Being both the firm disciplinarian and the loving nurturer is part of finding the balance in single motherhood.
So said Wanda Pratt, the mother of NBA superstar Kevin Durant, who will share her insights at a statewide conference for single moms in June.
Pratt, mother of the Oklahoma City Thunder's star forward, said she has much to say to single mothers who attend Arise Ministry's “Survive ‘N' Thrive Single Moms' Conference” set for June 21-22 at Crossings Community Church, 14600 N Portland. About 900 single mothers are expected to attend the statewide conference, Pam Kanaly, co-founder of Arise, said recently.
Kanaly, of Edmond, said Pratt was chosen as guest speaker for the conference because she was well received at the ministry's “Jingle Jangle” Christmas season event for single mothers in November. Kanaly said Pratt spoke to 1,000 moms at that event, which was co-hosted by People's Church.
“We just wanted her to have the experience of the statewide conference and we wanted the single moms to hear from her,” Kanaly said. “She's a very genuine person.”
In an interview with The Oklahoman, Pratt said there were challenges and rewards of being a single mom to sons Kevin and Tony, Kevin's younger brother.
“The difficult part was having to handle everything on my own and initially, trying to figure that out,” she said. “But once I realized that was our life, we just lived our life and I did the best I could.”
Pratt said finding a balance played a key part of parenting her sons as a single mom.
“Sometimes, I had to be the ‘good' parent and the ‘bad' parent in a split second and so sometimes that was difficult because as a mother you always want to be the one to give the hugs and the kisses and let them know that everything is going to be OK, and on the other hand, I had to be the disciplinarian and make the hard choices, punish sometimes and take away some of their activities,” she said. “It was just balancing being the ‘good' and the ‘bad' parent, or the ‘nice' and the ‘mean' parent, so to speak.”
Pratt said Kevin was even-tempered as a young child.
She said people always ask her if he always had the pleasant personality he displays much of the time as an NBA star, and she is quick to tell them that the humble hoops star has been that way since childhood.
Pratt said she had her worries, like anxiety about Kevin sucking his finger as a toddler. She said her pediatrician told her that thumb suckers were very self-sufficient and that he would grow out of it.
“I just kind of let it be,” she said. “As far as his temperament, he's always been a mild-mannered guy. He was a self-sufficient baby.”