The other day I overheard a married woman and mom whine about the fact that she will have to take care of everything while her husband goes on a two-day business trip. She went on to say how overwhelmed and alone she feels just thinking about it.
As a single mom I agree that it is difficult for any parent who has to do everything without back-up, but I also feel that married parents shouldn’t complain so much about their interim status, and instead count their blessings because their partners will return.It is a no-brainer that parenting alone for a week is far easier than being a single parent for who knows how long. Married moms whose husbands go on business trips think they are in the same boat and therefore understand us single moms. Truth is, they have no idea.
I think I speak for most single parents when I say that there is no real comparison between our experiences and those of the occasional do-everything-alone parent.
Single parenthood is draining. You can’t afford to get sick because no one else is around to take care of your kids. You can’t afford to lose your job because no one else will pay your mortgage or rent. Unless you’re financially well-off (most single moms aren’t), you can only fantasize about retirement because you will most likely be working till you drop. The only person you have to fall back on, ever, is you.
Especially during the holidays, for those who wish to support a single mom, here is a list of simple things you can do to make her life a little easier and better:
1. Find out what it’s like to be a single mom. Listen to her when she tells you her experience. Let her vent. Don’t tell her you can relate to her, don’t tell her things really aren’t so bad. Just listen to her.
2. Give meaningful gifts.Scented body lotion and candles make lovely presents, but they aren’t things single moms need. Instead, give her a Walmart or Kroeger gift card. Bring her homemade goodies she can enjoy when she she’s too tired to cook. Buy her a Christmas tree or a gift for her child.
3. Offer to help around the house. Mow her lawn or trim her trees. Help her with home repairs or wash her car. Offer to babysit. Do you feel burdened by your own to-do list? Guess what, hers is twice as long.
4.Help her and her children with a vacation.Do you have a time-share they can stay in or travel reward points they could use towards a hotel room? Feed and walk her dogs so she doesn’t have to bring them to the kennel. Single moms need to re-charge even more than you do.
5.Pray for her. It’s much needed and appreciated.
Thank you Longhollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, TN, for hosting The Gift for single moms. We felt loved and appreciated.