Dear Single Mama,
I’m sorry I never understood the load you carry. I get it now.
I see the heaviness you carry. I know you’re carrying far more than you ever thought, juggling way more than a person should. You’ve gotten used to it—being one in a world of two. You’ve grown accustomed to being good cop and bad cop, manning drop-off and pick-up, and cheering in the stands by yourself. The always-there, low-level stress is almost unnoticeable anymore.
I see your decision fatigue. They say an average adult makes 35,000 decisions every day but you’re not average. You’re single-handedly managing the finances, the parenting, the house, your work, the calendaring, the schooling, the sports, the check-ups, and melt-downs. You’ve got too many decisions to count or to catch your breath.
I see you doing hard things. Facing the unknown and facing your fear to keep moving forward. Figuring out a hundred things he used to do, stepping out to do it scared, and stepping up to make a childhood for your kids.
I see you bone-weary—up before your kids to start the day and working long after they’re in bed. Barely making a dent in that too-long, must-do list. Always behind and never enough time to do it like you used to, like your friends do, or like you want to.
Overwhelmed isn’t a season for single moms—it’s the rhythm of her days.
I see the tears you cry into your pillow. Your loneliness on evenings when the house quiets, using the scrolling and screens to make it bearable. I see you willing yourself to cheer the date nights and anniversaries of friends, to honestly applaud their full family snapshots on vacation and the father-daughter dances your own will never have again.
I see you struggling with the labels. Widowed. Divorced. Who knew a box on the form could define you? Or undefine you? Life and friends and invitations sure shuffle when the labels change.
I see the smile you give to others and the brave face you put on in mothering. I see you showing up for your kids and for this life you never expected. I see you working hard to rebuild your family and trying your level best to re-create that magical family life you had and desperately want again for your children.
Sometimes you make it look easy to everyone else.
Like you’ve embraced a new normal. But it doesn’t feel normal, no matter how you try to set new routines and traditions and rhythms.
And yet, you don’t really share it because who in the world could you share all of it with? You’re the only one who knows the full breadth of the hard, the loneliness, the overwhelm, the weariness, and the deep pain that this is not the life you wanted. This is not what you planned for your children.
I don’t have to know your details to know it’s the hardest path you’ve ever walked.
All those years I was married, I’d known single moms and I’d heard the stats about single moms. But I really had no idea. And I’m so sorry.
But I get it now—the struggles and wins, the regret of what was and fear of what lies ahead, the nagging feeling of failure and competing tendrils of hope that God’s got this.
I know you’ve had to grow a stronger spine than you ever thought possible. People call you brave. A testimony. But you never asked for this testimony.
And you don’t feel brave. You’ve simply walked forward feeling fragile.
I know single parenting has brought you to your knees. It was hard enough when there were two, but now you’re a student all over again begging God for wisdom and guidance and energy to parent these kids and point their hearts to Him.
Dear single mama, you are seen and you are loved.
God has so much for you. He is not a God of surviving or getting by. He is a God of abundance. God promises strength to the weary and generous wisdom when we ask.
He promises to take our burdens and to give us peace. To sustain us with His grace and multiply the less-than loaves of our parenting.
Where we see need, God makes provision. Where we sense lack, God brings fullness. Where we harbor regret, God pours forgiveness. And where we see ashes, God brings beauty.
Dear single mama, I’m so sorry for the circumstances that got you here. But God who calls you beloved goes with you and before you in each hard step.