Mother’s Day is a time of celebration — there are a ton of great moms out there! My mom is one. My wife is another. There’s a long list of women I know who are worth so much more than the $50 Olive Garden gift card they receive this weekend.
Mother’s Day is a time for mourning for many others — some folks have lost their mothers, other women have not been able to conceive or suffered a miscarriage. This weekend can be both celebration and somber remembrance. Both are appropriate.
I’ve written about my mom and my wife in past years. This year, I wanted to give a big shout out to a category of mom that is worthy of a fist bump, hug, text message, card in the mail, special mention at church, babysitting offer, or whatever else you may be inspired to give them.
Let’s hear it for all the SINGLE MOMS out there!
My mother actually was a single mom for a bit. Widowed twice, there were several years that my mom went at it alone. My mother-in-law was a single mom. In my years of ministry I’ve known many, many single mothers who were flat out getting it done. I mean, totally knocking it out of the park.
When I think of the single moms I have known, a few things stand out:
They’re Super Tough
My mom had four kids and was widowed twice before she was 30. Can you imagine how tough you have to be to navigate something like that? Same for all the moms who were abandoned by their children’s fathers, were never married, or those who lost their spouse prematurely (and this may come as a shock to some readers, but some women choose to be a single mom).
There’s a lot of lip-stiffening, grip-tightening, hold-it-together moments that they grind through. Parenting is hard with two adults around. When you’re single, there’s no one to wait in the car while you run in and grab something. There’s no one to watch your child while you jump in the shower, for crying out loud. But these women do it. Not because it is easy. They do it because of great love and super human toughness. They’d be the first to say (I’ve heard it) “What else am I supposed to do?” To them, there’s no alternative. But they don’t have to be as awesome as they are.
Insert applause emoji for all the single moms out there!
They’re Crazy Patient
Single moms receive a lot of unsolicited advice. They get a lot of judgmental looks. They get asked a lot of questions that other moms don’t get asked. “Aren’t you worried about them growing up without a father,” for instance. Not a super helpful question.
Still, they seem to take it in stride.
I remember talking to a single mom years ago whose story I did not really know. I tip-toed around the questions trying to be considerate and polite. Finally she just laughed and gave me permission to be blunt, and then shared her story. You don’t have to treat a single mom’s story like it is a landmine you must avoid. They’ve been there before — if you’ve got the relationship, lean in and learn their story. In my experience, they’re eager to share because it reminds them that…
They’re Not Really Alone
Most single moms quickly give credit to the people around them that are a big help. They have extended family, co-workers, neighbors, or a church that help them do what they do. It’s not like they don’t have a community, they just don’t have a spouse. They’re eager to humbly share the credit.
And that’s my encouragement to the super tough, crazy patient single moms out there–
Don’t let one of your most admirable qualities — your independence and intestinal fortitude — be twisted into a weakness. Don’t isolate yourself or alienate yourself. What you’re doing can potentially be a very lonely thing. But you are not alone. Lean on some others to help you along. You’re great at sharing the credit, don’t hesitate to share the load.
And for the rest of us…
Do you know a single mom? Give her a high five this weekend. Write her a note. Offer your help. As you celebrate your own moms, consider the single moms you know and acknowledge and honor them as well.
We see you, single moms, and you are rock stars!
Happy Mother’s Day!