Some days are just harder than others. We all have had those difficult days, weeks, months or even years. But many of us have a spouse or loved one who helps carry us through those tough times. Recently I had a tough day and my husband was sick so he couldn’t give me moral support or help. That night as I was struggling to get my kids ready for bed I thought how hard it must be to parent alone.
According to the US Census Bureau in 2013 of 17 million single parent families, 80% are single moms. 1 and 4 kids under 18 won’t grow up with their biological dad. Single moms struggle financially with more than 50% living in poverty and many close to it. Not only are there financial burdens of raising kids, but I don’t think we can even imagine the stress of a raising kids on our own. Every diaper is yours, every bath time, teeth brushing, laundry doing, grocery shopping, homework checking, and so on. And not to mention cooking and cleaning.
Where I live there are many moms who aren’t single but have husbands that are deployed out of the country. They become single moms again. And then there are moms whose husbands work out of town for most of the week, or do contract work out of state.
Why do I bring all of this up? Before the holidays hit I just want us to think about someone we know or know of that does parenting mostly by themselves. Could they use some help? You may not have the financial means to help them, but could you help in other ways? If they are self employed could you refer some business to them, could you offer to clean their house, do they need someone to do some shopping for them?
This time of year also comes with a lot of charitable donations. It can be sometimes annoying with the constant clanging bells, but remember Christmas is just the beginning of a season that can be very dark and difficult for single parents. Higher utility bills, cost of holidays, babysitters etc. can really overwhelm a single parent. Giving to a charity that helps the poor will probably help a single parent too. Taking $25 out of your Christmas budget or maybe even $250 to let someone else enjoy the holiday may be the true sense of Christmas.
In the Bible, God commands us to take care of the orphans and widows, in today’s day and age I believe the same command can go for single parents. Reach out and give a single parent a hand.
God will give you a thumbs up for it and you may never know how much that parent may need your help.
Mary Starr Carter
the Total Wellness Doc and Mom