So often single parents stop to ask themselves if they are doing everything right. What if they miss a parent-teacher meeting because they had to choose between putting food on the table and consulting about their child’s education? What if they chose the wrong sunscreen at the supermarket and their children will be forever damaged because somewhere they read a blog post about the evils of sunscreen that comes in blue bottles as opposed to yellow ones? What if everything they do isn’t enough? What if they aren’t enough? What if — just — what if?
Because life is full of what if’s and whatabouts, this Mother’s Day we wanted to honor single moms in a different way. We sought out people who had been raised by single mothers (or have watched single mothers raise their children) and asked them to share their experiences. The people we contacted are all adults — so you know they survived those years in a single parent home — and one thing you’ll notice is that adulthood brings perspective. While their moms were simply trying to live life and guide them in the best ways they knew how to do, their children were watching. They picked up on things that their mothers might never have imagined.
We hope this Mother’s Day fills you with hope and understanding. Hope for the present and for the future. Understanding that your efforts are not going unnoticed.
Here are some of the top qualities our contributors shared about their single mothers.
Courage to let go
My sister Kirby Parvin was a single mom for a while. I’m always impressed by her strength and how that little boy was so sweet and kind and helpful. I know it was a result of how she raised him and how brave she was. Now he has a wonderful dad and little brother too, so everything worked out for the best for all of them. (Spencer Laine)
Balancing parenting with self-improvement
My mother, Rebecca Raab, impressed me by doing college and mothering at the same time. She’s the best mom I could have had. I was given everything I needed and wanted. (Kailey Raab)
Positivity in the face of hardship
Mitiannah Eleonore, a girl in my single mothers group, is only about 20 years old. Her husband left her while she was pregnant and now she is raising her son alone. She didn’t choose that to be a single parent but I am impressed by her strength and her love for God. She is so young but she never gives up. She always smiles, shows kindness, and is there for everyone. You’re special Anna! You are a role model and a testimony of God’s love! (Salome Andriamoratiana)
Refusing to let bitterness take hold
My mom raised my sister and me by herself. My dad left us when I was 5 and my sister was 3 but she never made him the bad guy! She would never talk negatively about him even though she could have. I admire her strength to be the best mom. Her name is Linda and I’m honored God choose her to be my mom! (Christine Dae Shafer Gardner)
Demonstrating faithfulness on both a large and small scale
My mother, Virginia Flowers, was born in 1926. She lived in an era when women stayed home and raised a family. In 1982, at the age of 55, my mother became a single mom. She was a mother of 8 children, 4 of them still at home, by the time my parents divorced. I was only 13 years old. My mother had not had a job outside of the home since she was 17. I saw her leave the house at 5:00 AM and work tirelessly for many years for minimum wage, which was about $4 an hour at that time. Then she came home and cooked, cleaned and sewed for us until it was time for bed. It always amazed me how she always managed to have money for whatever was needed even though my father never paid his child support.
Because of my mother’s faithfulness to God, I saw many miracles take place and often took them for granted. Even later in life my mother lived on only $500 per month for several years. God always provided for us, even allowing her and me to purchase a home together. I never recall my mother complaining about being poor, although, looking back, we really were. She never complained about being a single mom. She just worked endlessly to make sure we had everything we needed. She was always faithful to the house of God and always provided a godly example for us to follow after.
I lived with her for most of the remainder of her life. She passed away in 2004. Some of my best memories of her are waking up to find my mother sitting at the table reading her Bible with the sewing machine always sitting close by. Many mornings, she had half of the house cleaned before I ever even got out of bed! I’ve never met another person that could do so much with so little in life. She was simply an amazing mom! (Lois Flowers)
Investing in their children’s spiritual future
For the majority of my life I was raised by a single parent. When I was a child, my mom, Lorna Webb, was always involved in church. Whenever she attended, I was there with her and was a participant in whatever was going on. I was always involved in church growing up. Later in life, I got married and was determined that I would not be a single parent. As life would have it, I became a single parent when my daughter was only months old. There were events in church that I wanted to attend and could not attend because of my child’s personal needs or health concerns and I always thought to myself, “I wish things were not this way. I wish I had a partner to help me with my child so that I could be more involved in church.” That has not been the case so I have had to take my child along with me to every event.
What I have come to realize is that this has been a bigger blessing than anything else. When there are two parents involved in a child’s life, many times they will juggle their schedules so that one parent can stay home with the children and the other can get involved in church. Tonight, however, as I thought back to my mother, I found myself counting my blessings when I realized that it’s not a luxury to be able to juggle your schedule where one parent gets to keep a child at home while the other gets involved. It is a greater blessing to be able to take your child with you to every event that is happening at church so that they themselves can become groomed and involved in the process of serving the Lord so that they become stronger Christians when they grow up.
I realize that because my mother was “dragging” me to every church event she was involved in, I became a stronger Christian. Now I am doing the same thing with my daughter. While I used to think, “I wish I had a partner to help me,” I am now realizing that’s not what I need. My daughter is enjoying the benefits of going to prayer meetings, going to services and seeing what prayer is really like, enjoying being at choir rehearsals and all of those other mundane things. I’m now realizing that she is actually being strengthened in every event that I am going to and that is setting her up for success in her future walk with the Lord and even where she is right now.
My daughter is only seven years old, but I can tell you that I see the hand of God upon her life simply from her just being at every event that I have been to. I am so grateful that I get to bring my daughter with me. I am investing in her future in a solid way. That’s what I appreciate the most about what my mother did for me; she invested in me in times when she didn’t realize that she was investing in me. Whether she was going to prayer meetings, other church meetings, revivals, whatever the event, I was there with her. I experienced it all and that has helped me to be a solid Christian today. (Shirlane Buckle)
As you can see, rather than feeling deprived of missing a parent, the people in the examples above learned to appreciate what they had been given in their incredible mothers. They recognized her efforts and her difficulties.
5 tips from a single mom for surviving mother’s day
To all of our precious single mothers who are constantly striving to be the best parents they can be, keep it up. And, if you need some inspiration to help you through this Mother’s Day, here are some tips from Kristie Kobzeff, a single mother and frequent contributor to the Flying Solo blog.
Treat yourself kindly.
If you aren’t kind to yourself, it will be hard to be kind to others. Give yourself a break.
Establish a special tradition between you and your kid(s) on Mother’s Day.
For example, my son and I used to get up early on Mother’s Day and get donuts and milk. We still try to have breakfast together on Mother’s Day (even though he’s an adult).
Surround yourself with people who love you and will encourage you.
If you do this, you will be able to reach out to them when you’re having a bad day. They will remind you of how amazing you are and that they’ve got your back.
Let your kids spoil you for the day.
Let them come up with ideas to make you feel special. Since Mother’s Day is on a Sunday, hopefully you will be in church worshipping together. There’s nothing better than praying, singing, and gathering together in God’s House. Remember to make special memories.
Remember it’s only one day out of the entire year.
It can be tough, especially if you aren’t near your own mother or if your kids are unable to be with you. If that happens just celebrate it when your kids get back. Being together to celebrate is more important than the date itself.
Thank you to all of our incredible single moms out there. Thank you also to the moms out there, single or otherwise, who raised your daughters to be sweet, spiritual, and strong women who could take on the challenges of single parenthood. We honor you today.