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Friday, January 17, 2014

The Single Mother Syndrome

There are two great burdens I remember facing as a single mother.  Well, there are many - for all women - but the two that first come to mind are
  1. The overwhelming sense of responsibility for my time, energy and resources.
  2. The isolation of carrying that burden alone.
As a single mother I found the complete isolation, lack of safety net and partnership extremely disheartening. Knowing that it ALL falls to you: to earn the rent, provide the meals, prepare the meals, teach the manners, instill Godly values, education, social life, and on it goes. Parenting wasn’t made to be done alone and women whose spouses are providing income, home, healthcare, even input for decision making and family direction need to recognize the value of their partners.

There is a distinction between married women who have much-gone spouses and truly single ladies raising children.  I know it's hard, but when those ladies say they know what it feels like to be a single mom or say they feel like a single mom whilst rolling their eyes, I cringe a bit inside because I know they just don't get it.  I didn't know either until I walked that path. It's tough and isolating in a way others cannot imagine.  It takes incredible endurance to parent well under such pressures.

If you know a single mom (or dad) tell her she’s doing a great job, even if there are balls that get dropped. Compliment something specific her child(ren) do: manners? imagination? mad social skills? Slip her a gift card or better yet, invite her and her children over for a meal. Remind her children to notice what a great mother they have who builds her life around their needs and who is doing everything she knows to do to raise them well.

Then send her flowers anonymously just to let her know someone noticed she’s great.

I wish there were not single mothers, I wish there were Godly men to stand in the gap for each family that needs it. If you have that, even though he isn’t perfect, be sure to thank your man!  If you are a single mama, remember to take care of you each day so that you can be the best mom for those kiddos.  What is something luxurious you can do today?


  1. I have been a single mom! And now I am a married woman who is once again a single mom. I am the full time caregiver of a husband with end-stage Parkinson's and when he had a stroke 2 1/2 years ago, I once again felt like a single mom. Only this time I have three kids (we are raising two of our grandchildren) and one 'OLD' child. I felt like my husband had left me with three kids and half the income that we used to have. So I know what I am talking about. Being a single mom is hard work. And under-appreciated. Thanks for talking about it on your blog!

  2. Your statement about how overwhelming it can be that it ALL falls to you is so true! As a younger widow with 3 children, the isolation takes on a different aspect, too, as finding a 'fit' in life is a bit strange.