How A Single Mother Can Rise Above The Storms Of Life
I know how difficult it is to be a single mother. It’s easy to feel discouraged and battered by the storms of life.
Do you wake up some mornings feeling low and want to crawl back into bed?
Other times you feel like a tiny ant lost in a huge world. Not only that, but loneliness hit you like a huge rock. It knocks the stuffing out of you. The tears bubble up in your eyes. The next thing you know, they’re rolling down your cheeks and there’s nothing you can do to stop them falling.
I know about that only too well. I’ve been there many times before.
With storms you either survive or perish. Well thank God I survived mine. But there were times when I thought I wouldn’t.
Single mother, you can do if because I did
If I told you that storms were good for you, would you believe me? It might sound crazy but it’s true.
Storms are challenges, pains, sufferings and challenges of life. If you don’t go through them, how will you know what you’re made of? Imagine if everything was always perfect in your life. How would you grow as a single mother? How would you learn from mistakes? How would your children learn from you for their future?
I’ll use my life experiences and answer those questions for you.
- Without storms how would you know what you’re made of?
When I was a teenager I was shy and weak. I couldn’t cope without having a man in my life. They were my support and backbone. I hated being alone. After one relationship ended, I was looking for another man to fill that void.
It was a shock to my system when my marriage ended. For the first time I was a single mother with three children to look after. It was tough.
But can I tell you when I had to endure the biggest storm? Although, it felt more like a hurricane than a storm. It was when dad, ex husband and my baby grandson died. It all happened within nine months. Have you ever had to grieve for three people at the same time?
I had to be extremely strong for my children. And keep myself sane. The feeling was like being blown about and battered by gale force winds.
Do you know how I coped? By praying to God for strength. I couldn’t cry in front of my daughters. They needed my shoulders to cry on. I cried in my bedroom at nights when they were asleep. But God gave me the courage to carry on.
That year I learnt about patience, love, compassion, forgiveness, resilience, determination and the power of prayers.
Thirteen years later, I’m still here. I’ve been through more storms of life. But the first hurricane taught me who I am as a mother and a woman. And I know exactly what I’m made of.
- How would you grow as a single mother?
This is one of the hardest jobs in life. Especially when you have to be mum and dad, because their father is dead or absent. When I was on benefits, I had to sacrifice so my children could eat.
Being a single mother has taught me the value of selflessness. I have to go out of my way sometimes to support them. I’ve had to become a listening ear, a counsellor, their taxi and everything else. That included visiting them late at nights because of emergencies. Plus settle disputes and other issues that cropped up between them.
When I first became a single mother I was always stressed. But now I feel like a pro. I’ve developed a strategy for coping. That’s by talking to God and loving my daughters completely. Even when they make me angry and I want to scream. I learnt how to develop good listening skills. And not be quick to add my opinions. It took time and it’s an ongoing process.
My daughters and I have a wonderful closeness. We’re friends. That’s what makes our relationships strong. We talk to each other about anything. When I need advice, I go to them.
There are days when I feel down and lonely. But they always cheer me up with their encouraging words of wisdom. My eldest daughter always reminds me where I’m coming from. And how much I’ve grown over the years. Their support towards me is like a precious diamond. It helps make the single mother journey much easier.
- How do you learn from your mistakes?
If you put your hand in fire you’ll get burnt. Do it often enough and your hand will be burnt to the bones. It’s the same with mistakes. Unless you learn and stop repeating them, you’ll end up a wreck emotionally, physically or both.
My biggest mistake was rushing into relationships. I kept doing it. I didn’t wait to heal after one ended. I always managed to attract the same type of abusive men. I carried a lot of negative baggage around with me as a result.
One day I came to my senses. I stopped dating and started to reflect on my life. I noticed the repeat patterns of my behavior. It was obvious I wasn’t learning from my mistakes. It was time to do something about it. So, I stayed single until I was healed of all the pain from the past.
I’m still single. But this time around I’m loving it. I’ve got God in my life. I know who I am. I know what I want. I’m happy being in my own company. I’ve grown emotionally and I love myself. All old insecurities have gone. And I’m healed.
- How would your children learn from you to prepare them for their future?
Your children learn from you. You’re their role model. Have you noticed how little girls as young as two copies their moms? They’ll try to put on make-up, lipstick and even paint their nails. That’s because they see mummy doing it. Boys enjoy playing football or video games if that’s what their dads are into.
Be careful about the type of language you use in front of your children. Otherwise they’ll repeat it to their friends.
My eldest daughter was there when the storms were raging. She learned a lot from what she saw me going through. It’s made her an extremely strong young woman.
She had to deal with the death of her first son. But she was still able to comfort her little sister who was mourning the death of her dad.
And she’s always been proud to say I was her role model. She watched me go through one distressing relationship after another. Those experiences taught her about the different characters of men. She used that wisdom to cope with difficulties in her own relationships.
Ride the storms don’t let them batter you
- Do you feel lonely with no one to talk to? First of all God is with you. He said He’ll never leave you or forsake you. Talk to Him. Secondly, find someone else you can confide in. It could be your children. It doesn’t matter how old they are. You could even talk to your baby. There’s something therapeutic about sharing your feelings. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get a response.You need to get it off your chest. You’ll feel better than bottling it up.
- Are negative thoughts disturbing you? Renew your mind. Read the bible daily. Read Proverbs for encouraging words of wisdom. They’ll help uplift your spirits. Read inspirational books. Listen to your favourite CDs. Do some gardening. Go for a walk in the park. When you surround yourself with nature, it has a calming effect on your mind. Yesterday I was stressed. My daughter and I went to the park. We sat by the pond watching the ducks. By the time we walked back home, my mind was relaxed and I felt great.
The storms of life are part of life. I don’t think there’s anyone who hasn’t been through them. Having millions of pounds in the bank doesn’t guarantee you a life without problems. Some of the richest people have taken their lives because they were unhappy.
Being a single mother will take some adjusting and getting used to. After you’ve accepted that lifestyle, focus on raising your children with love. Give them all the attention and care they need. Most importantly, don’t forget that God is on your side. You can call on Him any time. He said if you seek Him with all your heart you’ll find Him. (Jeremiah 29:3)
How do you cope as a single mother? What strategies do you use? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments box below.