Single mothers really do have the hardest job in the world.
They are breadwinners for their families, the principle support people for their kids’ every physical and emotional need, they have to fill the role of both parents. They rarely, if ever, get a break. They are on 24/7 whether it is a weekend, weekday, holiday, or vacation.
I am not a single mother, but I was raised by one. She never chose to be a single parent but it was forced upon her when my father lost his battle to cancer. I was 10 years old and my sisters were 11 and 13. Having to set aside her own grief over the loss of her husband in order to raise three daughters, and work full time, by herself was no doubt a formidable task.
Now that I am a mother myself I can better understand what my mom went through. Raising kids is hard, tiring work. I also know how blessed I am to have a doting husband and father for my kids. I’ll admit, I feel a bit sorry for myself when I have even 24 hours alone with the kids. Nights when my husband is away for a meeting or social event drag on. I miss him walking through the door at 6:00 to absorb some of the kids energy and help with bedtime. I know I have it easy. There are parents who become single parents due to the death or their spouse, or due to divorce and are solo parenting for much (or sometimes all) of the time. There are parents whose spouse travels for work so end up solo parenting for long stretches at time.
I pray that my husband and I will be together forever and live long happy, healthy lives. I pray that we will never have to go through what I experienced as a child. When one parent dies that is only the first tragedy. Next comes knowing that you have to spend the rest of your life without that parent; and the aftermath of a parent’s death in the form of the stresses on a family that come with one parent having to shoulder all the burden and worry alone; all the milestones that the deceased parent will miss; wondering what might life have been like if their family was still whole.
If you are a single mom (or dad), I haven’t been in your shoes exactly, but I can empathize with how tired and overwhelmed you must feel. You are amazing and doing the best you can, and that’s all anyone can expect of you. Your children do appreciate your efforts even if it might not seem like it now.
If you know a single mom (or dad), offer your friendship and support. Make a point of being there to lift some of her (his) burden once in a while and be another positive adult figure in her (his) children’s lives too.
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