I’m convinced that being a single mom is one of the toughest challenges any woman will ever face. Let’s be honest. Being a mom is a ton of work, and raising the next generation is a monumental task. Carrying, caring for, shaping, molding, and influencing her children is both a responsibility and a delight for many women. However, being left to parent solo without a husband to tag team with her is much more than challenging. It’s overwhelmingly unfair!
That’s why single moms are heroes in my book.
I know there are many reasons a woman can be left to parent solo, but the one I see most often are those moms whose husbands have bailed.
Recently I was chatting with a single mom who was totally overwhelmed by what she was up against. She’d finally drawn the line with her husband, who had been guilty of numerous affairs throughout their 20+ years of marriage. He’d run off with a woman 12 years younger, leaving her with 3 kids and financial support that was next to nothing because he was also financially irresponsible. No surprise there.
After years of what felt like beating her head against a brick wall, she’d had enough and filed for divorce. Divorce wasn’t an attractive option. Nothing about it made her feel good. But feeling good wasn’t the point. Being the responsible adult in the relationship and doing the loving thing for her children was.
She not only felt all alone, but she felt beat up, betrayed, bankrupt, and buried alive under a pile of relational rubble that her ex had dumped all over her. And she felt like giving up. It would have been easy for her to just give in and make excuses for doing nothing. And, most of us would have understood, given her overwhelming circumstances.
But that’s not what she and many other single moms like her have done. They’ve shouldered the responsibilities of being the adults in the home, have gotten jobs (sometimes two) and paid the bills, and have provided a safe, secure, and loving home for their children.
While it wasn’t what they had in mind when standing at the altar, they’ve stepped up and done the heavy lifting as the sole breadwinner and soul support for their kids. Not that they don’t struggle with it all and sometimes feel like quitting, but they choose not to quit. They continue digging out from under the rubble and demonstrating a consistency in their love that their kids admire and depend on.
They certainly have earned my respect.
So the next time you see a single mom shouldering the load of parenting that was designed to be shared by two, take the time to express a word of encouragement. Let her know that you noticed and that you admire her for all the sacrifices she makes for her children. Maybe even go out of your way to lend a helping hand by offering to help with home or car repairs, childcare, or a gift card for a night out. Your words of encouragement will be like water to a thirsty soul, and your acts of kindness will speak volumes.
I do think this is the kind of 21st-century idea behind James’ exhortation to first-century Jesus followers about one of the earmarks of genuine faith: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).
Those are my thoughts. How about yours? Feel free to share your thoughts and stories as a single mom, about the single mom who raised you, or on how God has encouraged you to reach out and encourage a single mom.