Overcoming Shame

Some people view single moms in a negative manner; all they can see is the struggle. At times we can even be our worst critics, blaming ourselves for being in the situation, being a single mom.  Oftentimes we allow ourselves to be consumed by the negative thoughts others have about us as single moms.  It’s time we overcome the shame of being a single mom, for we are so much more than this.

What are some of the automatic thoughts others may have about single moms that put us to shame? People may assume “she’s broke and can’t take care of her kids.” Maybe “she never has time for her kids and their always taken care of by the grandmother.”  Some may think, “Her child’s father must not get along with her, that’s why he left.” “Her kids don’t have a dad.” “She uses child support to benefit herself.” “She’s lonely.” “She can’t keep a man.”  “There’s no way she can do it on her own. She must need help.” Many of these statements can be true, but they are also statements that can be disproved if only people knew your story.

Is it true that single moms are broke and can’t raise a child alone? This could be true. But there are many of us who are able to manage our finances appropriately to provide for our children, and many times without child support.  How strong and incredibly sufficient are we to raise a child without the help of our child’s father?  We don’t always need a handout, but we should be willing to accept a blessing when it comes our way. We can’t be ashamed of getting help.  Everyone, no matter the circumstance, married or unmarried, needs help.

Is it true that we never have time for our kids?  Well, at times this might be true.  The problem with this assumption comes when people don’t know our story or our struggle.  Maybe you’re the single mom who works 40 hours per week and goes to school to further your education in order to better provide for your family. The temporary sacrifice is worth it if the motive is right. Sacrificing time with your children may seem to as you being selfish.  But what people don’t know is your sacrifice has a great reward in the end.

Is it true that your child’s father left you because he can’t get along with you? In some cases this may be true.  But what some may not know is maybe you were the one to leave.  Maybe you made the decision to leave your child’s father because of abuse.  Maybe you made the decision to protect your child and yourself. Maybe your child’s father was not a loving person and you decided you wanted better for yourself.  Regardless of how the relationship with your child’s father ended, it is important that you are not ashamed for choosing to love yourself, to love your child, and to ensure your family’s safety and well being.

Is it true that all children raised in a single parent home don’t have a father? NO.  People may assume that you don’t have a positive relationship with your child’s father to allow a positive relationship between the father and child.  There are plenty of children who’s fathers aren’t in the home, yet they have a relationship.  There are many single moms who encourage a relationship between the child and the father.  He may not be in the family photos, but it does not mean that he isn’t present.  If your child’s father is not present, you should not blame yourself for his absence.

The hot topic regarding single moms is child support.  People assume single moms use child support to support themselves and could care less about spending the money on what the child needs.  Let’s be real, there are some mothers who do this.  We’ve all seen the single mom who has her hair and nails done while her child is running around with clothes that don’t fit or even match.  I guarantee you that this is not the norm. Many single moms would be forever grateful for receiving a regular and substantial child support payment. Many of us pray for the day we receive a child support payment to alleviate the stress of providing everything for our children.  If you are the single mom who is hesitant to file for child support out of shame, don’t hesitate.  If you are the single mom who receives child support, do not be ashamed.  You should not have to financially provide for your child on your own.  It is the responsibility of both parents to raise a child.

Are all single moms lonely? Absolutely not. Many of us have a great support system.  We have friends, family, and some of us may have a boyfriend. Maybe you’re the only single mom in your group of friends and you feel embarrassed about it.  Have you ever thought about how some married mothers may envy your situation? Yes, we may have lonely nights at times, but we have the luxury of having alone time whenever we want it.  Some of us made a choice to be single for various reasons such as deciding to leave an unhealthy relationship, or maybe it’s difficult to allow someone who is not the father to raise your child.  Even if at times you experience loneliness, don’t be ashamed for being alone.

People assume that because the single mom is single and not dating that she just can’t keep a man.  What a  horrible assumption to make.  Without knowing your story, people may make this assumption of you. Being single does not define you. It does not mean that you are unlovable or undesirable.  Just because you have a child, this does not put you on the “never to be married” list.  You are loved.  You are wanted. You are desired.

So what do we do with the shame? How do we overcome the shame of being a single mom?

  1. Accept the season you are in: In life we go through seasons. Singleness is just a season.  At the right time, you may move to the next season of marriage.  But if not, enjoy the season you are in, single mommyhood. You are not just single. You are a mom, a single mom.
  2. Choose to embrace the journey:  During this journey of being a single mom, embrace all that comes with it.  Embrace your time alone. Embrace the ups and downs of parenting.  Embrace the time to find out who you are and who God wants you to be.
  3. Pray: We are instructed to  cast our cares upon God because He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7).  God knows the place you are in.  He sees your heart.  He hears your cry.  When the shame becomes too much to bear, pray. Give your concerns to God and watch Him work.
  4. Recognize your strength, your superpower of being  a single mom:  How many times have you heard people say, “I don’t know how you do it.”  It takes a special lady to be a single mom.  God has graced us with the strength and ability to raise our children alone.
  5. Tell your story: We can strength by telling our stories.  There is power in our words that can heal another broken heart. Don’t be ashamed of YOUR STORY. It WILL INSPIRE others.

Sweet Hearts, do not be ashamed of being a single mom.  Do not be ashamed to tell your story.  May you be encouraged today and may your story encourage someone’s heart.  Until you have your heart’s desire and overcome this shame, keep your Heart in Faith.

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