By Elisabeth Klein, Crosswalk.com
So, you know a single mom or two. There’s no doubt in my mind. Look around your life. I bet you could name a couple off the top of your head, either from work or church or the neighborhood. But you’re busy with your own life and family and responsibilities. Or you have no idea what you could actually offer them. Or you don’t want to come across as high and mighty, as if single moms are a charity case.
I get it. Before I was a single mom, before I was divorced, I didn’t know how to reach out to the women in my life who found themselves parenting solo. And because I didn’t know how, I just didn’t do it.
And then I became a single mom. And the loneliness set in. And the realization that every meal decision and preparation fell to me. And all grocery shopping was on me. And buying the clothes and gym shoes were my job. And afterschool homework time was now on my shoulders. In other words, I was the main grown-up. And it freaked me out and scared me and made me sad and left me feeling very, very isolated.
Being a single mom is hard. It’s physically hard, emotionally hard, and spiritually hard. We battle loneliness, insecurities, doubts, exhaustion, and fear, and we do so, for the most part, all on our own. Single moms need your help.
We won’t bite, I promise. We won’t feel like we’re being pitied. We’ll be grateful. So very grateful. So, please reach out to us.
Here are ten ways you can reach out to the precious women in your life who are raising their children in a way that God never intended: on their own.
1. Pray for us. We might be processing a spouse’s death or betrayal in the midst of our transition to solo-parenting. But regardless, we need your prayers to help us get through this time.
2. Handyman help, lawn care, or automotive repair. Without a partner to either do these tasks for us or the money to have someone else do it, we might be a bit lost at first.
3. Mentor and love our children. 'It takes a village' means so much more to us single moms. We are very aware that we can’t be everything to our children. Please step in to fill the gaps.
4. Give us gift cards to grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, Target, Walmart, Amazon, pretty much anywhere. Odds are, money is tight in a new way, and every little bit will help.
5. Invite us and our kids to be a part of your life. Have us over for dinner. Take us along when you do a family outing. No longer being a “complete” family, so to speak, can sting. This will help stave off the loneliness and stigma.
6. Offer to take care of our kids to give us a break. We’re tired. Help!
7. Financial mentoring. For some of us, budgeting and living within tighter constraints is brand new, and we need wise counsel to help us transition.
8. Take us out for coffee or lunch. Without a partner in our daily lives, we can get lonely. An hour of adult conversation can go a long way.
9. Surprise us with a gift like a mani/pedi, massage, or drop off a home-cooked meal. For the most part, we’re probably not being given gifts or extravagances these days. A little something special would brighten our day.
10. Simply check in to see how we’re doing and what we might need. When you don’t know how to help, just ask us. We’ll tell you.
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction (James 1:27a).
(C) Elisabeth Klein, 2014
Elisabeth is a single mom to two teenagers. She loves spending time with her kids, her friends, reading and writing. She is the author of Moving on as a Single Christian Mom, Living through Divorce as a Christian Woman, Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage, Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage, At the Corner of Broken & Love; One Girl, Third World; He Is Just That Into You; In Search of Calm: Renewal for a Mother’s Heart; and Calm in My Chaos: Encouragement for a Mom’s Weary Soul. All these books can be purchased on Amazon.com. Visit her website here.
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Publication date: November 6, 2014