As a single mom, it’s easy to think of the ways our kids are at a disadvantage. But we have a unique opportunity to teach our children lessons in bravery, tackling hard things, and resilience they might not otherwise see. Every day, inspirational single moms model crucial life lessons for their kids.
In fact, I’ve begun keeping a list of single mom heroes. These women haven’t just survived single parenting but have thrived. Some have accomplished incredible feats. Some have raised incredible kids. And some have done both! These 5 inspirational single moms prove we can find our footing, thrive in this season, and raise great kids.
Marie Curie: Single Mom and Scientist
You may know Marie Curie as the pioneer of radioactivity, who won two Nobel prizes. But did you know she was also a single mom who raised two daughters? The girls were two and seven years old when their father died.
Marie continued her research while raising her daughters and overseeing their education. Her oldest daughter became a scientist alongside her and won her own Nobel prize. Marie’s younger daughter was a journalist and author who won the National Book Award for a biography on her mother.
Elisabeth Elliot: Single Mom and Missionary
Elisabeth Elliot became a single mom after her husband was killed while they were missionaries in Ecuador. She continued their ministry with her 10-month-old daughter and eventually went to live among the tribe who’d killed her husband. Many came to know Jesus and the tribe became stable and peaceful.
Elisabeth’s daughter married and raised eight children. She authored a children’s book about her Amazon childhood and a book about her parents’ marriage and ministry.
Sonya Carson: Single Mom and Domestic Worker
Sonya, a single mom of two boys, held multiple jobs to support her family. When her boys were failing school, she had them turn off the television and write weekly book reports which she marked and returned. They became excellent students and only later learned their mother was illiterate.
Her oldest son, Curtis, became an aeronautical engineer. The youngest, Dr. Ben Carson, earned a full scholarship to Yale and became a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon. Today, he’s an author and philanthropist and currently serves as secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Matilde Palau: Single Mom of Six
Matilde’s story is one of wealth to poverty. The family had cooks, maids, a driver, and boarding school for the children. Her husband died suddenly and Matilde became a single mom of six. Within a year, the relative she’d trusted to manage her husband’s extensive estate swindled them, leaving them penniless.
Some days, the family had one French bread loaf to share for dinner, though her children don’t remember her complaining. Matilde’s oldest son, Luis, become a preacher and is known as the Billy Graham of South America. He says his mom taught him his greatest lesson: to trust God completely even when life changes dramatically.
Katie Davis: Single Mom by Choice and Adoption
At 18, Katie Davis left her Tennessee hometown for a short-term missions trip in Uganda. Seeing a huge need there, Katie started a ministry to support children and the short-term trip became permanent.
When three orphaned girls needed a home, Katie took them in. Over the next few years, she took in 10 more orphaned girls, becoming the mom of 13 girls at age 22. She continues to work in Uganda running a school, nursery, feeding and vaccination program, and more.
Single parenting is difficult, but our families can thrive.
What vital lessons will your children learn from your single mothering?