Enjoying Christmas As a Single Mom by Jennifer Maggio

Christmas is one of my favorite times of year. I love hot cocoa, Christmas decorations, Christmas music, snuggling under a blanket watching Christmas movies, egg nog, parties, and all the traditions that Christmas brings. I love seeing family and friends that I haven’t seen in a while. I love the reminder of childhood memories with aunts and cousins baking pies in the kitchen.

But, let’s be honest. Christmas can be one of the most difficult times of year for many, and especially for single parents.

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My first Christmas as a single mom is one of my saddest memories. My infant son and I spent the day alone. I was a brand new mom and I struggled to find my way. Could I even be a good mom? I often wondered. I stared at my baby most of the day, as I laid in bed and cried. The phone didn’t ring. No one knocked at my door. I couldn’t bear to cook a Christmas meal for just the two of us. And depression doesn’t even seem to be an adequate word to describe how sad I was that day. I almost yearned to go to work to interact with another adult.

I would love to say that was my only Christmas alone or Thanksgiving or Easter or Valentines. I spent many holidays as a single mom. And frankly, many of them were sad. I want to encourage all you single moms out there not to make the same mistake I did. Those holidays were often spent with me dwelling on the things I didn’t have. I was convinced everyone had a better life than me and I was angry. I wondered why my children had to suffer through not having two parents in their home. I was sad that I had little money to provide Christmas toys. I decidedly huddled under my covers and prayed the days away.

Here are the things I wish I would’ve done all those years ago:

1. Choose to focus on what God has given you. Maybe things didn’t turn out like you planned. Whose life ever does? God has blessed you beyond measure. Start with the cross. If God never did anything else for us, wouldn’t that be enough? Be He doesn’t stop there. He gives us our beautiful, amazing children, our jobs, residence, friends, health, family, church family, and a single mom sisterhood through The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. God is good, faithful, and provisional. Praise Him this season!

2. Choose to rejoice in the real reason for the season. Focus on Christ’s birth. Read the Christmas story to your kids, no matter their ages. Create traditions with them, such as baking cookies, make ornaments for a nursing home, serving at a soup kitchen. Decide to focus on the real meaning for the season through service to others and family traditions. It makes the holidays a far more special time.

3. Choose to focus on the freedom Christ has given you. May I be totally honest with you? Christ paid for my freedom oh so many years ago, but I refused to walk in it. You see, it was my choice to be bitter, unforgiving, and angry. It was my choice to play the victim and wonder why I had endured so much. It was only when I stopped speaking terrible things over my life and when I chose to move beyond my past that I embraced Christ’s freedom for my life. I chose life. I chose freedom. That’s when I truly learned to celebrate each holiday season and each day for that matter. My perspective in life shifted. Joy was then mine. It can be yours this day.


Jennifer Maggio
Jennifer Maggio is the happily married mother of three who has a passion for the single parent family. The founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and Overwhelmed: The Single Moms Magazine, Maggio spends many of her days praying for and counseling with single mothers nationwide. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com

 

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The Life of a Single Mom (TLSM) is a 501c3 nonprofit that exists to serve single parents and those who work with single parents. We are fully accredited through a variety of organizations that include high levels of financial accountability and awards for our premiere financial stewardship, including GuideStar, Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability, Great Nonprofits, Chamber of Commerce, LANO, and others. 

2016-10-17T16:11:46+00:00 December 9th, 2014|Uncategorized|6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. slfroese December 9, 2014 at 9:19 am - Reply

