Monday, December 6, 2010

Single Mom Syndrome

Have you ever noticed that the term "single mother" has now become almost synonymous with the word, "hero"?  I talk to a lot of different women every week and have seen that label thrown out on the table like an ace of spades, proving a point about how tough their life is.  It's as if to say, "You can't say ANYTHING against me now!"

I'm sure it's tough.  Kids weren't meant to be raised alone, and a job that's hard enough for two parents is of course doubly hard for one struggling alone.  But I have come to know my share of women who will keep a messy, unkempt house, feed their children fatty processed foods, and find ways to go out partying on the weekends who freely use that label with pride.  Not quite my perception of a hero.

We could be talking about something totally unrelated:

"So have you been praying every day about that new job that you're hoping for?"  I might ask.
"Well, I'm a single mother, I don't have time to just take out and pray like other women."  ("Other women" spoken as if she were spitting darts...)

"Will I see you this Sunday morning for the special anointing of the family?"
"I don't know, my son's team is playing that afternoon and it's hard to get everyone organized to go to both church and the game on the same day. I'm a single mom you know..."
Yes, I know, you told me last time...

Curious, isn't it, that women have fought so hard for sexual freedom, to remove the stigma of having children out of wedlock, to be unhindered in changing from partner to partner, to end up as single mothers as a result,  and then demand to be set on a pedestal?

Yes, there are the widows, and the divorced women who really gave it their best and tried to keep their marriage together but ended up alone.  I wouldn't think of lumping all single mothers into one category, just like I would never imagine that their life was easy.  But I've noticed that women who want to be viewed as saints only by virtue of the fact that they have children and no spouse, are becoming more commonplace, causing me to have less pity on anyone who tries to impress me by flashing that trump card.

Life is tough in general, and for those who have faith, God gives grace and opens doors that we can't for ourselves.

So you're a single mother?  I'm a married one - one more mouth to feed, clothes to clean and voice to listen to.  I have to submit and follow and I've had to learn to adjust to the personality and gender differences that come with marriage and I've done it for over two decades.  It would be ridiculous for me to go around boasting about how I'm a "married mother," but I suppose if you sit down and think about all the pluses and minuses of anyone's life, you could come up with a "hero" anywhere you look if you tried hard enough.

My guess is that many of these young women keep their label well displayed because they are unhappy and would like something - anything, to make them feel better about themselves.  And with God, that unhappiness can definitely be changed and their lives transformed.  But first, can't we just throw away the labels?

36 comments:

Don Jones said...

Really good observations, Evelyn. I am for recognizing all the heroes, but I doubt that will adequately be done until it is done at the throne of God when we get God's evaluation.

Laura said...

Mrs. Evelyn,

What a great point you made. Many women feel proud to be single mothers, convinving themselves that they have the toughest job in the world. I couldn't disagree more. I am American and married a Mexican. During our three and a half years together, I've learned how to be submissive, how not to fight and always have the last word, how to make God first, then my husband, then my daughter, how to sacrifice my desires to please God and my husband...let me tell you...being married and having a child is the toughest job of all! If I were to separate from my husband, I would have the easiest job ever because instead of focusing on him, I could focus on myself. I love being married and taking care of my family because it makes me a stronger, more virtuous woman!

jace said...
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natalie mdonga said...

mrs evelyn
i ahve a single mother and it is true that many single moms thing the world of themelves for raising children on there own. yet they allow this same strength to be an excuse for many things that they will not man up to and yes we all face problems and have many responsiblities but now i know that any excuse is not good at all. all i have to do it do my all .
thank you

Edith said...

I agree, sometimes they get me a bit frustrated when they believe being a Single mom to be amazing and well that it's better that way, but in reality they can still feel the absence of a partner. Sometimes I don't even feel so bad for the mom, but more for the children, they suffer more than the mom may imagine. =/

Aurore Desvarieux said...

I've never seen this like this point of vew, but it's so so right... Sometimes, we make so much things to be watched like somebody who's strong, but in fact we just need to be watched by God : He knows who we really are.

