Single Moms Need Strong Communities

Single Moms Need Strong Communities | Houston Moms Blog

Sometimes we choose to be single moms; sometimes the status is thrust upon us. We face the reality that, for however long the status remains, this is our life. We’re the primary caretaker for the tiny kiddos. Our status as single doesn’t matter because the most important role we play is that of the mom. We are the source of comfort at 2 AM, the cleaning lady, meal server, laundry washer, lawn mower, disciplinarian, booboo healer, and, most often, the working mom. We are everything to our kiddos, and we carry that burden without complaint. In our “singleness,” we’re made stronger from the fact that we, as moms, are going it “alone.”

Except, we’re not alone.

A Sense of Community

The one thing we need, as single moms, is strong community to uplift us when times get tough. We need someone to fall back on when work runs late. We need someone to call in the middle of the night when life gets too hard. We need someone to watch our child during the day, or someone to bring our child to school. We need people who can take them home, or take them to practices, when our schedules conflict with our child’s life.

We’re everything for our child, but we can’t always be there when we’re needed. If we isolate ourselves away from the community, we suffer. Therefore, we build our community; we let those we trust in, and we allow them to watch our children when we can’t. Because of that, our sense of community is strong; it’s unbreakable. 

How do I know this? Because I am the first to admit that I didn’t know how to ask for help during my first two years as a single mom. In my mind, I am strong; I am independent. I don’t need people because I can do everything. 2 AM vomit? I can catch that with my hands, bathe my kid, bathe myself, get us in fresh clothes, rip off the sheets, and have fresh linens on the bed in under twenty minutes. I work a thirteen-hour day, haul my 60+ pound kid into the house, along with our bags, and make myself dinner at 11 PM. {Popcorn is dinner, right?} My pride is what kept me from seeking others, from building a community, and establishing that sense of trust in other people.

The best day of my life? The one when I realized and admitted that I need help. 

I need help from people around me. I need help with my child. I need help organizing my life, and the only way I can get that help is by trusting other people to help me.

What Does A Community Look Like?

  • It looks like a daycare we trust. We all know the term “deal breaker.” How much will we accept before we are done? With daycares, it’s the teachers … the way teachers respond to students, the way the daycare functions as a whole, and the way they react to situations. 
  • It looks like parents. If we trust our parents, they are the most natural source of help. They may be more lenient with our children than they were with us, but they still know and remember how to raise kiddos. They have their own lives now, but they still make time for us — just like we make time for them.
  • It looks like close family. Sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles. If we trust them around our children, if we trust them to watch our children, then they are there when we need them. They are our family, and reaching out to them lets them know how much we value their presence in our child’s life.
  • It looks like the ex-spouse or father. Even if we’re at odds with the ex-spouse or father of the child, it’s not about our feelings. It’s about the child’s feelings. The child needs the dad in their lives, and we need to be open to calling them when the need arises.
  • It looks like friends. These are people we fall back on who will drop anything to help. They attend the same sports teams as our child; they go to the same school, church, or daycare. They know our child, and our child knows them. What’s more, we trust our child’s life with them–and letting them into our world tells them how important they are to us.
  • It looks like significant others. This may be a bit more taboo, especially in the world of divorce. The significant other’s bond with the child is strong, it’s important, and it’s important to foster their relationship if this person will be a forever figure in the child’s life. Once that relationship is established and trust is set, then their presence is necessary.

How Do We Let That Community In?

It’s not easy to give up control. Much like being the leader of every group project just to get an A on the assignment, we single moms are predisposed to isolating ourselves in order to prove the worth inside. Except, we’re already strong enough, and we’re already worthy enough. 

One day, however, the boss asks us to work late, or daycare calls in the middle of an important meeting, or we have a doctor’s appointment, and the school has an inservice day. Suddenly, we feel the hammer drop, and wonder how to solve everything — but we keep ourselves away when we should be letting others in.

So, how do we let that community in?

  • Send a text. This isn’t the method for someone we don’t see often. It’s for the mom friend who we spend hours chatting with while our sons smash helmets during football. It’s for the relative we see at least once a day and text with regularly.
  • Pick up the phone. Do we know that we can’t pick up our child next Friday? This is where a phone call comes in, where we can plan what bags to pack, and how dinner will work.
  • Explain the situation. Is it last minute, and we’re desperate? Parents and siblings are really good during these times.
  • Ask for help. This is the most important. Don’t let the panic set in without ever reaching out to other people. We need them, and they need us. We’re just as important in their lives as they are in our lives, and in our child’s life. Building a bond with our child means retaining and nurturing the bond with us. We’re important, too.

When it comes to creating a sense of community as a single mom, it starts with us — the single mom. We need to allow people into our lives who can help us when times get rough. When we isolate ourselves from our community, we’re not the only ones who suffer. Our community suffers with us, and they are longing to get back into our world. 

As for me, I now trust several people to watch Tiny throughout the week. I can’t be there on Tuesday and Thursday nights to take my son to practices. I can’t always be there by 6:30 when my work runs long. I need people in my corner who are not only willing to take care of my child, but who are willing to care enough about me to let me know I’m important.

Single Moms Need Strong Communities | Houston Moms BlogWe single moms are important to our community. Who is your community?

One Response to Single Moms Need Strong Communities

  1. dbkstylez March 25, 2017 at 1:31 am #

    So Beautiful

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