    I don’t mean to be mean, but it must be a lot easier to give encouragement to single parents now that you are married. I have few people that I can go to in my life when things are rough. I do everything alone. I see my kids 50-50 when I wish I saw them 100% of the time. It was not my choice, this life. Life has been hard since my husband left me for another woman. I miss my 3 kids terribly when they are with him. I get in to depressions a lot over and over again and have financial difficulties that I deal with alone. My parents are quite old and can’t understand anything. I just came out of a love relationship that I had to end and he took me to court to pay for painting he did to my place and later decided he wanted to pay for. He made a show of his control and later decided that once I agreed to pay him $735 that he would show his control and say that I didn’t have to pay after all. I am tired of the games people play. I am tired of the pain. I am tired of doing everything alone. I am tired of being in a career that I followed my ex-husband into. I am waiting on God and wondering where He is. Every year gets worse and worse for me and I want God to cut me a break. When I told my dad about my ex-boyfriend wanting me to pay him for the painting he did originally out of love, my dad ignored me and said nothing in my pain. About a month later he said he was giving me Christmas money of which I had to use to pay my ex-boyfriend off but because he said I didn’t have to pay, it is now stuck in my VISA and I can’t use it. I have to ask my ex-husband for more child support and need to soon look for work at a 2nd job since my full time job is not paying enough because I have 2 mortgages on my house for me and my 3 kids. I could not lose the house my grandma long ago gave me a down payment for after losing everything else I held dear in my life 4.5 years ago when my husband left me. I am angry all the time and wish my problems would just fix themselves since I am so tired of doing everything myself. My car is sounding like it is going to break down for good in the next few months and I need to find a better fulltime job where my boss isn’t so mean. If you could pray for me for real, I would appreciate it. The idea that some man could love me is so far fetched, I would rather not hope for a 3rd time. I would rather just live and have enough money to survive.

    • TLSMSTAFF December 9, 2014 at 10:12 am - Reply

      slfroese, thanks so much for stopping by the TLSM site. And thank you so much for your transparency and honesty in your difficult situation. Ms. Maggio started ministering to single moms when she was still a single mom. Her heart to serve single moms and start this global movement to use the wisdom God’s given her in that difficult journey to speak to moms in a way that would minister to their heart has been a blessing to so many. We have office prayer every week, and we have added you to our prayer list, so that we can specifically pray over your needs. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to do so. Also, I don’t know what area of the country you are in, but visit our Find a Group Tab on our site and see if you have a single moms ministry near you. We’d love to see you find some amazing single mommas, like you, that are overcoming challenges and you guys could be an encouragement to one another! Blessings to you this holiday season.

    • Lorraine December 9, 2014 at 6:00 pm - Reply

      We are NEVER alone and God will draw near to us as we draw near to him. My story is yours and then some…I CHOOSE to look to Jesus and rest in His peace and walk in His grace. I trust in God and our Savior our Lord Jesus Christ. I accept my part in things, we ALL have one. I am truly sorry for my parts. Jesus had made a way, He IS the Way! I CHOOSE to keep my eyes fixed on Christ and my heart open to be filled and my fists unclenched and open to receive. I hurt so deeply at times I believe it will overcome me completely and when I cast all those cares on our Lord He heals me, He carries me. The closer our walk becomes and the more we experience His LOVE and fullness…NOTHING else really matters. I’m not so sure I desire to fit in here and get a partner/friend/husband….Jesus meets all my needs and when I’m hurt He NEVER fails me. I do not know you BUT I LOVE YOU IN Christ. Pray for a closer walk, good company and trust our Lord for EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME. The Peace that surpasses ALL understanding will be yours. SHINE XOXOXO

    • ericiddg December 10, 2014 at 2:37 am - Reply

      Slfroese,
      I know things are hard for you now. Please know that you are not alone. Believe me, when I start telling people what is going on in my life, I often feel like I have to stop, because it feels like a soap opera, except I don’t know if anyone could think up this mess. You sound overwhelmed and sad and angry, and there is nothing wrong with feeling that way. It’s hard to think about your blessings when you are overwhelmed with challenges. I do try to write what I am grateful for, but some days, I’m just trying to make it through. I am lucky that I have amazing co-workers, but my job is not family friendly, and especially not for a single mom, though they are aware of my situation and have been extremely supportive, there are days when I just go into the bathroom and sob. I do understand feeling bitter and like it’s easy for everyone else to look at my life and tell me what to do. I’m far away from my family (we live near his family, who have been unhelpful to say the least), and though they can be verbally supportive when I call them, they don’t tend to check in on me, and they are dealing with their own issues. I found this website because I was looking for a book on single moms, or just some hope. I’m not officially single, but my unemployed disabled husband moved out 8 months ago and I’ve been carrying EVERYTHING by myself, and dealing with shattered dreams and devastatingly disappointing holidays, birthdays, watching other families enjoy their lives, and navigating paying for school for my daughter, which we were supposed to handle together. She loves this school, but I don’t think I can manage on my own, because the only way it was going to work was if he helped and picked her up, and even then it was going to be tight. Because my job schedule is so nuts, I’ve also had to pay a babysitter pick her up and watch her until I get off from work and weekends when I work, because he’s so debilitated he can’t help, so that’s more money I don’t have. And yet, I’m afraid to divorce. I need a support group, but because I’m not divorced, I feel like I would not be accepted in one. I feel completely undesirable and stressed, and honestly, I’m not giving my best to my kid. It doesn’t make me feel good about myself that I would put up with this and be in limbo, but I don’t have the courage to move forward. I will pray for you for real, and I hope you will pray for me.

