Determination pays off for single mother of three


Teri Clavet just moved into a three-bedroom apartment. She’s found a job.

Her three children are happy, and she’s in a happy place.

On Mother’s Day, Clavet was featured in a Sun Journal article: She was part of a trend in single women in Maine having more babies. At the time of the story, she was 25 and mom to a 7-year-old daughter and 19-month-old twins. She didn’t have a car or a job, and was receiving state aid.

Clavet had moved from Lewiston to a central Maine town to get away from a bad relationship.

Five feet tall, she was fed up with the sideways glances from people who assumed she was younger than her actual years and questioned her choices.

“I get these nasty looks in Walmart,” Clavet said at the time. “Everybody who sees a single parent in the store ought to high-five them. That would be nice.”


Clavet found a cleaning job this summer at a property management company. Now she’s doing maintenance work, cleaning and painting apartments to get them ready for new rentals. It’s within walking distance, with a flexible schedule — 60 hours every two weeks.

“I love it,” Clavet, 26, said.

Twins Salina and Aliana are in day care full time, with state help to defray some of that cost. The girls can count to 15 in English and 20 in French. They also adore their new playmates.

The twins and their older sister, Anjee, 8, no longer have to share a room. The larger apartment they moved into in December affords them plenty of space.

“(Anjee) loves her new room,” Clavet said. “She’s got her Justin Bieber posters on her wall.”

Clavet left the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program in late summer. She said she can make ends meet without it. When she receives her income tax return this spring, she plans to buy a car — and she can’t wait.

“To be able to do my own groceries and go see my friends and not have to worry about paying people if the twins’ day care calls me because they’re sick,” she said.

Clavet’s decided she’d like to go back to school to become a plumber, and eventually an electrician.

“I’m very proud of myself,” she said. “I knew that I wasn’t going to stop pushing until I got a job and got where I needed to be by myself. I didn’t think I’d be doing this for work. But I’m happy with my job. I love my new apartment. My kids are so much happier now. They have room to run around.”