Single Mom Survival Kit: A Box of Resources
I never imagined that I would be a single Mom. It only took a moment, just one question really, to turn my life upside down and change it forever. For years we sat in church together as a family. People used to say we looked like the family from Leave It to Beaver. Now here I was, parenting alone. How could this happen?
I know many women are living through the same thing that happened to me. I call it the Single Mom Syndrome. Our energy and focus have suddenly changed. Many of you stand at a cross roads wondering what foot to move, where to go, with little or no knowledge of how to survive. I am here to tell you that YOU CAN DO THIS. Breathe, and slowly make your decisions. It is time to put on a new pair of shoes.
What stayed stable in my life when everything else was chaotic was my personal relationship with a God who promised to never leave me or forsake me. His Son, Jesus Christ, made it possible to have this relationship with Him when he died– so I could live. This is where my foundation lies and how my journey continued. I believed that I could take hold of my life and move ahead. Was it easy? Absolutely not! Was it tough and discouraging some days? Absolutely yes. Was there hope for me and is there hope for you too? Without a doubt YES!!!
First Steps: Trusting God
I want to share with you my life experiences as I began this road as a single mom and chose every day to work on being the best mom I could be. It was a conscious effort to work at trusting God to lead and heal my wounded heart. In my old life I was a stay-at-home mom with a small home daycare to help with basic financial costs. When this happened, I had to re-enter the work force.
As you can imagine, seven years changes technology and I felt like I was back in kindergarten. It was a lot to juggle keeping the home as stable as possible while learning what buttons to push on this monster called a computer! Be encouraged. There is HELP, there is HOPE, and there is HEALING. I know it because I have lived it. I do not have a degree in Psychology, but what I have is a degree in is Hard Knocks, which has been my greatest teacher.
If you are walking through a divorce life has suddenly left you with a lot of decisions and your heart is saturated in grief. It is hard to know which ball to juggle first. You are not alone. I didn’t suddenly write out this list and move ahead. It took courage and strength one day at a time, one moment at a time. Some days, I was shaking in my shoes! But I knew that God had not forgotten about me. I can promise He has not forgotten about you either. I hope that some of my suggestions will help you put on that new pair of running shoes.
A Box of Resources
We are very fortunate to have resources at our fingertips.I know it may feel like you don’t have much, but you do have resources. During this time, take care of you. I can’t stress this enough. When you do this, you are able to gain perspective. With children in the home, you will need the energy and strength to make wise decisions. You can’t do that well if you don’t take care of yourself.
It can be hard and there are days when it feels like you are walking on your ankles. For me, I took every advantage I could to be a stronger and healthier me. I put on my new shoes and even though it felt like they were mired in cement, I took the resources to heal. I encourage you to see if these could help you.
- See a medical doctor to maintain a clean bill of health. My doctor would say to me, “Now Linda, this is what you need to do for ‘a time’ to help you gain your strength.” Stress makes the body susceptible to all kinds of illness. You need to take extra care to keep yourself healthy.
- Feed your soul. Read the Bible. I read and re-read the Psalms. They were like my daily vitamin. This is one of my favorites, “Come save us and bless us. Be our Shepherd and always carry us in your arms.” (Psalm 28: 9) Isn’t that exactly what your family needs today? I found a picture that depicted this verse and kept as a bookmark.
- Gain some good support from safe and trusted friends who will keep things confidential. I learned this one the hard way but I soon found friends who respected my story and kept it to themselves. Be careful about who you share your story with. You can never un-share it.
- Take advantage of your local library for books or articles that will encourage you or invest in some books you can mark up and underline.
- Use your church library. Maximize your busy schedule by borrowing a Bible on tape or some God-centered self-help tapes as you drive to and from work.
- Daily exercise. I know this is hard, but because of the stress in your life, you need to release this energy through some type of physical activity. It might mean dusting off your bicycle and taking the kids for a ride, joining a fitness class at the local pool, a brisk walk around the block, or using an exercise DVD. Some of my sweetest memories were the times my children and I went biking riding to the park and had FUN!
- Eat healthy food. You may not feel like eating a lot but make wise choices to keep yourself healthy. I called a friend and asked her to bake some muffins for me. She was on my doorstep in no time. It blessed me and it blessed her to do it.
- Seek counseling. Not everyone has medical plans that cover this, if you aren’t covered see if there is a trusted pastor that would hear your heart. It is good to get some unbiased advice because we need to share our story. Doing that helps us sort out the next steps.
- Hug your kids! You all need love and support during this time. These precious treasures need reassurance too. There were times we just laid on my bed and laughed and talked. It was a healing time for all of us.
I remember a counselor kept telling me over and over again that I was a Person of Worth in God’s eyes. We are all His treasures and God wants us to move ahead. This is a new start to learn from our past and rejoice in God’s marvelous light in the days ahead.
“But you are God’s chosen and special people. You are a group of royal priests and a holy nation. God has brought you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Now you must tell all the wonderful things that he has done.” (1 Peter 2:9, CEV)
Like all new pairs of shoes, these new Single Mom shoes need some wear and tear to feel comfortable. The list above is just a few suggestions. Remember, this is a beginning so be patient as you put one foot in front of the other. This is the time to take advantage of your box of resources. Believe in your heart that you are worth it for yourself and your kids. My kids have shared how they appreciated it. I truly believe this can be an empowering and healing time for you. God doesn’t leave you alone. He is there rooting YOU on.
Can I pray for you right now?
Father God, Some who read this are at a crossroads and need Your help. Grant them wisdom for healing and growth. Give Your guidance as they lead their children. May some of these resources give them insight and help in the days ahead. In the all-compassionate name of Jesus, Amen.
Which things in the box of resources can you begin to pull out and use? Tie up the laces of your new shoes with a determined heart as you face your challenges. You will get through this.
There is HELP, there is HOPE, there is HEALING!
If you are new to single parenting and have questions or just need someone to talk to, our mentors are available anytime. You can use this form to request a mentor.
Don’t miss the rest of the Single Mom Survival Kit:
Part 1: A box of resources
Part 2: How to set boundaries
Part 3: The monster called FEAR
Part 4: Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3
Part 5: Making memories
Part 6: Good grief
Part 7: Life as it is
Part 8: The blame game
Part 9: Bucket full of dreams
Part 10: Looking back on it now
Take the next step:
There is a wealth of information at Single Parent FamilyLife