      Dear God, please bless slfroese. Give her some peace, reassurance, and let her feel your hand on her life. Help her to know that she is loved and that there is hope. If challenges come to make us stronger, help slfroese to enjoy a better life than she could have ever thought possible before she experienced these challenges. Take care of yourself and God Bless.

      • ericiddg December 10, 2014 at 2:56 am - Reply

        I re-read what I wrote, and I don’t want you to think I’m being whiny and spoiled about not sending my kid to a particular school (though I probably am). It’s just that I had so many people prejudge my kid and tell me what she couldn’t do and here she is celebrated for who she is, and is succeeding. Though my friends tell me she will be fine, I just don’t want to give her one more disappointment. She’s been so amazing, even with me having to say no all the time and her father not being around. I would love to be able to provide for her the way my parents provided for me, and I can’t. I’m scraping by each month – somehow God always gets me through, but the stress is incredible. My father has always lived by the saying God will provide, and I keep telling myself that.

    • T. Jones December 18, 2014 at 10:14 am - Reply

      slfroese,

      I am really sorry that life for you is not joyous and happy. I know all to well how you are feeling. In August of last year my husband abandoned me and 5 children (two from my previous marriage). For the last six years I have been a stay at home mom and had no means of support except government assistance and I felt used, abused and worthless.

      I had been hurting in my marriage for a long time but was still DEVASTATED that he had walked away in adultery.

      I was so broken and I totally trusted God with my brokenness. I sought relief from the local church just for emotional support. I didn’t want well meaning friends and family giving me their opinions, I needed the word of God to settle and comfort me in my brokenness. There were days I could not keep it together and I would pull into a church parking lot, any church that was near because I was looking for God in his people, and the doors were locked. I saw cars and I saw at times people coming and going but there was no help for my soul that was deeply wounded. But I knew God could be trusted with my pain. I began to cry out to Him and Him alone. In my closet, in my bathroom, pulling on side the road in my car, in the grocery store, in Staples. I tried so hard to hold it together in front of my kids and especially in public but sometimes it just didn’t happen that way.

      I slowly began to regain a since of peace and calm about the reality of my life as a single mom and single woman the more I purged my heart of the pain. I wanted relief from the suffering that I had far too long endured in the marriage but I wasn’t thinking it would come the way it did. I then began to realize that my cries to God for change and deliverance from the mishandling of my heart because my husband had first turned his back on God, had been heard. I now, after being 16 months in this process feel soooo excited about life again. God has given me glimpses of my future in dreams and impressions in my spirit and I know it’s because I trusted Him to do what I couldn’t do for myself, especially when it was difficult.

      I choose by an act of my will to forgive my husband (he has now sought an attorney to dissolve the marriage) for every transgression because God says I should and because I know it is better for me emotionally to let go of everything that would hinder my forward progress. I have learned that it’s okay to set boundaries with him and others so that I protect my heart from further hurt. God truly has been close to my broken hurt. The more I decided to walk away from anything that didn’t bring peace the more I could trust him.

      Please trust God with every difficult place from this point forward, even the difficult place of being a single ‘woman’. God is concerned about your emotional needs and desire for companionship. Don’t just give your heart to any man. I have said the same words of not wanting to be married “3” times but more than that giving my heart to a man that has given his to God brings comfort to the idea that if it should happen it would be a blessing.

      You are not alone. There are many others, just like US. I encouraged you to trust God like never before in every area of your life, never settle for right now because the end that God promises us is greater than we could ever imagine. Remain prayerful and hopeful. God never fails!

      Bless you and your children. We are going to make it 😉

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