This is Not a Fairy Tale

I am a single mother, and I have several single mother friends. We are an exhausted bunch.

No matter how weary we are, we get out of bed every day and go to work. Many of us have multiple jobs. In addition to working any combination of full-time and part-time jobs, we have plenty to do at home. We grocery shop, we cook, we clean, we unclog sinks, we take out the trash, we do the laundry and change the light bulbs. We pack lunches, check homework, and drive back and forth to school, soccer games, and drama club. In our homes, we are mom and dad, queen of the castle and the man of the house. We wear many hats, and it is empowering yet draining.

Some of us have family nearby to assist; some don’t. Some of us are fortunate enough to have alimony or child support to help with the bills; some aren’t. Some of us make time for dating, in the midst of all of this chaos, because we want strong arms to hold us at the end of these long days; some of us have given up on those dreams. Some of us have faith in God that sustains and refreshes us; some of us feel that if there were a God, our lives would have turned out much differently.

Most of us are wounded. Some of us carry that bitterness around like a backpack filled with bricks. Some of us have scars so deep that we can’t imagine that we’ll ever heal. Some of us have suffered through such dysfunctional relationships and traumas that we’re not sure we’d be capable of a healthy relationship even if we managed to find one.

Some of us believe that our life has a higher purpose, and we should strive to find it and fulfill it. Some of us don’t have the luxury of thinking about self-improvement; the effort it takes just to keep our children fed and sheltered is all that we can manage. Survival trumps aspiration.

What we have in common is this: the courage to persevere. A fierce love for our children. Enough self-respect to decide that we’d rather work multiple jobs, if necessary, than live with a man who does not deserve us.

We may not have husbands or piles of money in the bank, but we have each other.  Life may not be simple, but there are moments of triumph, like the first time we kill a huge spider or assemble a piece of furniture all by ourselves. Every month, when we pay the bills and have money left over for food, we are thankful. When you have to work so hard for everything that you have, you don’t take any of it for granted. We may be discouraged, but we are determined, and therefore we are not defeated. And as long as we keep going, there is the hope that tomorrow might be easier than today.

Discussion questions:

Are you a struggling single mother? How are you handling it? Do you know a struggling single mother, and if so, what can you do to help?

This is my bathroom sink. It doesn’t look impressive, but if you could have seen it before I unclogged it, you’d be impressed.

This is my bathroom sink. It doesn’t look impressive, but if you could have seen it before I unclogged it, you’d be impressed.

Amanda RoweComment