Time is fleeting, especially for single parents – and their kids. Single moms and dads work both ends against the middle with time and money in a valiant effort to give their children more than they can truly provide alone. In fact, if you break it down, this effort causes a certain amount of self-neglect. Many single parents go without self-care:
- Physically: Healthy Nutrition/Vitamins, Exercise, and Rest
- Spiritually: Quality Time with God, Family, and Friends
- Mentally: Education and Empowerment
For those of us who are single moms and dads, or who are passionate about helping single parent families, it is so important to remember and OVERCOME this.
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day present a perfect opportunity for single families to enjoy the gift of time together. If you are an employer of a single parent, or a neighbor, or family member, or even a minister, you can give the gift quality time with family, or time for rest – or better yet BOTH!
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day also present a perfect opportunity for Empowerment. Both parents and children often need help in “gifting” in a single family. It can be awkward to help your own child recognize you when you are parenting alone. Kids need to be empowered with ways to express their love and gratitude to their parents. Parents themselves often feel undeserving, or as if they are broken. I really think it is important to acknowledge that being a single family is ok. It may not be what was planned – but it does not mean that single families are broken. There are many paths to single parenthood and it is time to acknowledge that Single Families are not necessarily “broken”. Recognizing single parents by collecting and providing cards and/or restaurant gift cards, movie passes, or other ways for the families to get together is a great way to engage the community to support families who can be very low and feeling incomplete – or worse yet, inadequate.
In order to empower single families during this time, Single Parent Advocate hosts a Mother’s Day Banquet and provides empowering speakers to help remind single moms of how precious and full of promise and potential they are. We also provide crafts for the kids to make and carnations to give. It is always a special time for all of us.
For Father’s Day, in the past Single Parent Advocate has hosted BBQ/picnics and provided sponsor donated raffle prizes that include tickets to local sports events, movies, and other activities that fathers can enjoy with their kids. We have also hosted self-defense workshops and honored fathers at a benefit concert with certificates of recognition and thanks. Dads are tough to get out and be a part of these things – but it is so important. If you are single dad, please plug into a local single family group
If you are a single mom or a single dad and you are reading this, I have a few quotes to share with you (see below). I want you to know you are not broken, and you are worth more than gold to the Father in Heaven who will never leave you or forsake you. He is a Father to the Fatherless and a Husband to the Widow. You are not alone! Please give yourself an honest break alongside your children, and your single family friends – enjoy the gift of time this year. Quality time to rest, play, pray and recharge inside and out as individuals and as a family or community. Remember you are irreplaceable and invaluable in the lives of your family.
Often single parents ask me about “being mother and father”. I really don’t follow that mentality. I always looked at God as my spouse in our household during my time as a single mom. That is His promise and His place in a single family. So, even though my son’s father was absent, there was rarely (if ever) a spirit of grief or resentment there – because God made a way. He always filled our hearts and hopes, and He always made a way.
Ok, so here are some words of wisdom from others who inspire me – I hope you will write these on your heart, post them on your fridge, and teach them to your children. Guard your comings and goings with thanksgiving, hope, patience, grace, and above all else – love.
“Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing…” Psalm 68:4–6
Happy Mother’s and Father’s Days Everyone!
Stacie Poythress is a passionate leader whose personal journey through divorce and unemployment as a single mom drove her to serve families facing the same challenges. She began a Single Parent group in her own church. In 2010, she used her corporate and personal experience, amid her own fears and tears, to establish Single Parent Advocate. Stacie has since re-married and together, she and her husband, Steve; alongside their team, push forward to bridge the gap for single parents and their children. For more information, visit https://www.singleparentadvocate.org/
The Life of a Single Mom is a national, faith-based, nonprofit that exists to see that no single mom walks alone. To date, we have worked with more than 1,500 churches & community groups to start or improve a single mom’s support group in cities throughout the U.S. and beyond. We have a large array of books, curriculum, training materials, and online instructional videos to support ministry leaders who lead single moms. Our single mom programs focus on empowering single moms to grow spiritually, emotionally, financially, and parentally through a number of projects including: Single Mom University, Single Moms Across America, the National TLSM Single Moms Conference, and a variety of programs throughout the U.S. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com