Mother’s Day. I see and feel the buzz around me. Hallmark and retail stores are working overtime promoting card and gift sales. Signs and memories are everywhere to celebrate mother and shower her with love, gifts and gratitude. I appreciate the encouragement and “help” in recognizing my mother, but I also have a burning desire to nurture mothers beyond my own.
I recognize and honor single mothers on Mother’s Day
I see you. And I want others to do the same.
I know the single mother role is incredibly difficult. Single mothers have responsibilities that should be shared. Some single mothers have a majority (if not all) responsibility for raising children. Depending on the circumstances, the obstacles and challenges can exceed the limits of human limitation. Indeed, a single mother can plunge a woman into crisis.
Nobody aspires to be a single mother. As a friend of my single mother says: “I didn’t sign up for it”. I Agree. I was led into this “market” almost 4 years ago when my 16 year marriage ended. The change in status gave me an unexpected education and insight into this growing population. It’s crazy how many of us there are!
My heart goes out especially to single mothers who have been single again because of their behavior (drugs, alcohol, addiction, sexual escapades). I know you tried your best to contain the problems until they broke the dam and ran out …. all over. It’s a humbling, harrowing, disorienting, and traumatic experience. As a result there is a search for answers, healing and a new normal.
I meet woman for woman who lives this experience. We find each other somehow. I wish I could put up a memory wall and fill it with the names of all the lovely single mothers I know. Like soldiers, they went through a battle and fought valiantly for health, happiness, light, life, truth, security, peace and recovery for themselves and their children.
If you know a single mom, you will love her. Be gentle with her. In fact, here are 7 practical things you can do for a single mother on Mother’s Day:
1. Ask about their story, listen, and be compassionate. Make her cry and be a shoulder to lean on. She’s been through a lot. She likely continues to face challenges with her ex, employment, children, housekeeping, etc. She has to deal with others, grieve, and gain strength.
2. Through your actions, show her that you are there for her. Instead of saying, “Call me if you need anything,” tell her you’re bringing dinner to mow her garden or help with dropping out / pickups.
3. Do something for their children. If you love their children, you love them too. Consider offering homework help, tutoring, or mentoring on a regular basis. If she has sons and you are male, somehow adopt her. These guys need you. Single mothers need men to fill the void when the ex-husband isn’t around.
4th Send her to the spa. Or even better, a weekend break. Single mothers need a grace period and recovery time to refuel. If the ex is not visiting and her family is not there to help, all the more they need others to provide that kind of support.
5. Fund therapy. Single mothers experience persistent grief and loss. Your children too. Good therapy is expensive and many single mothers cannot afford it. How great would it be to sponsor a single mother and her children so they can have family therapy for many months or even a year?
6th Don’t judge them. She does the best she can. When tempted to judge, I encourage you to get curious, listen, and instead be compassionate. Offer help instead of judgment. You really have no idea what she’s going through unless you live it or are with her day in and day out.
7th Help her found her villagers. Single mothers need a village. If you live nearby and want her to call you if necessary, let her know. She needs people she can call at any time for support and ease the burden. Sometimes she has to share her needs with a group and ask for help. She won’t do that unless she knows that you want to be there for her in every way.
Single mothers, your courage, bravery and strength are beautiful. Really, you surprise me. May others see your brilliance on this Sunday and honor you in every way. Happy Mother’s Day.
Gina Kaye, M.Ed.
National Outreach Director, Sabino Recovery
Sabino Recovery is an inpatient treatment center for trauma and addiction. Gina is excited about helping others on their way to recovery. Gina is trained in public health and prevention models and holds a Masters in Health Education from the University of Texas. She has a unique calling as a spokesperson and educator who raises awareness of the public health crisis of internet pornography, the realities of sex addiction, and the experience of treason trauma. Gina lives in Austin, TX where she is raising four children and enjoying the best that Austin has to offer. She is associated with and works with other like-minded individuals and organizations who struggle for recovery, health, and healing.
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