Mother’s Day is not always a jubilant celebration for every mother. For single moms, Mother’s Day can often feel like just another day, or worse yet, a day where they feel completely forgotten. I will be celebrating my second Mother’s Day as a single mom this year. A few weeks ago I found myself in a very discouraged and hopeless mindset.
That weekend, my “Grammie,” Audrey Clay, came to visit. Grammie has been a single mom for over 40 years and raised three kids, all of whom are serving Jesus and work in full-time ministry. I sat, holding my newborn in my mom’s living room, while Grammie began to pour incredible wisdom into me that she had gained in her 40-plus years of being a single mom. Grammie’s wisdom changed my whole mindset that day. I asked her if I could share some of her wisdom and she was more than happy to agree. Here is a bit of insight into our conversation. I pray it blesses you as much as it blessed me!
1. The first few months of being a single mom were some of the hardest months of my whole life. How did you cope your first few months of being a single mom? I never made “failing” an option. I reminded myself that my kids were hurting just like I was, so I made it a priority to talk with them and process things with them as much as possible and as much as was age appropriate. I also surrounded myself with other single moms who encouraged me and prayed with me. Those relationships were true gifts from God.
2. Honestly, Grams, there are days when I just want to quit entirely. What motivated you to keep going on the days you were exhausted and felt like throwing in the towel? My kids. I made it a point to be involved in their lives as much as I could, which kept me busy. I did cry a lot when I was alone though, and that was OK. It was interesting because for the first few months, rainy days were better for me than sunny days. Strange as it seemed, when it rained, I felt like everyone was crying with me. But when it was sunny, I felt like everyone in the whole world was happy except me; I didn’t know how I could ever be happy again after losing my husband.
3. Did you ever worry about how your kids would be impacted being raised without a dad in the house? If so, how did you overcome those worries? Yes, I did! I worried about that a lot. However, I stood on the promise that God would be a father to the fatherless. I took this word from God very seriously and tried to instill this promise in my kids. I told them to take God literally at His word. That made all the difference.
4. I’m so tired all of the time. I feel like I don’t have time to do anything for myself, let alone maintain and grow spiritually. How did you maintain a spiritual life and spiritual disciplines as a single, working mom? I brought my kids into the mix. We read the Word together, I prayed with them, and I openly made my spiritual life a priority in front of them so they would see me model what I wanted for them.
5. What were your top three priorities as a single mom? First, I focused on their spiritual education. I reminded myself that my kids were a gift from the Lord and their spiritual welfare was my responsibility. Second, discipline. I had to realize that their discipline was up to me. I set clear rules and expectations and made sure that they understood those rules. I never compromised because I felt sorry for them—that would have only been a disservice to them. I held them to high expectations, just like I would have if I wouldn’t have been a single mom. Third, showing them love openly and continually. I told them I loved them often. I told them that I knew I couldn’t fill the “dad void” in their lives, but that I would always be their biggest cheerleader.
6. Sometimes I just get so lonely. I didn’t realize a mom could be lonely, even with four kids in the house. How did you cope with the lonely days and nights as a single mom? I had lots of lonely times. However, I discovered that even a lot of married couples had lonely times. Even if I had been married, I would have experienced times like these. The greatest way of coping with the loneliness was recognizing that God’s promise to be a husband to the widow (a.k.a., single mom) held true. I also found that reaching out to others who were in need or felt lonely helped me forget my own sorrow.
7. What are the top three things single moms need to establish as daily disciplines in their lives to thrive at single parenting? Simple: the Word of God, prayer, and helping others in need.
8. How did your relationship with Jesus flourish in your singleness? Because of my constant need and dependence on Him, I became more aware of His constant presence in my life. Jesus has truly become my best friend.
9. After grandpa passed away, you never remarried. How did you stay committed to God’s plan of singleness and avoid the temptation of jumping into another relationship to fill the void of being a single mom? I had seen too many women who had jumped into relationships that turned out to be devastating to their children. I refused to allow that for my kids. With Jesus and my children, my life seemed fulfilled. I have never felt a need for a man in my life.
11. Anything else single moms should know or do to “make it”? Put God first in everything you do. Trust Him and don’t get ahead of God. He will always give you wisdom when you ask. Also, your kids need to be your number one priority. They are a gift from God, and they deserve to have you constantly seeking God’s best for them. You are the person God has chosen to raise them and that is not something to take lightly.
Thank you, Grammie, for creating such a firm spiritual foundation for our family. I wouldn’t be where I am today if you hadn’t totally rocked single parenting! I love you, Grams.
P.S. If you are a single mom, keep going. We’ve got this! #SingleMomStrong
If you or your church are interested in supporting struggling single moms in the Springfield, MO area, contact Ashley Grant at COMPACT Family Services for more information, at AGrant@CompactFamilyServices.org.