Grace for Single Mothers

Glennon at Momastery posted this on her Facebook wall the other night:

“You guys, it was one of those nights. Too many kids crying and whining and flailing and fighting and just ALL MY SENSES on overload and I finally had to tap out. I just said – Craig, you gotta take one for the team tonight- and I came to hide in my closet/office. My cloffice.

And now I’m sitting here listening to the lingering carnage and thinking about you single parents who can’t tap out. Who never tap out. Who keep showing up when you’re weary or angry or lonely or all of the above. Single parenting is simply one of the most tremendous acts of sheer will and love I can imagine.

Anyway- whether you’re single parenting tonight due to deployment or divorce or death or illness or non-involvement or some other circumstance – ALL MY AWE AND LOVE AND RESPECT AND ADMIRATION . . . ALL OF IT – goes out to you tonight. #carryonwarrior

I zoned out when I got to her words,
“I just said – ‘Craig, you gotta take one for the team tonight’… “
That’s the point where I wither and slink away in any blog post or status update.
It’s the point that I remember, “Oh. She’s on a team.” *looks away*
So, I usually stop reading.
Most of the time, the woman is just being honest and vulnerable
about a struggle in their life …
And what I know is … I can’t help them
and I don’t even walk in the same style shoes. anymore.
And their mentioning a helper and a safe place to hide,
reminds me of my lack of both.

It reminds me of an example I heard  years ago
of the woman in a grocery store who teasingly offers to give her badly behaving child away.
She is overheard by the barren woman who pines for a child, but doesn’t have one.
So, the mom who is sharing her struggles in a comical way … laughing to keep from crying …
is heard by someone who would LOVE to have those struggles
because the source of her frustration  … is a child.
We interpret every situation according to our own perspective.

When you are talking to a single mom and  you’re sharing that
your grass is tall because your husband is working late and he can’t cut the grass until the weekend,
or you can’t wait until your husband gets home so he can take your kids off your hands
or you’re mad because it takes your husband too long to pack the car for a trip
or you don’t like the way that he folds the towels,
she may very well be thinking, “Well, at least you have a partner. You have a team.”

Just because I don't do it your way doesn't mean I am doing it wrong.

Because …
Who makes the appointments and takes the kids to the doctor?
Who cuts the grass, weeds the flower beds and edges the sidewalk?
Who blows off the roof so it won’t rot? Or repairs the hole when a limb falls?
Who keeps track of money, pays the bills and saves for the future?
Who plans out meals, does the grocery shopping and puts away groceries?
Who prepares meals and lunches for school and then cleans up afterwards?
Who washes, dries, sorts and disperses laundry?
Who is responsible when the toilet leaks, the heater quits or ants invade, dryer quits?
Who makes sure the trash and yard waste make it to the street?
Who replaces broken windows? Repairs fallen gutters or deck? Re-glazes old windows?
Who protects you when hear someone walking on your back porch?
Who makes sure that there is firewood? Moves it from the yard to a covered spot, as needed?
Who makes sure homework is finished? And meets with teachers? And signs report cards?
Who finances this? Who is responsible for the income into your home?
Who plans your trips/vacations? Who plans the stops, figures out the cost and packs everything?
Who buys the presents at gift time? Who remembers birthdays? Who mails cards and thank yous?
Who stops the fighting/bickering? Who helps settle sibling disagreements? Is the mediator?
Who is the bad guy and makes the decisions of “No” that crush your child, but are needful?
Who vacuums floors, wipes down baseboards, dusts tables and changes sheets?
Who makes the 30-60 minute phone calls to the cable/insurance/phone when bill is incorrect?
Who changes the oil, rotates/buys the tires, makes sure there is anti-freeze in the car?
Who puts out decorations for holidays and celebrations so your home is festive?
Who keeps the records and files the taxes in your family? Who pays the monthly bill, if you owe?

She does all of these. She does all the jobs you do and all of the jobs your partner does.
Some may be  delegated to children, but she must still oversee that they get accomplished.
And the more children she has and the younger they are, the more difficult her job.

I have a tax guy do my taxes, but I have to keep all the records and make the payments
(Because, yes, I owe. I had never done my taxes or chosen my withholdings before my divorce
and didn’t pay enough in and I’m still trying to catch up.)
But, every other job above has been mine since my divorce.

And this is true for most single moms. I am surrounded by them.  They are exhausted.
They don’t want to ask for help because they’ve done it so many times. They save “asking”
for the “really big stuff”  … when they are completely out of ideas, time, resources and money.
But, a movie night, a note of encouragement, a phone call to say, “You okay?,” a Starbucks card,
advice on a house repair or the offer of some help with a home repair job would mean SO MUCH.

Your husband may do some things that you don’t like.
He may even do some things that are immoral in your eyes.
Maybe your weakness (gossip? gluttony? impatience? selfishness?)
is as unseemly in his eyes
as his weakness (pornography? bitterness? anger? dishonesty?)
is in your eyes.
Maybe …. a lot more grace needs to happen.
Trust me. I’ve offered it and I’ve been extended MUCH more than I could ever deserve.
But … he’s there. He hasn’t quit. He hasn’t walked out.  He hasn’t said,
“I don’t want to be on your team any more.”
There is still hope.

I beg you, offer support to your team member. Don’t fuss about him.
And know that there are others around you
who would prefer your style shoes for walking.
But, for whatever reason, they were removed.
Encourage those around you in whatever way you can.
For we could all use a bit more grace.

(Let me add here:
For all you sweet married mamas
that answered “Me” to most of the “Who?” questions above,
I commend you.
I know it’s tough to have the appearance of being on a team
when you are isolated, alone, battling and weary …
for your marriage, your family, your self-worth
and possibly your physical, emotional and spiritual health.
I think this is prevalent in our society …
and when it happens to women in a church, you are expected to
publicly and privately
support, respect and encourage your husband … even if he pours himself into
work or some outside investment
when in fact, his first priority (after God) should be family.
I commend you and pray for your strength, stamina and joy in this season. {{hug}}
I know the anger, frustration and weariness that you wear. I weep for you, dear one.
I have no “#7 Steps …. ” list to fix your situation, but I understand and you are “seen.” )

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Categories: Detachment & Divorce | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Grace for Single Mothers

  1. <3 you

  2. Pingback: “You can do this!” | may i ask you a question?

  3. i love this. it’s beautiful, and needs to be shared. single motherhood is so hard.. but it’s hard to explain it other people- this does an amazing job of that. i pray it spurs people on to reach out to the single mothers around them- who could use a helping hand. love you!

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