I believe that today's single moms and their children are the new 'widows and orphans." Single motherhood is all around us. I'm sure you know more than one single mom. Have you ever been one?
I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I will be 40 years old very soon, and I can tell you with great certainty that the 2 years I spent as a single mom were the absolute hardest years of my life.
There are those out there that claim to be empowered by single motherhood; they want to appear to have it all under control. Maybe those are the women who CHOSE that role. But let me tell you: it's all an act.
If you haven't been in those shoes, let me invite you in for a peek:
It's lonely. It's exhausting. You are constantly broke. You're tired, behind schedule, overwhelmed, undernourished, trying to be positive, and constantly beaten down.
Single moms are always trying to make ends meet, financially and otherwise. There is never enough of her to go around. Housework gets behind, bills are unpaid, meals are haphazard, and the kids always need more attention.
If you've never been a single mom, try to think of the times when your husband was out of town or even gone all day. Now imagine that times infinity. You aren't thinking, "I'll be glad when hubby gets home," because you know he's not coming home. There is no one coming home to read a story to the kids at bedtime, or someone to talk to about your day, or to take you out for dinner, or just watch a movie with. It's just you.
Depending on the circumstances that put you in this position, you may have an ex-husband who is playing emotional yo-yo with you and your children. So add that to the above paragraph.
So what can you do to minister to these broken families?
1. Be a friend. It can be very lonely in this position. I always felt like a third wheel with other married couples. I even felt embarassed to say I was divorced. Let them know you are there to listen if they need to talk. Most of all, don't judge. Whatever got them to this point is not really important now. Minister to them where they are.
2. Help financially. My most pressing need was always financial. Even if the mom works, receives child support, food stamps, medicaid, or any other support, there's never enough. Don't judge; just give.
3. Help with the kids. Babysit, play with them, spend time with them, take them shopping, and give the mom some quiet time. There is no quiet time when you're the only parent. Not only does the mom need a little quiet time, but the kids need your love and attention. They have, through divorce or death, lost their father and their normal life. They might need to know that someone cares and is there for them.
4. Provide food. Bring a meal, order pizza and have it delivered (paid for, of course!), give grocery store gift cards, bring a bag of groceries, take the family out to dinner, invite them over for lunch. Providing meals is hard for a single mom, because of time, exhaustion, and money.
5. Provide some fun! One of the things I noticed as a single mom is that I didn't get asked over to people's homes, or out to eat, or to many gatherings. These moms and their kids need social interactions desperately. Don't forget them! Invite the family into your home for a game night, or to the park or the lake.
6. Offer to help with housework or laundry. Some moms may say no, but some will say yes, please! Don't take offense if they say no. They may feel embarassed. Just ask if there is any other way you can help. But if your offer is accepted, just jump in and start cleaning.
There are single moms everywhere you look. Don't assume that everything is easy for them, even if it looks that way on the surface. Pray for God's leading and minister to them.
Tomorrow I will share about another type of single mom: the homeschooling single mom.
Labels: Christianity. Faith35 36 37 38