I discovered a new site for moms last night. I can’t remember how I found it. I think it came up as a suggested page when I liked something on Facebook. I had never heard of it before, but it sounded intriguing so I looked at their business page, liked what I read and went to the website. It’s one of those sites with lots of contributors who write different articles (I’m assuming on different subjects, I’m new there, so I’m not sure). I wanted to see who all the contributors were so I read their bios. It seems great and very encouraging and helpful, but something was missing.
(Before you think that I am blasting that site, I’m not…at all. I am looking forward to reading more and I signed up for their emails. Now that we’ve got that settled, you can read on. 🙂 ) There are 33 women who write there. Some of them were very well-known and some I’d never heard of. But as I was reading the bios, I noticed a common theme among them all: “Married to my best friend”, “Married for 15 years”, “Married to my high school sweetheart” …married…married…married. Thirty-three women writing to encourage moms and not one single mom among them. And it made my heart heavy, not just for that, but because I used to be the one who “forgot” the single moms.
When I was the nursery director at our church, I had the opportunity to minister to so many children who were being raised by a single parent. And I really thought I was compassionate toward them. I knew it had to be hard. I knew it had to be lonely. I knew it had to be stressful. The truth is, I had no idea. I remember thinking “Why are you late to church again?”… Now I know why. There is no one to help find the lost shoes, or make a snack for the child who didn’t want to eat breakfast but who is now starving, or comb anyone’s hair, or start the car so it can warm up when it’s 10 degrees outside. I hate being late, but if I get somewhere on time (or early!), it’s pretty much a cause for celebration, and also probably means I miraculously hit all the green lights on the way. I get it now and I wish I would have understood that her just being at church was an accomplishment.
And when a single mom is looking directly at you while you’re talking to her and trying to help her and she’s not hearing you at all (ahem, me, this past Sunday), it might be because she’s lamenting the fact that she left the directions she needed at home (the ones she specifically printed out the day before and put by her purse so she wouldn’t forget them), trying to figure out if she truly has time to get her daughter something to eat before she dances, and in the middle of a texting conversation with her teenage son who has temporarily lost his mind and thinks it’s fine to walk home from his friend’s house later even though it’s supposed to storm. I used to talk to single moms and they would sometimes have that glazed over look in their eyes and I would have to repeat myself….now I know why. They are trying to juggle everyone’s schedule and make sure everyone’s needs are met without dropping the ball on someone. I wish I would have slowed down a bit to make sure communication wasn’t lost. (And thank you to the one who did slow down to make sure I heard you and got what you were saying even though I know you were running crazy then, too 🙂 )
I was talking to one of our pastors a couple of weeks ago and he said he thought one of the hardest things about being a single mom is not having that buffer against the world. That when hard times come, there’s no one there to hold your hand and tell you it’s going to be ok, that you’ll get through it together. I never understood why sometimes the smallest thing would send a single mom over the edge. Not realizing the weight she carries every day to make her household and family run, how every.single.decision is hers alone, from the small things like when to change the oil in the car or remembering to pick up light bulbs after work to the big things like figuring out how to help her struggling child with homework or keeping food on the table. Sometimes, not getting her child into a nursery class so she could sit, and relax, and be encouraged through God’s Word for an hour, with no other expectations placed on her, was just the last straw in an already overwhelming day, or week, or month…now I know why. I wish I would have been more understanding when I was the focus of her angry outburst (or tears).
All moms have an extremely hard job to do. We’ve all heard the phrase “Parenting is not for sissies”. There’s a reason for that. Being married doesn’t make being a mom “easy”. I’ve been there, too. But when you’re a single mom, those everyday stresses seem magnified. I wish I would have known that when I was a married mom. I wish I would have realized that single moms sometimes just need a little extra care. And as a side note here – I have friends who have adopted children as single women. It was their choice to be a single mom. Sometimes, others look at them in their hard times and think (or worse yet, say) “You brought this on yourself”. Can I just say that whether you are a single mom by your own choice or not, the reason behind it doesn’t lessen the struggle. Single moms (all moms) need compassion and not judgment.
Today, my prayer for you as a single mom is that you will have the strength to do all you need to do, that you will be able to feel God come alongside you and be your buffer against the world, that you will have wisdom for every situation you are facing. For you married moms, I pray the same things for you because all moms need them. 🙂 I hope this post has encouraged the single moms to realize that here, they are not forgotten. And I hope it encouraged the married moms to not be like me and “wish” you had walked in more understanding of what it’s like for a mom who has to do it all on her own. There’s no better time than the present to start supporting those single moms you know, even if it’s just an understanding smile when she’s late for church again.
Keep Dreaming ~