There are days where the motivation to be a good mom and keep it all together while staying a proud single mother feels impossible. Every mom at one point – and perhaps even daily – wrestles with challenges that keep her from being her best. During my time these past seven years as a single mother, most of my battles seem to be against society itself.
People within society who shame single mothers rather than encourage them are prevalent. Whether it’s the media that cast single mothers as victims with no hope for a decent future or a gossiping community who judges the choices she makes, we often feel like we don’t fit in and can’t do anything right.
Most of us have a tough enough time; there is no need for attacks and talking behind our backs. Everyday things are often harder for me than for married moms – such as paying the bills, getting the kids to school on time, cooking dinner, and being present at work. We are continuously doing what should be a two-person job on our own.
How I Became a Proud Single Mother
Over time, I have become proud to be a single mother. I’m raising my son, Liam, on my own. His father left us when Liam was 16 months old and terminated his rights a few years later. My story is not one of resentment – not at all. It’s an unfolding story about love, grace, forgiveness, and redemption. Yet, as I meet other single moms along this path, I have noticed a common denominator that made its way into our lives: shame.
And it’s sad. We should not accept that way of thinking. No human being’s destiny is to believe in that message of negativity.
That’s why I started sharing my story with single and married moms alike, with fathers and other members of our local and online community: Rather than debate the issues of how a woman became a single mother, why not look at life through her children’s eyes? Recognize the opportunity to help her build a new legacy for the next generation.
I believe that shame is an unnatural and unnecessary emotion whether you are a woman or a man. We don’t need to go about our days feeling ashamed of our lives. There is so much enlightenment once you realize that you are an amazing woman who is strong and capable of facing any challenge.
How can I stay motivated as a single mom?
Surround yourself with a loving community.
When you are on the receiving end of love, support, and encouragement to become the best you can be, those gestures breed many blessings for your children.
Everyone’s tank is getting filled. You want to fill those kids’ tanks and pour wholesome values into them. If the people in your life do not radiate kindness and caring, maybe it’s time you look for a community that will let you come as you are. Find support in the shape of family and friends, and keep your circle as authentic as possible.
If you feel like you don’t know where to start – consider looking for a support group near you. Tentacles of shame caused by others can rip families apart. But it does not have to be this way.
Ground yourself spiritually.
One of the things that have helped me in my solo walk as a single mom is to ground ourselves in faith. As we dig deeper into our relationship with God and keep Him front and center, we can trust Him at His word: Never shall I leave you or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).
For us, God remains, so we do not get pushed around by society’s messages and keep ourselves intact as best as possible.
You don’t have to share my family’s religious views, but it might help you look into what can spiritually fill your lives.
Setting Limits and Boundaries.
Setting limits and boundaries around children, so they remain safe is probably one of the top things to keep in mind when raising children. Contemplating who to let into the family’s life is crucial, including messages from the media.
In November of 2012, I led to give up cable television and sell old books and movies that were very worldly. It was so hard for me to do. Since then, I relented two or three times and allowed cable TV back in the house until a few months ago. Now, we live without these luxuries. Our home life is far from perfect, but our relationship as mother and son has never been better.
The TV shows were just my experience – but most of us know where the roots of our problems come from in our lives. Whether it’s a toxic friendship, TV show, family member, or lack of communication, find your root causes and work to improve your circumstances by setting boundaries.
Be an inspiration for other single mothers.
Plain and simple is the intention of the message to offer a single mother whom you see struggling.
How about this:
You are a wonderful mother, and I see you working hard. It is because of your strength and tenacity your children will succeed. And you know what? You will, too!
I can only imagine how her face will light up when she hears these words. Or healthily care for herself, give more to her children, and give back to society.