I’m a big fan of the blog Rage Against the Minivan and her “What I want You to Know” blog series is incredible… she features amazing stories from real women and I love it. It got me thinking… What would I want people to know about being a single mom? So here goes…
I’m the single mom to a precious 1 year old sweet boy, my Baby J. In case you’re not totally up to speed with our story, my ex-husband let me know he wanted a divorce after several years of a very rocky and unhappy marriage. Then three weeks later I found out that I was pregnant. We were separated the entire time I was pregnant and our divorce was final when Baby J was 2 months old.
I want you to know that gushing about my adorable baby boy is always encouraged!!
I mean, how could you not?!?
I want you to know what it feels like to know that you’re not in control.
As moms with a husband and a child, and especially stay at home moms, I think that it must be so much easier to FEEL like you’re in control. Your baby is safely within your care most, if not all, hours of the day. But as a single mom, I’m keenly aware of how little control I really have.
As an eight week old I put Baby J in his car seat to visit his Dad’s apartment for the first time. I can still remember that sinking, terrified feeling before he picked him up. I remember realizing the choice I had: I could either worry myself to death and be ridden with anxiety the few hours that he would be gone OR I could learn how to trust God with my child. I remember thinking so clearly that this is a choice. A choice I would make on that day, and every day to come. At that moment, I felt led to lay hands on my baby, pray protection over him out loud and rest in the Peace that God so abundantly provided. I pray this prayer every time I leave him. I pray protection, safety, God’s love, God’s favor and more.
As moms (single or married, work outside the home, work from home or stay at home) we all have a choice. We have to choose to TRUST God with our children every step of the way. We have to realize that we really aren’t in control anyways. The sooner we can learn this, the easier motherhood becomes.
I just want you to know that as a single mom, I’ve been confronted with this realization much earlier than most of you when you drop your son or daughter off to daycare, mother’s day out, pre-school or Kindergarten for the first time. (I have much more to say about this topic, but that will do for now…)
I also want you to know that God meet you there in that place.
He will meet you in your anxiety, in your loneliness, in your anger and in your deep sadness. He has your heart safely in His hands and He adores you.
But you, O God my Lord,
deal on my behalf for your name’s sake;
because your steadfast love is good, deliver me!
For I am poor and needy,
and my heart is stricken within me.
Psalm 109:21-22 ESV
I want you to think about what you say…
before you blurt out things like, “Well it must be nice to sleep through the night or have the weekend off… I’d kill for that!” Yes, I’m sure you might… every once in a while. But you see, it’s different when you don’t have a choice in the matter. It’s different when you paid lawyers and a mediator to negotiate an entire parenting plan dictating which weekends are designated as YOUR parenting time for years and years to come. It doesn’t feel as fun when someone invites you and your baby to a fun party and you have to check Baby J’s google calendar to remember if you even have him that weekend or not. That’s not fun.
Another one I get a lot is, “Where is Baby J?” and I want to respond Blue Collar Comedy style, “Well I just left him in the car, I’m sure he’ll be fine!” Here’s your sign… If he’s not with me and it’s a night or weekend, then chances are he is with his Dad.
I want you to keep inviting us.
There are so many things that we can’t go to simply because of our crazy schedule – so many fun parties, BBQs, birthday parties, etc. but PLEASE keep inviting us. We so want to make the mommy breakfast group meet ups or to meet up at the zoo, so don’t stop asking. Please don’t stop asking.
I want you to ask me what I need. Or just do it.
Being a single mom I get offers for help a lot… “Let me know when I can babysit!” but then that puts the onus on me. So when it comes time for date night I end up thinking, who was it that offered to babysit again?? I never wrote down a list, but I know so many people would help if I asked. So here’s the deal, if you truly do want to help be persistent. Text or call: “I want to help, send me your grocery list this week and I’ll pick them up for you!” OR “I’d love to babysit JD, send me some nights in the next few weeks and we’ll put it on the calendar.” OR “How can I help? What do you need this week?” Be specific. And if you can’t physically do something, encouraging texts to new mommies is always helpful, “hooray! Your baby is 1! You did it!!”
I want you to know that I can’t do this alone but that it is lonely.
Being a single mom really means that I’m a single mom with tons of help. Words can’t even begin to tell you how much support, love, encouragement and HELP my amazing mother (Baby J’s “Lala”) has been to me. She seriously gets more jewels in her crown in heaven than I could ever buy her here on earth. Plus my incredible friends and my family. You are all a huge support!
I want you to know that time away from my baby never gets easier.
I want you to know that co-parenting is really hard. I want you to know that forgiveness is even harder and a daily choice.
Seeing your ex – the person that betrayed, lied to and abandoned you – several times a week is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It’s getting so much easier, but I’m still healing after years of hurt.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander,
along with every form of malice. Be kind and
compassionate to one another, forgiving each other,
just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked,
“Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother
when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times,
but seventy-seven times.”
Matthew 18:21-22 NIV
I want you to know that leaving the past in the past and moving on is hard but the best things I can do for Baby J.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:19 ESV
I want you to know that you don’t have to be afraid of the future.
As moms it’s easy to get sucked into the fear vortex – what will happen to my child IF x,y,z? Are they developing well? Where will we live? Where will they go to school? On and on… but God provides. He always does. So smile at your future!
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
Proverbs 31:25 ESV
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them,
for it is the LORD your God who goes with you.
He will not leave you or forsake you.”
I want you to know that there is always HOPE.
No matter how bleak your circumstances may appear, God is always working behind the scenes on your behalf and there is ALWAYS HOPE!!!
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away,
our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary
affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.
For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD,
plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.