Admit it, at some point along your solo-mom journey you began to feel a little resentful. After all, when you got married you expected to raise your kids with a partner- someone to change half the diapers, to help you with sick kids, to back you up in matters of discipline; or at the very least to mow the lawn and take out the garbage! And for the longest time you TRIED to make him see that you were exhausted, that your share of the parenting workload was tipping the scales and setting your family off balance. Then, when that didn’t work, you tried to show him what he was missing- first steps, first words, first recitals. When you mentioned something at your church women’s group about wishing he would help more, you were greeted with platitudes like, “keep praying,” and “make sure you take care of yourself,” and the one that hurt the most, “you need to work as a team when you’re raising kids.” You felt like screaming, “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND, IT DOESN’T WORK!!!!” Instead you just smile and begin to wonder if you’re the only one whose family looks like this.
I see you mama. I’ve been you. You didn’t sign up for any of this any more than I did, and you can’t seem to change it. So now that you’re here, what CAN you do about it? James 1:17 says, “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts shifting shadow.” NLT (emphasis added) While we might long for nap time or bed time (and that’s OK), we would all agree that our children are good and perfect gifts from God. Our marriage might not be perfect, it might not even be good, but that too can be a gift from our Heavenly Father. Wait, what??? That’s right, your marriage, and your solo-mom experience can be a gift. Romans 8:28 promises, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” NLT Often times in order to see our struggles as a gift, we need to get to the other side of them, hindsight being 20-20 and all that. But there are small ways you can start to shift your perspective from resentment contentment, and even gratitude.
Think back to when your kids were infants. They would gaze at you as you fed them, smile and kick in excitement when you went to get them from their crib, and crawl to you fast enough to burn holes in their knees when you came around a corner from another room. That loving adoration was all yours. Fast forward to today. You might not love the fact that you have to deal with bed-time battles alone every night, but you might be able to admit to yourself that you do cherish being the one to tuck them in, listen to their prayers, and answer all their big God questions before their little hands relax their grip on yours and you slip quietly out of the room. You might not love the fact that no-one is there to back you up when it comes to discipline, but it IS kinda nice to be able to set the tone and consequences of the discipline without anyone around to contradict you. And while the responsibility for running and maintaining a household all by yourself is stressful, it’s a great opportunity to teach your children how families can work together and give them more responsibilities of their own. Finally, this is a great opportunity for you to plug into a community of other solo-moms who can understand and support you in leaning on God, erecting some boundaries, and setting aside some time for self-care. Believe it or not, your children will reap great benefits from it too!