Marcia Quijada said...

My single mother has become better and better throughout the years. Even before she met the UCKG, she was already a very responsible mother. But now, she has learned to give all of her love for me, her patience, her effort, she gives her life for me pretty much. When I noticed these changes, and when I met God, I promised that she would be my only best friend that I can trust. I also promised to take care of her NOW, and not just when she becomes an elderly.

Marcia Quijada said...

My single mother has become better and better throughout the years. Even before she met the UCKG, she was already a very responsible mother. But now, she has learned to give all of her love for me, her patience, her effort, she gives her life for me pretty much. When I noticed these changes, and when I met God, I promised that she would be my only best friend that I can trust. I also promised to take care of her NOW, and not just when she becomes an elderly.

léia said...

This is true, because they feel frustrated and a very difficult situation, which caused more than she has to fight and win for the future of your child and count with the help of God to overcome the problems. Thanks for sharing

Maritza Barr said...

What a clear point you've made Mrs. Evelyn. Never really stopped to link the two 'single mom' and 'too busy for God.' Your right often times they are admired and I realize that any single parent works harder. But, there has always been a way to get around certain responsibilities like making excuses why they can't do this and that. Being a single parent shouldn't be used as an excuse nor something to boast about.

Rebeca=) said...

I totally agree Mrs Evelyn. Many women do use it as a sort of justification for not being able to do more and although I totally understand that it's hard... because my mother was basically a single mother. Though not because she didn't give her all in her marriage. She did, she tried and tried but he didn't change so what could she do. So she raised me and my sister basically alone but wait! Our Father was God, when we found the church we went wednesday, friday's and sundays. I Mom came to desperately rely on God. I'm so happy she did. We all needed it... because when me and my sister didn't really want to leave our other church in the beginning there was no arguing with her. She was a force of nature. And I thank God for that. =) She was single for a while, yes. But then she married God. That's what single mother's now-a-days lack badly, so they can stop hiding behind a label. Thank you for the post.

Wiznelly said...

Sra. really strong!! i understand it may not be easy for a ouple of days but its getting better we should devote our life into working hard to avhieve the good things, achieve succes! ;-) thank you xo,, (Wiznelly Suazo Alto Manhattan New York)

Cindy Flores_Manila said...

I agree Mrs. Evelyn, single mom will only be called "Hero" if and only if they are doing the right thing. and caring her family with all love and is full dependant of the Lord.

I think one example of single mom hero is the poor Widow who gave the best offering more than anybody else as stated in the bible.

God bless.

^_^
Cindy from Manila

Gemma Leon UK said...

Hahahaha! I think that anyone that tries to force recognition or gain respect in this way (or because of anything else for that matter) needs to spend more time finding the source of their happiness. There are many labels out there and people sometime like to hold them up like trophies. Being a single mother is undoubtedly a tough job but the truth is there will always be someone with a tougher lot in life... so why display it like the world owes you something? Besides, honour comes from God!

Lillian said...

Unfortunately, it's true that many of the women we come across use the "I'm a single mother" phrase as something to be applauded for, and while it's true that it may be hard to raise a child alone, it shouldn't be an excuse as to why they can't take God seriously, go to church regularly and find time to pray. If anything, the fact that they are single mothers should be a motivation to seek God's help - unless they want to struggle forever... great blog Mrs. Evelyn!

missleon said...

This is a very true article Mrs Evelyn, and one that many people should read. Not just single mums, but others too. Reading this article made me think about how many times we try to give ourselves a label to excuse our shortcomings. We are often quick to victimise ourselves when we have been dealt a harsh hand at some point in life. We have all done it! However, the Spirit of God is not like that. He gives us an attitude that will drive us forward, aiming to be the best and to exceed expectations. A person with spirit wants to show herself, her God and others that despite her misfortunes, she can and will come out on top with whatever she does.

Ligia said...

