Connect with us

Articles

Single Mom in Need of Help

Published

on

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction…. (James 1:27)

Today is a day just like all the others. I take a second to stare into the mirror at myself. I have a bit of oatmeal in my hair, snot on my sleeve, and more than one broken nail. I haven’t showered in six days or slept more than five hours for a long time. I just dropped my three-year-old daughter Elanor off at day-school, and soon I’ll be rocking my one-year-old son Everett to sleep for a nap.

In many ways I’m just like every other mom. From the outside, I look happy, rushed, cheerful, and busy. But I’m not like every other mom. I’m a single mom and on the inside, I’m struggling to balance the load of being both mother and father, bearing the weight of all the household and parenting responsibilities  alone day in and day out.

Never did I dream I’d find myself divorced. I didn’t imagine that my life would resemble anything close to what it does now. As a little girl, I pictured the white picket fence, homeschooling, organic gardening, polite and perfectly dressed children, and sitting around the dinner table eating a delicious meal sharing stories about our day. While those dreams are still alive, they’re buried deep inside my wounded heart.

I remember the joy of sharing dinner as a two-parent family and what it was like to fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day with a warm body by my side. I remember taking quiet baths, being able to run out to the store for a quart of soy milk just because I could, and knowing that after a bad day I had someone to talk to over the age of three once evening came. Life wasn’t perfect, but I was happy during the short time that I knew what love, marriage, and a family had to offer. But not by any choice of my own, I lost it.

Now I simply have to survive. I need to decide when I’ll get a job, what to do with my babies when that time comes, and how to be both a mother and a father. I’m sure this may sound overblown or out of proportion, but most days I honestly feel like if anything else bad happens that my heart will just wilt and stop beating from the pain and disappointment.

There are times when my breath won’t come and I feel like I am drowning in this huge lake. I’m right beside the dock but can’t get close enough to grab and save myself. I keep calling out for help every time I come up for air, and that’s when someone puts their foot on my head and pushes me back under. I’ve thought many times that life is testing me to see if I can survive.

Yet it’s in those moments when I feel like I can’t take another step, that I see my heavenly Father’s faithfulness. I know that even if I have to do all of these things in the practical sense alone, that God’s with me every step of the way. He holds me in the palm of His hand.

Thankfully, every day that has downs also has ups as well. Even in the struggles, I’m able to relish in my son’s toothy little grin and my daughter’s precious voice as she expresses herself. I love the feel of Everett’s tiny hand patting my face and Elanor’s joy when we cuddle after naptime.

In both the good and bad, God touches my heart giving me the strength I need. I’m constantly reminded of Hebrews 10:23, "Do not let go of the hope you cherish and confess but seize it and hold it tight. God is reliable, trustworthy, and faithful to His word" and I find myself clinging to the cross, knowing I will survive and so will my kids.

But sometimes I wonder what the people around me think when they see me and my children. Is it pity, compassion, judgment, concern? Do the happily married or single girls around me have any idea what it’s like to parent alone? Do they even wonder at all? I’ve tried to explain to my friends and those around me, but very few seem to truly understand the pain, hard work, and heartache of it all. Even fewer have reached out to offer a helping hand.

Yet a helping hand is exactly what I and other single moms need. While we may put a smile on our faces and act like everything is OK, we honestly need others to reach out to us in practical ways. Examples include:

Offer a ride. Providing a ride for a child to or from school or other activities can help a single mom make more of her time. I’ve been blessed to have one of Elanor’s teachers take her to school two days a week. This is no small gesture. It saves me a twenty-minute drive there and back and keeps me from having to wake up Everett just to ride in the car only to have to turn around and do it again an hour and a half later. On these two days I’m able to eat breakfast and gather myself in a way that no other days in the week allow.

Offer to babysit. Extending an offer to watch a single mom’s kids while she grocery shops or gets a little "me time" can offer much needed relief. If you aren’t able to babysit at her house because of your own household responsibilities, offer to let her drop of her kids on the way to the store.

