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Last week I wrote a post exploring the myths surrounding being a single mom. This week I want to make a declaration — a manifesto if you will..
…that single moms are important. That we matter.
Below are 7 declarations that I want to share with you.
1. You are not damaged goods.
One of the feelings I struggled with as a single mom is my self-worth. I felt unwanted. I felt unloved. This feeling ran more deeply because I was constantly abandoned as a child.
I compared myself with seemingly happily married women. Their husbands picked them up from work. Or the kids from school. They had dinner together. Or had date night at the movies.
I wondered what was wrong with me. How come my life couldn’t be like that? Why didn’t anyone want me?
Listen, it’s possible you made some mistakes. Or you might have been dumped by your ex. You may need to get some help. Maybe even therapy.
But you are not damaged. Your children no doubt, will agree with me.
You are awesome. You are amazing. You are…
2. …Loved by God.
God loves the single mom. He said he would be a father to the fatherless; a Defender of widows…” (Psalm 68:5 NIV).
You are not alone. Despite popular culture, God does exist. He is real. He is not some abstract figure with his hand raised waiting for you to screw up so he can dump on you.
He is a forgiving and loving Father. Full of grace and mercy. He wants to take care of you. He wants to provide for you and your children. With God, the past is the past.
The truth is, God knows what your life was going to be way before you were born. (Present tense because God does not live in time. He lives in eternity).
He is not surprised by where you are right now.
God loves you. God loves the single mom.
3. You have a great opportunity to impact the world.
You have a great opportunity to impact the world. This bears repeating.
You have a story to tell. You have a responsibility to help others who may experience what you are going through.
But more importantly, you have an opportunity to change the world through your children. How you raise your children will most likely determine their contribution to the world. Your strength and example can impact your children to do better. To go further. To care deeply.
You may think you are powerless. You are not. Even when you feel you have nothing left to give. You are still giving, teaching and showing.
If you have nothing good to say about your ex. Please don’t say anything. Especially within earshot of your children.
Your children absorb who you are…
You owe it to your children to be mindful of your responsibility to them.
It never ceases to amaze me, that even after 18 years of constant changes and struggles, my children are working to become productive members of society. I wonder how it all happened. I still don’t think I did anything. But I tried to be present. Mentally and physically.
I didn’t check out from their lives. I, like you didn’t turn my back on them.
4. You may not Need a New Partner…Yet.
While you are still vulnerable, you may not need another man.
But you definitely need friends. You will need the love and support of people who have your best interest at heart. You may need to seek out mentors for your children.
Maybe Big Brother for him. Big Sister for her.
You cannot go it alone but until you are totally healed, involving a companion in an already fragile situation may do you, and possibly your children, more harm than good.
Besides, your kids don’t necessarily need another father. At least maybe…not yet.
In this area. Tread carefully. What you do is up to you. But I think once we are mothering while single, it behoves us to weigh the pros and cons of becoming involved with another partner too quickly.
5. You Matter…a LOT.
You matter to your children. You matter to God. You occupy a space created for no one else but you. What will you do with this privilege that has been placed upon you? And yes, it is a privilege.
You may say this does not feel like a privilege. I hear you.
It’s hard to see the forest for the trees. Life gets rough at times. Plus we sometimes waste energy being bitter. We oftentimes need to feel sorry for ourselves as well. Because we feel alone. Completely alone.
But wait a minute…
What you do is important. You hold the future of your children in your hands. Yes, it is possible that how they eventually turn out may have nothing to do with how you raised them.
But to live with no regret, requires your unyielding dedication to the welfare of your children.
6. Your children need you.
There were times when I wondered if my children were better off without me. There were many times I asked why I didn’t just kill myself and allow someone else to raise them. Someone good. Someone they deserved.
Who did I think I was anyway? In those times, I was sure someone else could do a better job.
This was such wrong thinking on every level. Your children need to know you are there for them. They don’t need anyone else in that regard. They need their mom.
You are who and what they have. And they are what you have been blessed with.
And yes, children are an enormous blessing. It might not seem like it right now.
Trust me. This will ring true in the end.
7. Take care of yourself.
At the beginning of each airplane ride, the captain or someone designated, announces the procedure for passengers to follow during an emergency. One of the most memorable part of these instructions is to put on your oxygen mask first. THEN assist others to put their mask on.
As a single mom, you will need to take care of yourself first and foremost. I talk about taking care of your health in a post found here. You need your mask on first. Otherwise, you may not last to attend to your children’s needs.
Staying healthy means:
- eating right and exercising regularly
- getting regular health check-ups
- getting enough sleep/rest
- Taking time to recharge
Last but certainly not least, staying healthy means forgiving yourself. And forgiving others who have wronged you.
This manifesto is about you. Your love.
Your passion…that’s still there, right?
Of course it is. You are a single mom.