The number of single mothers in the United States has increased dramatically in the last 50 years. Dealing with misconceptions like being unhappy, incapable, and incomplete are just some of the milestones that single mothers have had to learn to conquer. Fortunately, there are single mothers out there that have made the best of their circumstances, women like Carla Keaton, a single mother who despite of all the challenges she has had to overcome, has risen above it all.
The youngest of three, Carla always felt like an only child. Her mother, a nurse, rarely had time off to dedicate to her three children. It was that loneliness and spare time that attracted to her one of her first passions: painting. As a child, she spent most of her time in her room painting and reading, but it wasn’t until 6th grade that she discovered that she truly enjoyed the drawing process.
Carla’s childhood was filled with memories of painting and fishing alongside her father, but it wasn’t until after her high school graduation when Carla’s life took a drastic turn; her mother past away in a car accident. Since that moment, Carla decided that if she were ever to become a mother, she would dedicate quality time to her children, something that she never experienced, since her parents were always so busy working.
At a young age, Carla became a single mother to her daughter Anansa. “It’s just something that happened,” she said. Carla stayed true to her goal of giving her daughter more time than she was ever given. She took an economic hit when she decided that she wanted to spend more of her time with her daughter. It was those hardships that made her appreciate and understand how much women go through on a daily basis. It was through that realization that she decided that she would do whatever she could in order to highlight influential women.
Carla’s most recent project: Notable Women in Arizona, is her way of highlighting hardworking women in the state in the best way she knows how; painting. For this project, Carla handpicked a variety of women that have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments and have had an impact on the community. It was thanks to Elena Thornton, a fellow artist and founder of Arizona Consortium for the Arts, that she met SmartFem CEO Lea Haben. Carla was instantly drawn to Lea’s story and mission, and knew that Lea was definitely a notable woman in her eyes.
Staying true to her passion to support women and single mothers, Carla has decided to take on yet another project. She is planning on creating an exhibit of portraits dedicated to single mothers. Carla will paint portraits of single mothers she knows and those she doesn’t know in order to highlight the stories that those strong and courageous women have to share.
Through all her hard work and dedication, Carla hopes to have a positive influence in the community. Her goal is to raise awareness about single motherhood, and to support those women in any way she can. Carla hopes to one day start her own non-profit organization to give back.