Drawing on 24 interviews with single mothers in Turkey, this qualitative study examines various cultural and structural factors facing single mothers in a patriarchal society. It identifies strategies single mothers devise to handle the hardship of bringing up a child alone and stand up for themselves as single parents. Results demonstrate that single mothers in this study face numerous challenges, including the difficulty to maintain authority in their new family setting; the struggle to keep the sense of a complete family; and the experience of negative attitudes toward single mothers and their children. We argue that through the strategies they have devised, these mothers strive to rebuild their families in line with the traditional Turkish family system. We draw on the literature on boundary ambiguity as a theoretical framework for understanding these women's single parenting experiences. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.