It's amazing how every yesr that passes, there are more and more changes to the generations, like back then it was humiliating for a woman to be a single mom and be proud of it, woman would hide it from perople, where now society accepts it as normal and many are proud of it because they feel they deserve extra attention and others it was out of their control and being a single mom has allowed them to uncover life in a different aspect,, But one thing for sure i agree with it is god can defentely change that unhappiness to a whole another level to fully complete that woman!!

Andisiwe Mfenguza said...

Hi Mrs Cris

My mother is single but she falls in the widowed group, and she is a real hero in my life, but it is sad to see today many single mothers out there who make an excuse for everything by saying IM A SINGLE MOM, and only to realise that they are in that situation because they chose to be and yet they still want pity.

Kalema Reece-White said...

Mrs Evelyn, until you pointed this out, I actually didn't realise how commonplace it had become.

Its true that many people use this as a defence for them not doing the things that they are supposed to.

My mom was a single parent, but she never once used this as an excuse, in fact it made her work much harder to better herself so that she could provide a better life for me.

At the end of the day we are "unprofitable servants" doing what we are supposed to do. So if we are a mom, then we should do this to the best of our ability, whether we have a partner or not.

Thanks for a thought provoking post.

Yuliana said...

Mrs. Evelyn, we see this all the time. The moment,"single mom," comes up we try to sympathize with them and all that they must be going through. But if single mothers were to rely on God, what a difference it would make in their children and in their lives.

Sibon said...

I agree it is not good to label yourselves as you will then start to believe you are not able to do beyond the title you have given yourself. I have a few friends who are single mothers and from what I see it is not easy. Some of them have become accomodated with their status as a single mothe and use that as an excuse why they can't do A B or C, whereas others have not allowed that to stop them from working, taking care of the house and kids, cooking and coming to church.

It all depends on the attitude of the individual. If they want to make time for God, themselves, their kids, work and other things, they will make a way, I believe.

Camilla Magalhaes said...

Hi Mrs. Evelyn,

My mother was a single mother, a very young one. I was basically raised by relatives because she was either working or out enjoying her youth to the fullest. However, when things got tough she would always blame my father, that he wasn't there to help her and that it was tough being a single mother. I mean, it is not be easy in financial terms, but there is a lot she could have done in regards to just being there for us when we so desperately needed a mother figure being that we did not have the father figure already. That's how many single moms behave nowadays, some of them don't realize that they have a great responsibility of a life that depends on them, they mess up ignoring that fact and still expect to be acknowledged a a hero!

Sandra Ulume said...

Mrs Evelyn
You make such a good point. Sometimes you can't even advice the person properly because they constantly throw the 'single mother card' at you constantly you don't even have a way to get a word in.
However as you mention when we throw away that card we can see something good at the end of the tunnel ;-)

suLmaaa said...

I think we always tend to find excuses as to why we can't do somethings. This is really good information to know when couseling single moms.

Dania said...

Mrs. Evelyn you couldn't have said it better. I knew a woman who suffer of the, "Single Mom Syndrome". Sometimes I would ask myself why she would complain so much about having to do it all by herself. I would tell myself she ask for it, so why does she want others to feel sorry for her. She the one that decide to be a single mother. After reading this blog my questions have been answer Thak ou

Raquel Parras said...

It is usually true when we tend to make excuses is that we show that we could do more and we do not. Our spirit has to go against all victimhood or any excuses...***

Maura Carolina Olivera said...

I agree. Indeed. I specially consider "plain truth" the part of women gaining "freedom" and not wanting to face any kind of consequences, neither good nor bad. We wanted and we got it - kind of- , but we dont use what we got for a really useful purpose, I think.
And I used to be a kind of feministic (is that ok? In Spanish would be feminista - a fighter for the women´s right to be equal to men) girl...

Bianca Lima said...

It's true many times in life we find excuses to things we can't or do not want to do.
Like Sulma said its great information for counseling.
Thanks for sharing Mrs.E

s.hamy_ said...

There are many things that we don't do while we can do it. We always find an excuse for it. This message will help other people who is in such a situation. Very strong!

