A Single Mother's Struggle | Beyond the Report

Nov 11, 2019

This time on Beyond the Report, we meet Tammy Fife, who went from stay-at-home-mother to single-mom over night. Now, she’s turned her heartache into action and has become a source of support for single mothers all over Lubbock.

“We were the picture perfect family,” Tammy recalls. “He was city council. We were very involved in the city. Our girls did amazing things through school. Then we had these children that we adopted. So if you look like you’re looking in a window shop you’re thinking wow they’ve really got it all together. The whole looks right and then it wasn’t right.”

While fixing dinner one night, Tammy discovered that her husband of 26 years had been having an affair. That night he told her he wanted a divorce.

“In a matter of just seconds it felt like everything was just ripped from me. I became homeless, me and the boys had nowhere. Homeless as in yes, I moved to my dad but truthfully, me and my Boys we had nothing,” she says. “I had no credit. He was sweet. He always took care and bought cars and did things, but at first I didn’t have anything. Like I couldn’t leave in his car because those were all in his name. And so, I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Tammy continues.

Tammy now had the difficult task of getting a job after not working for over 20 years. She needed to find resources to help her and her three boys. And she found herself having to navigate the legal system throughout her divorce. In the end, her ex was able to sign away his rights to their adopted sons. She was now legally a single mom.

But she didn’t let that get her down. “I started Googling, anything that had women, I would mark. Anything that had women and children’s program, I definitely marked and we pretty much would put it on the calendar to do. My three boys probably know where more locations are in this town than most people could even dream and a lot of people are like, oh I didn’t even know that this was here.”

Places like Lubbock Impact, where Tammy and her boys can get a free hot dinner every Wednesday, or the county health department, where they receive affordable medical care. As she dug, she uncovered several places where struggling mothers can turn too for support. After years of receiving help from these various avenues, Tammy has become an ambassador for single moms around Lubbock.

On this evening, we followed her to her meeting with Her Legacy, where she leads a group of single mothers. They talk about their struggles and triumphs over the s’mores Tammy brought for the group.

“I learned about Her Legacy because I’m a single mom,” Tammy says as she opens the discussion. “It was nice because I felt like I connected with somebody because single moms we just get it…”

Through everything she’s been through, Tammy realizes how much she’s grown. “I’ll be honest, five years ago I would have been that one too for someone in an abusive relationship, why is she still in that? She should just leave. Now I understand why we don’t leave. We don’t leave because the security of having something is better than having absolutely nothing.” But Tammy did leave, and now looking back, she sees that she’s triumphed over her situation.

“There’s days being a single mom is absolutely the worst of the worst, but then I’m like, I’m so grateful that I have [my kids]. In the whole scheme of things god knew that I needed them in my world so that I had had a reason to get up in the morning,”

Tammy smiles thinking about how things have changed for her and the boys, “I used to never hear the alarm. I now I wake up before the alarm because I’m so afraid of letting my boys down if I don’t get them to school on time. And yesterday one of them made a comment, ‘mom I’ve never been tardy do you know that?’ I’m like, without him realizing how proud he is of himself, I’m like really proud of myself. So it was like we’re doing a good job we are working it.”

Watch Tammy’s full story at BeyondtheReportLBK.com.