3 Things That Can Take Single Parents from Surviving to Thriving
Blogger, speaker, and mentor, Annie Quinnell, shares advice that can help single parents go from surviving to thriving.
If you’re anything like me, being a solo parent wasn’t part of the plan. But there I was: angry, sad, and overwhelmed by my new circumstances. Being a solo parent is becoming more of a cultural norm, and yet those of us that wear that title may still be hauling around shame and guilt that can weigh on our souls.
Of the approximately 12 million single parents with children under the age of 18 in the United States today, more than 10 million are single mothers, according to the 2017 U.S. Census Bureau. This is three times the number in 1960. Not only is this situation not going away, it’s getting worse. Of those moms with custodial agreements only forty-five percent received all of the support due.
The financial struggle can tip the scale for a solo parent. Their God-given responsibility to nurture and care for their children can begin to feel like burden, and the often have to work tirelessly to make ends meet. They are the head of the home, the one disciplining and carrying out consequences and being their children’s biggest cheerleader. It’s an exhausting task for one person.
We were made to live in worshipful dependence upon God and in loving interdependence with others.
Walking through this journey for a some time now, I have a learned a few important things that have helped me thrive and not just survive as a single parent:
Find Your People
I found that having a community of other single parents that could support me was of great value. When my daughter was a student at CCA it seemed like half the students in her 5th grade class were from single-parent homes. Class trips and school events provided opportunities to get to know other women and discover they were in similar situations as myself. We quickly bonded and if it weren’t for those other parents, I could not have been able to get through it. I lived 10 miles from the school and worked 10 miles in a different direction. So the days I worked, other parents actually took my daughter home for me, sometimes feeding her dinner and helping with homework because I worked late hours.
Ask For Help
The Bible is clear that we were made for community, starting right in the garden with Adam. Genesis 2:18 says, “It is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him a helper fit for him.” Humans are to be in community with God first and then others. We weren’t created to be independent, autonomous, or self-sufficient. We were made to live in worshipful dependence upon God and in loving interdependence with others. This was a humbling practice for me as a solo mom. While I was comfortable unloading my burdens on God, letting others know I needed help was difficult. Yet, this is what we are to do. If I hadn’t shared my needs with friends, family, and parents at CCA, I wouldn’t have received the level of support that I did.
It’s true that time can be hard to come by when you’re a solo parent. So serving others may sound like too much to ask, but the truth is serving others has benefits that are better than money in the bank. It takes the focus off of our own problems when you meet the needs of others. It releases the feel good chemicals in our brains. And most importantly, you are showing your kids that no matter your circumstances you can always give of yourself to further the kingdom of God. I volunteered in Calvary Kids at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale when my kids were young. This way I was in the same vicinity as them and they could see what I was doing. When they got older, I felt called to serve in the Benevolence Ministry where I would sit and counsel solo moms much like myself. It was very rewarding to be able give them the hope of the Gospel so they too could be set free. In Matthew 20:28 it says, “the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.” It is in the serving that you are truly blessed.
The keys to thriving as a solo parent is finding community, support, and serving. I will be leading a class starting January 12 at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale at 6:30pm called Solo Parent Renewing that will dig deep into some core topics that plague the solo parent’s soul and provide opportunities to connect with other parents. The class will meet in room #34001 in the Discipleship Building. God makes all things new and it is my hope that this class will renew their soul so they can thrive, not just survive as a solo parent.
Annie Quinnell is a mother, hairstylist, speaker, and blogger at TheMamaMentor.com. She is enjoying being a "Mimi" to her three precious grandchildren, and pouring into the hearts of solo mamas everywhere.