by Heather Green
When you become a parent, your time is no longer your own. When you have a baby, your schedule revolves around the baby eating and sleeping. If you also have to work, this is exhausting, but as children get older, there is even less “you” time as kids want to be involved in different activities, have play-dates, and need help with homework and school projects. Finding a balance between work, church, and family has always been a juggling act and this can be especially challenging for a single parent.
Single parents are not a widely recognized group within the church, where we tend to assume that everyone with children is married, but single parents within the church are there. Maybe one parent has to raise the children while a spouse is deployed; maybe the parents are married but one parent is “detached” from the children or disinterested in interacting or helping with any of the responsibilities that come with raising a child; maybe one parent has passed away; or maybe the parents are divorced. The single parent could be the mother or father you see sitting alone in church on Sunday, looking for a few minutes of quiet reflection and worship while their children are in Sunday School. Maybe it’s the parent who brings their child to Confirmation class and just enjoys a little time when they can relax. Maybe it’s the parent who wants to volunteer more at Church but is hesitant because they don’t know what their children’s schedules will be.
We are so quick to judge each other and the Internet, with the Pinterest perfect parents, is enough to make anyone feel inferior, but especially single parents. Every parent wonders if they are doing enough and doing right by their children, but single parents have the added bonus of guilt…”Maybe “I” could have done something different”… “Am “I” enough?”… “I didn’t plan to raise my children alone.”
Guess what? You are not alone. We see you. God knows your struggles and your fears: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” -Isaiah 41:10. You are doing an awesome job. To your children and to God, you are enough.