Seven years ago, I kissed my husband goodnight like I had a thousand other times, went to bed and woke up a widow. I also became a suddenly single mom to our seven children. I woke in the early hours of the morning to my husband’s funny breathing. With my eyes still closed, I nudged him, thinking he’d turn over. “It’s just a nightmare, Hon.” But his labored breathing didn’t stop. I jumped out of bed, flipped on the overhead light and could see immediately something was terribly wrong.
“Can you hear me? Dan, are you okay?” Crazy questions now as I’m writing this but at the time, I was trying to gather up the pieces of what was becoming our real nightmare. My older kids rushed in and we called 911. The operator began walking me through CPR. “We love you, Dan. We love you,” I said between chest compressions. Within minutes the paramedics arrived and took him by ambulance to the hospital. When I arrived shortly after, the ER doctor took me aside, gently telling me they’d tried everything but had been unable to revive him.
Tomorrow is National Single Parent’s Day. It’s not a day of celebration but recognition. Most single moms never in their wildest thoughts imagined parenting alone but here they are. They’re grieving (whether there was a death or death of a marriage or relationship) and they’re walking their kids through grief.
Our heart is for you and we are purposely creating content for you as you navigate single parenting. Look for that single mom content every Wednesday in your inbox. Do you know a single mom who could use weekly encouragement? We’d love you to forward this email to her!
If you’re married, we see you as well and know you can give vital help to a single mom you know. Here are some ideas.
Pray for her.
Calendar a day of the week to remember to pray. Ask your friend for a specific need—a particular child or certain situation. I’m tearing up thinking of a few friends who let me know they still pray for us.
I was worried my friendships would change—one more loss in a sea of losses. Your single mom friend needs your friendship. Yes, it’s awkward to go out with couples so invite her to lunch, invite her family over for movies, and keep inviting her even if she’s too busy or can’t find a sitter or is too tired.
Two weeks ago, I was reeling from school issues with one child and health issues with another. That Sunday, my phone buzzed with a text from an unknown number telling me something was on the porch for me. It was a gorgeous purse and a new pair of shoes. What?! I texted back my surprise and deep thanks. I still don’t know who left it, but boy did it lift my spirits to know someone was thinking of me even when I felt alone. This is especially nice to remember as single moms with young kids often don’t get gifts for birthdays or Christmas.
An atta-girl for your single mom friend is super easy. Tell her she’s doing a good job when you see her with her kids. Ask her to share her wins for the week. You will make her day.
We’re all busy but it wasn’t until I became a single mom that I realized single moms stay perpetually behind. That chronic stress actually leads to a shorter life span. Rather than saying, “let me know when you need help,” text her your offer and then just do it.
Tell us! What are some other ways to encourage single moms?