circle of friends (of either sex) who are devoted to saving each other and all the children. Never turn down SINCERE assistance. But, as you well know, be skeptical of receiving help from strangers with ulterior motives. Crisis situations bring out the best in people during the short term. But, for prolonged situations, you can only rely on yourselves.

Two adults can share responsibility. One can sleep while the other watches the kids. You have an adult to talk to about plans and variations to plans as they come up. Two people can lift heavier items than on person can lift. Two people represent a solid front of "resistance" should trouble suddenly come up. Many men will back down when facing more that one protective mom. Two adults possess twice as many skills as one person. Day to day driving while traveling gives the driver a chance to rest. Camping chores can be shared and you don't need separate tents. There are many advantages to a small group of single mom's working together for a common goal.

Survival is the business of balancing options. What are the best options for your particular and specific threat? Almost every article I have written in my RogueTurtle series can apply to single mom's. I'm not going to re-write them, they are skills that every person would eventually need if the circumstances demand it, regardless of sex. If the one option you select is to face the disaster without male assistance, go for it. There is absolutely no reason why you can't. Every skill you develop for survival in the woods can and will make you a stronger person, more confident to face the world when it all turns to Q$TW$%HG.

Women historically spend less time practicing outdoor survival skills than men. That sounds sexist, but its mostly true. How you were raised as a child plays a big role in this. Remember your own childhood. Did you stay out until after dark playing in the woods? I did, but my sister thought I was nuts - and stayed at home. My sister would not make a good choice of partner to spend the night in the woods with. Oh yes, there are many skilled women who spent their lives out-of-doors. But, nationwide, their numbers are low. Culturally, we Americans have lost most of our native primitive skills. Can you kill and clean and cook your own food.? Can you clean and cook a fish? Do you have the guts to bait your own hook? The answer (for my own personal family) is a resounding NO. "Why should I do it if I have you to do it." Mrs. RogueTurtle quote.

You, as single mothers, with no supportive male in your life, don't have this option.

So, to HELL WITH THE MEN. You haven't needed them so far. You don't need them to become a survivalist.

"The only thing that men can do better than women in the woods is write their name in the snow with urine."
RogueTurtle Quote


Step one: Establish your circle of friends. One is good, more than one friend is better.

These friends have to have to have a lot in common. First of all, they all have to have a knowledge and understanding of the probable threats to the area where you live. If you live in Florida, you probably don't have the threat of avalanche. If you live in California, you have the constant threat of earthquakes. Every state has the threat of terrorists attack, forest fires, and civil unrest. Sit down with a group of friends. Discuss what really bad things could happen in your area. Establish a rule during this discussion that there is no such thing as "silly suggestions". What may first appear to be ridiculous may be just what happens.

The ladies that throw up their hands and state "Well, I guess we're doomed", would not make a good survival friend because she has already given up. She's right, she is doomed.

The ladies that agree that there is a problem, and say "What can we do about that", are the type people who may just fit right in to your ideas for survival.

Look for different people with a lot of different skills. Ideally, one person would be a doctor, nurse or EMT, trained in emergency medical procedures. One should be the "outdoors type", comfortable with living outdoors. Another may be trained in mechanical skills, and can take care of your vehicles. The various skill combinations is staggering.

Step two: Develop those skills where you are deficient.

After selecting your select group, keep it to yourselves. A lot of hurt feelings and a loss of friends will result in a friend who is NOT selected because of her attitude, lack of concern, or laziness. You do NOT want another BIG KID in your group that you will have to care of in addition to the real children in your group. It is very difficult to tell an adult that she doesn't fit in to your group... And have her remain a friend.

List every skill that your core group has. Write them down. Medical skills, particularly first aid, are easily developed just by taking a Red Cross First Aid Course. If none of your group has medical skills, all or part of your group should attend this class. Doing it one at a time lets the others act a baby sitters for those attending the classes.

People with practical skills (woodcraft, camping, fishing, hunting, etc.) can teach others in your selected group how to do the seemingly simple skills needed. No skill is actually easy, unless you have done it before. It only becomes easy when you've done it countless times. NOW its easy.

Determine what skills are needed most by your group, based on your own personal survival plans. Keep your plan SIMPLE. The intricate your plan is, the more your chances increase for things to go wrong.

Hire a professional if that's the only way to learn the skills you need to learn. (Do you know how to change a flat tire? If so, teach those in your group how to change their flat tires.)

Step three: Purchase and distribute those supplies and equipment that will be needed 1). As a group, and 2). Individually.

List everything in its priority for survival. Food, shelter, and clothing. Everything else is extra. Purchase the most needed items first, then move down the list as money becomes available. Keep buying items until you have them all.

You don't have to have it ALL purchased, but you should have it already selected. Sizes in clothing change. Baby food is no longer palatable after a certain age. Diapers are not needed as your kids grow. The list has to be constantly changing because your kids are constantly growing. A tent for two people will be sufficient for a mom with two toddlers, but not for two 8-year olds. "Mom, he's touching me". . .

Tools and equipment (axe, hatchet, fire starting gear, outdoor cooking gear, fishing equipment, guns and ammo, etc.) can be purchased and set aside as needed. But, like any new tool, you should practice frequently to become proficient before you actually have to use it. Firearms in particular, require a skill level well above "point and shoot". You become your own worst enemy if you don't.

Decide where you will store all this stuff, and provide keys so everyone in your group can get to it. People in small apartments cannot afford the lost living space to store 10 cases of water. Consider a group-owned commercial storage facility.

Step four: Practice those skill as a group.

Practice the first group drill while the times are safe and its fun for everyone. Make it an overnight picnic at a local park. Make it fun for everyone, and WORK at sharing the workload. Get everyone involved. Make everyone seem important, even the sullen and angry teenagers in your group. Put them to work. You will be amazed about what you will learn about your group after only one night. The list of things that may go wrong will be huge. You'll forget many things. Write down everything that goes wrong, so that the next time your group meets, you can discuss it and fix it. If everyone gets a good nights sleep, you did it right!

Remember, the next time you may have to do this, it may be the real thing.

Step five: Post-Practice Lessons Learned.

This step tells you what went right with the plan, and what went wrong. It is an opportunity to find out who did what, and how well they did it. It's not a "bitching session", but an evaluation of how well you did AS A GROUP. If something is not as you planned it, fix it. It could be that your plan was overly ambitious. Did your plan do what it was designed to do: Keep you safe from harm? If it only made the situation worse, then some major re-thinking of the plan is in order.

Like the rest of the world, there are others to consider in your disaster plan. Elderly parents and grandparents, nephews and nieces, aunts and uncles, etc., etc. Each adult member of your survival group should be a contributing member, capable of taking care of themselves; or at least partially contributing to the group. Again, evaluate their skills and what they can contribute. Don't load yourselves so heavy with extra burdens that your survival plan is doomed from the beginning. It's a little like playing God... Who lives, and who dies? You CANNOT SAVE EVERYBODY.

If any of you out there think that a group of determined women, bent on survival and the protection of their children, are NOT a force to be reckoned with, than you are SERIOUSLY WRONG.