I threw myself a party last week.
It was actually a surprise party where pity was the theme, lies did the catering and weariness invited me in. Fortunately, I found the exit door and got out but it made me realize how easily my thoughts can trip me up.
I began to take a hard look at some of the lies I tell myself. I started to notice lies that laced conversations with my other single mom friends. These lies do us a disservice, lulling us into parenting out of fear or from defeat. Today, I’m unpacking 5 lies I tell myself as a single mom along with the truth.
Because calling out the lie is only the first step. To really find the exit door of a pity party, we need to replace the lie with truth and continue to remind ourselves of that truth when the lie resurfaces. Over time, reciting the truth to myself helps me overcome the lie altogther and that, my friend, is when we can parent from peace rather than fear.
1. Married women have it easier.
I mean just look at her. Her husband shares the driving, takes care of the lawn, knows how to unclog the garbage disposal and then treats her to dinner. But, of course, that’s the highlight reel. Marriage is hard work. If I’m honest, I remember the days my husband and I could barely speak for our anger and the nights I went to bed disappointed. Marriage is a daily dying to self, accommodating someone else’s schedule and interests and living alongside someone who’s a complete opposite.
Truth: Marriage allows us to share the burdens of home and family, but that sharing creates conflict which must be resolved.
2. This discipline issue wouldn’t happen if I was married.
This was the lie that triggered my pity party. I was dealing with a teen boy and remembering how my husband used to step in when it got hard. But that’s just it: I’d dealt with these same issues with my older children, when I was married. And it had been hard then, just as it was now.
Truth: Hard discipline issues come up even in healthy, intact families. Discipline issues arise because kids are learning and maturing, not because they have a single mom.
Discipline issues arise because kids are learning and maturing, not because they have a single mom.
3. My children will be emotionally handicapped as adults.
This lie leads us to wring our hands in worry over something that may never happen. Yes, single parenting happens because of loss — either the death of a parent or death of a marriage. Both create grief for our children and the deep emotions that come with grief. But that actually creates an opportunity to help our children not only understand their emotions, but process them.
Truth: Learning to process loss helps our children become more resilient and compassionate.
4. I’ll never measure up as a single mom.
Single parenting is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s easy for me to see my lack. Most nights, I’m working at my keyboard rather than reading to my kids the way I used to. And I’m often too tired or too busy to keep up all the traditions we used to have as a family. But the lie that we don’t measure up doesn’t just plague single moms.
Truth: No mom feels like she measures up – which should only make us lean on God and pray hard.
5. Our family will never thrive again.
My husband and I had big dreams for our family and for our children. Life wasn’t perfect when I was married, but it was full and vibrant. Becoming a sudden widow and single mom shattered those dreams and plans and sent me into survival mode. It’s often all I can do to take care of the here and now and it feels like thriving has gotten buried under surviving.
Truth: Single parent families can thrive and one key that’s helped me is to create a new family vision statement.
What is one thing you’re doing well right now as a mom?