I was a single parent and suddenly had a red skin rash. The doctor had a talk with me, “Your rashes are most likely caused by stress. What do you do to relieve stress?”
I thought about it a moment and said, “I took a group of seven cub scouts to a clean-up project last week. Ummm and then I helped chaperone the third grade class to the zoo. The fresh air was very relaxing, except the time a student was climbing in the bushes and I had to get him out of there.” The doctor just nodded her head as I spoke. I said, “I feel honored that the teacher trusts me with the most challenging students.”
The doctor just stared at me, blinking her eyes and said, “I see.”
Being a Single Parent isn’t Easy
My mind was racing with thoughts. Single parenting is difficult, but my relationship with God helps me to keep balance. “It’s all about how you look at life that makes it stressful or not. Don’t you think Dr. Brown?” I asked as if trying to convince myself.Single parenting is difficult, but my relationship with God helps me to keep balance. Click To Tweet
“I suppose you can look at it that way,” she said, but then she listed some suggestions of activities that would help me relieve stress.
I went home thinking about it. None of the suggestions seemed to fit my lifestyle. So I had to come up with my own stress reliever or I was sure I’d be destined for more skin rashes and insanity. I yelled to my boys, “Wrestling match in the living room!” I moved the coffee table, threw some cushions on the floor, and we had a Royal Rumble. Bonus: I won.
Life as a Single Parent
We continued a typical evening of dinner, homework, baths and free time. I find solace in comfortable routine. Before I chimed, “Family Bible time,” I gazed around the kitchen and the table. Cereal boxes and dirty bowls from nighttime snacks were there. Things were in disarray. The boys were poking and punching each other on the chair in the corner. Sometimes it seems endless, the constant work, but the joy of parenting my boys far outweighs the consequences of a rash or feeling tired.
I always try to read a Bible story to my children and pray with them before they go to bed. I want to end the day on a happy note. I know what you’re thinking. “How cute and how perfect that must be.”
Let me burst your bubble, it’s not.
For some reason the kids think the first ten minutes of our gathering is group therapy. They voice all of their little problems and place the blame on each other. Add that with a few rib pokes between three boys, and you have mayhem. In those instances, I ponder, “I’m telling them about the love of Jesus, is it okay if I discipline them right now?” Eventually they calm down and we have meaningful conversations-most of the time – well sometimes.
It’s Totally Worth It
After the story, we have prayers and hugs. Weary to the bone, but anticipating a cup of hot tea and my own quiet Bible time with Jesus, I leave the room. All the while, I’m thinking, “Will I ever get through to them? Will I ever teach them to love Jesus and others? Are they listening to a word I’m saying?”
It was just one of those times when my oldest son called to me, “Mom, just one more thing. Thank you for baking cookies for my friends when they were over. They really liked them. They said we have a cool family and I think so, too.”
I sighed and scratched the top of my head. All I see, everywhere I look, is imperfection. What do their friends see?
They see an imperfect family with faith in a perfect God.
God has given me a job to do and I will rear my sons as best as I can. All I can do is hope that even with all the mayhem, others can see that Jesus is the center of our lives and be drawn to Him.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”Ps.127:3