Drop off an occasional meal. Because a single mom bears the sole responsibility of preparing meals for her family, mealtimes can be stressful. Being able to eat dinner with my children without the daily struggle of preparing something would allow me to focus on enjoying dinner with my children, instead of worrying when and how I’ll get the dishes and kitchen clean (which is what I typically do).

Invitation for fellowship. An invitation from a married couple or a two parent family to lunch or dinner helps provide much-needed fellowship for a single mom and her kids. For me, it’s difficult to leave alone after church when I see traditional families going home to eat together. I grew up having wonderful family dinners with my mom, dad, and brother. We laughed, prayed, talked, and made wonderful memories. Having dinner with others would provide stimulating conversation for me, as well as allow the my kids to learn from adult conversation.

Mentorship. Single moms need other women to reach out and mentor them through accountability, emotional support, and unconditional love. Several examples of how this can be "lived out" include: calling during the week to pray about any present struggles, showing love through cards, emails, or small gifts, and committing to a once a week sharing or Bible study time. In my own life, a consistent time of fellowship would bless me immensely because in each difficulty I encounter throughout my week, I’d know that someone cared and would be there for me.

In essence the most important thing other women can do for a single mom such as myself is to be the living, active hands of the body of Christ. We need others to reach out and serve us, treating us as an extended family.

It took almost a month to write this article between the crying, feeding, bathing, and regular mothering duties. As I now finish, I take a look around and see that today is a day just like all the others. To be honest, my situation is the same now as it was when I started writing four weeks ago. But I have hope that perhaps today someone will stop by and lend me a hand. And then it won’t be just like all the others.

Amanda Cate is a single stay-at-home mom living in the sleepy southern Louisiana town where she grew up. Graduating in 2001 from Lee University with a degree in child and family studies, she is constantly being drawn to anything people related. When Amanda gets a moment to herself, she loves worshiping, gourmet cooking, cleaning house, craft projects, good quality chocolate, and a long hot bath.

Amanda Cate is a single stay-at-home mom living in the sleepy southern Louisiana town where she grew up. Graduating in 2001 from Lee University with a degree in child and family studies, she is constantly being drawn to anything people related. When Amanda gets a moment to herself, she loves worshiping, gourmet cooking, cleaning house, craft projects, good quality chocolate, and a long hot bath.

Welcome to Ungrind!

Do you want to be inspired, motivated, and equipped to live the everyday story of your life well?

If so, you’re in the right place. Whether you need encouragement in your relationships or in your faith, I hope you’ll find the transparent voices of mentors and friends here at Ungrind.

So, grab a cup of coffee and keep reading. We're so glad you're here!

Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor

Get Our Free Ebook!

Sign up to receive weekly emails from Ungrind and you’ll get the free ebook, Better Together. Be encouraged by stories of hope from women just like you!

Latest Articles

What Women Are Saying

"For weary mornings after tending to wee ones all night long or for listless evenings when you need a hopeful thought to sleep on, stop by Ungrind. You'll find a feast for your eyes and soul -- practical, engaging articles that gracefully balance the gritty realities of life with eternal possibilities."

-- Jenny Schroedel, author of Naming the Child: Hope-filled Reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Death

Featured Resource

"Real life is not always pleasant. Every marriage experiences disappointments, misunderstandings, sickness and financial crisis. Ashleigh doesn’t camouflage the pain in her own marriage, and offers practical ideas on how to walk through the difficulties and find intimacy on the journey. If you are anything like me, I predict that as you read, you too will find yourself laughing, wiping tears, and saying 'Oh, yes.'"

-- Gary Chapman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages

Disclosure

We are a member of the Amazon affiliate program and regularly use affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an Amazon link we provide, we will receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. We only share books, music, and products that our writers personally have used and highly recommend.

Trending

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!

Single Mom in Need of Help

by Amanda Cate time to read: 6 min