Single mothers are my heroes. I have worked with them officially for over eight years and continue to be amazed by the women who carry on and create a life that would be extremely difficult even without children. I’ve noticed that these moms each have three things in common, the same three things I encourage women to develop when I coach them. Perhaps you will see a way to change your course with these approaches.
Move Past Disappointment
First they all have lived with disappointments and have chosen to move past them. When I first met Natalie and listened to her story at a retreat for single mothers, it broke my heart. During that weekend I saw her make some significant advances with her personal problems. In spite of extreme hardships she is determined to become a strong self-supporting woman. She has managed to overcome personal struggles of extreme low self-esteem brought on by circumstances in her upbringing. Her future is full of promise. Natalie works very hard to support herself and her children. Natalie maintains a “can-do” spirit. Lingering in the past or holding on to your heartaches will sap your energy and prevent you from moving forward.
The second common thing I see is that the well-adjusted moms set a goal and commit to it. They don’t let their dreams die. Natalie says, “I realize that the decisions I make today determine what my tomorrow will look like. So, I chose to take control of my future by returning to school to receive the training and education that I need for the workforce.” Maureen, another single mother, who has four sons, earned a degree while working full time and maintaining an extremely busy schedule with her sons.
Tammy says, “The thing that kept me going through rough times was God’s grace and mercy, and my son. I wanted to actually finish something that I started. I didn’t want to give up just because things were tough, because I knew that it wasn’t all about me anymore; I had my son depending on me. Not only was he depending on me but also he was watching everything I did — and he is still watching me.”
Maintain Moral Code
They maintain moral codes and teach them to their children. Attending church takes effort. It is so easy to say, “Sunday is my only day off, why should I go to the trouble?” In fact, most (two-thirds) of the single mothers in the United States do not attend church. Ironically, church is the one place a single mother could find a support system, child care or classes for children during worship, and guidance — all for free. Churches are made up of people and are, therefore, not perfect. I urge you to search until you find the place that is right for you and your children.
There may be times when the effort doesn’t seem worth the trouble. I can tell you that the payoff long-term is worth every trip you make to have your child involved in Sunday school or a youth group at a well-established church.
Based on my experience as a single mother of three for 16 years and on the lives of the single moms I work with, I believe you will be surprised how these three commitments will not only redirect, but improve your life and the lives of your children. If you already implement these three keys, keep at it. You will be glad you did.
Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the mothers.