Sabrina Durant said...

Its so true this stigma about single mothers. As I am one myself, I hate when I hear other single parents saying that they cannot do certain things anymore because its hard and they're are single. Of course its hard but in most cases you learn to take responsibility. I believe you can still achieve the things that you want in life if you put your mind to it. Even though it might be a little harder or take a little longer. You can do it, without feeling sorry for yourself.Of course when you have God by your side, He gives you the strength to do it all.

Triana ! said...

I also have a mom who is single and .. now a days its something .. normal you see many women who have kids but not a spouse and you dont think anything about it because its so well NOrmal. But that only if they really knew God their life would change and wouldnt have to make excuse about anything not even about life..Thanyou

Marsha said...

A lot of single mothers don't realize the importancy of sharing the responsibility of a child that was concieved by a male and a female, raising a child alone does not make one stronger but it adds insecurities,fear, lack of trust,low self esteem and withdrawal. To the child and the mother, speaking from my own experience as a child growing up.

Anonymous said...

I understand your point view and agree being a single mom should not be used as an excuse. But as a married woman there is benefits that you have that a single mom doesn't. I have both been married and now single, I can tell you that both has it's benefits. However, a single mom has a far greater burden to carry because she is has to be everything to everyone. I also know that is a less than loving attitude that the church has for the single mom that has to change. Some studies say that there are 10 million single moms in our country and 67% of them don't go to church. The reason is that they feel judged and condemned due to being single. I personally believe that a single mom relationship with Christ is vital without one she cannot properly direct and guide her household. I think and known once a single mom realizes that having a true relationship with Christ she won't be so quick to say I can't pray. I don't want any one feeling sorry for me because my life is full but I believe the church has a responsibility and a mandate to care for the single mom and her children.

Anonymous said...

I love the commentary. However, the difficulty that I am having is the fact that my wife of nearly 6 years is still having problems adjusting to being married. Although, we have a son together, she views him as HER son & not OUR son. All I know to do is to continue to pray and hope that one day God will help her grow out of the "single mom" stage of her life.

- Prayerful Husband & Father

Deborah said...

Dear Evelyn,

I think John 8:7 is a relevant quote for this topic on so many levels:
And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

In short: DON'T JUDGE OTHERS. I'm sure you're as aware as I am there are zillion excerpts from the bible that reiterate that. You yourself said only God can judge if they are heros. So why are you judging them for not showing up to church? And by the way, listing off all the reasons why you feel like you might be more of a hero makes you NO BETTER THAN THEM. In fact, it might make you WORSE - pretty sure God frowns upon charlatans and piousness.

I am the daughter of a single mother who FORCED me to go to church until I was old enough to rebel and come to hate all things proselytization. I am shocked and offended you're judging not just a few single moms you seem to know, but single moms as a whole category!

Also, CLUBS? Did you really just say that you know/have heard of/associate with single moms hitting up clubs?!! One of a few things is happening here (or some combination): 1. You're taking a girlfriend's 30th birthday and 1 night out away from her kids COMPLETELY out of context. or 2. You socialize with some seriously broken folks and instead of offering help, you're judging her on the internet or 3. You've seen too much 16 and Pregnant. Turn off MTV!

And just as a side note, how do you think these single mom friends of yours would feel if they knew you thought this way about them? Maybe there's a reason they don't want to come to church with you. Your judgment is thinly veiled.

And on a more personal note, my mother left an angry hateful marriage and saved me from a lot of hostility in the household down the road, so not only do I applaud her, but she also BEGGED me to go to church. She tried everything. So before you roll your eyes when she's telling you a sports game and church won't happen in the same day, think for a minute (you probably aren't the best of friends considering you wrote this essentially about her), that she may not be giving you the whole story of what's going on in her life. Maybe she's too embarrassed to admit to you that she's dealing with a lot more than just soccer practice.

Also, I'm sure you've read it cover-to-cover, but I just wanted to share one of my favorite parts that you seem to have missed:
Ephesians 4:2
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Best,
Deborah