I'm a Single Mom
Dr. Richard D. Dobbins
-- There are 19 million single parents in the United States. Fifty-nine
percent of American children will live in a single-parent family at least
once during their minor years. The church has always been challenged to
help single mothers and their children. James 1:27 says that we should
care for widows and orphans.
There are many circumstances that create single mothers. A woman who
gets pregnant while unmarried is a single mom with a different set of
concerns than the married woman whose husband dies or the woman who is
talking with single mothers, there are many things they have found helpful in
establishing a healthy home for their children. Here are five of the most important.
Hagar, the servant girl, was thrown out of the home of Abraham
and Sarah. She was left to wander in the desert with Ishmael in isolation (see
Genesis 16). God sent an angel to minister to her. Single moms are special to
God. If you read about Hagar, you will find that in her desperation she cried
to God, "Thou, God, seest me" (verse 13). And He did; He came alongside of her
and ministered to her. He showed that He has a tender place in His heart for single
Every single parent, just like Hagar, needs a strong faith in God.
That faith needs to be brought to bear upon the particular needs that have resulted
from her being a single mother.
For example, the single mom who is abandoned
by the man who has gotten her pregnant is without marriage, without a husband.
One of her strongest needs is to deal with the resentment, the anger, and the
outrage she has for this man who took advantage of her. He may have convinced
her that he loved and was committed to her, but then abandoned her when he found
she was pregnant. That resulted in her having a lot of anger, resentment, and
ambivalence to deal with.
She needs a strong faith in God so she can trust
Him with the feelings she has toward the man who has abandoned her, as well as
the overwhelming responsibility she feels in raising the child.
single mother has the ambivalence of divorce to deal with. She needs God's help
as someone she can trust with her feelings of outrage and anger, abandonment and
rejection. Until she has prayed these things through to God, she is not only dealing
with the complications of a single mom's life, but also dealing with a lot of
emotional baggage that God wants to lift off.
Every single parent needs
a strong faith in God. As busy as life is, all single parents should find a few
minutes every day to read the Bible and learn to talk to God on the run.
The church is a very important part of a single parent's
support system. For example, think of what youth groups could do to help single
moms. If you are living in a climate that has a lot of snow, they could aid in
shoveling her sidewalks; in the summertime they could mow grass; and any time
of year they could make themselves available to help that mom in her home.
of men could take on projects of painting and other household maintenance tasks
that single moms cannot afford to pay for.
A woman's family is a logical
source of support for her. Sometimes when a woman becomes a single mom, she may
move hundreds of miles to be closer to her family in order to have their support.
singles groups can also be important, and I would encourage single moms to find
a church that has a large, active singles ministry, and make that the home church.
Smart employers are tapping into the single parents labor market
by providing industry-funded daycare. These are excellent arrangements for single
moms, because you can check on your child during your lunchtime and rest breaks.
Also, you and your child have the same destination in the morning and you go home
together at night.
Today, there is a lot of flextime in industries where
you can work while your children are in school, and then be home before they are
home from school. There are freelance jobs that you can do right from your home.
Be sure you explore these opportunities.
Job sharing is a new and cutting-edge
idea. It is perhaps more prominent on the West Coast, but it is becoming popular
across the country and presents itself in many forms. Sometimes women will trade
days of the week, one working Monday, Wednesday and Friday, one Tuesday, Thursday
and Saturday or they may trade off mornings and afternoons. People can become
very creative and flexible in organizing their job time around their family needs.
SAFE PLACE FOR YOUR CHILDREN
We live in a predatory society, and single
parents cannot afford to ignore this. Be careful about the people you count on
for childcare. Family members usually make the best providers. Unless you know
any other adults that may be in the home of a single caregiver, do not leave your
Inquire about government-funded programs that may be available
for you. Finding a safe place for your children is among your greatest challenges
as a single mom.
Talk to your children about the kinds of touches that are
good touches and bad touches. Make clear to them that they can come and talk to
you if anyone is touching them in an unhealthy way. If anyone touches them in
the genital areas, they should know that, even if those people are members of
the family, you want to know about that right away.
They should be confident
in coming to you with that kind of information, and know that you will help them,
be there for them, and protect them.
Be aware concerning the Christian commitment
of the people you are leaving your children with. What are their lifestyles like?
What is permitted in their homes? What do they allow their own children to do?
In these days, if there is a computer in the home that is not carefully guarded,
a small child can accidentally get into a world he or she should never be exposed
SOME TIME FOR YOURSELF
Everyone needs some time alone, but this
is especially true for single parents. Making a martyr out of yourself for your
children will take its toll on the quality of your relationship with them.
time, develop a reliable list of childcare providers. Then, take some time out
for yourself. Teach your children that you will be less irritable and more patient
with them when you have some "down time" for yourself. Make this happen every
Some single moms are guilt-prone. If they take the time to have fun
and enjoy life, they feel like they should be doing something for their children
instead. If you are one of these, you need to develop a repertoire of things that
will get you away from the children for just an hour, maybe two, so that you can
relax and be involved in something entirely different.
Do not feel self-indulgent
and guilty about it; that is part of taking good care of your children. If you
are going to be a good steward of yourself and of your children, then resting,
relaxing, and getting some recreation once in a while is part of that.
has a special place in His heart for single parents. Talk to Him on a regular
basis about being overwhelmed by the needs of your children. Ask Him for wisdom,
patience, and guidance. He wants to come alongside of you and strengthen you for
If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, confess
your sins and invite Him into your life today. His yoke is easy and His burden
is light. He wants you to know His highest and best.
Taken from DayForward OnLine.
Dr. Richard D. Dobbins
is the leader of EMERGE
Ministries of Akron, Ohio. He serves on the faculty of Ashland Theological
Seminary and initiated the coordination of their masters program in
Pastoral Counseling. An acclaimed author, Dr. Dobbins has created numerous
film/video presentations on topics of interest to believers and has
written many books, booklets, articles and audiotapes on Christian mental
Ministries, Akron, Ohio. Used with persmission.
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