Supporting the single mom. It’s hard to be there for someone when you don’t know how and when you don’t “have time.” I lost a lot of friends when I became a single mom, but I have been so blessed to have a few faithful mommas stick with me and support me; and I am even more thankful for the new moms who joined me in this new journey. So how can you help the single mom? Obviously, I cannot speak for every single mom, but this is what has gotten me through it! These are all ways my friends helped me -some I didn’t even know I needed.
Stop asking me what you can do to help! There are at least 1,000 things I need help with. I cannot pick one thing above all the others when they all seem so daunting. I’m also scared to death that the one thing I do pick is the one thing you don’t want to do. And where does that leave us? I’m uncomfortable putting myself in the vulnerable position of admitting my failures, and you are stuck feeling obligated to do something you hate. So please, don’t ask what you can do! Instead, offer to help in a specific way. Don’t ask if you can do it for me, just tell me you are going to do it. Because the truth is, I will always say that I am ok, even when I am drowning.
So, if you want to help financially, write a check with a nice note and drop it in the mail, bring her to dinner, pay for an activity you know she was interested in (like a woman’s conference.) If you want to make a meal (PLEASE make a single momma a good, home-cooked meal!) just call and say, “I will be cooking for you, what time will you be home tomorrow?” or invite the family over to your home for dinner and fellowship. If you want to help with childcare, invite the momma over for a playdate (evenings are the perfect time for a playdate for the single momma who just wants a break and doesn’t feel she will make it until bedtime) or ask when you can take the kids for her. Go to her house to watch the kids while she takes a nap, grabs a shower, has a moment to herself to breathe! And while you are at her home, if you see dishes piled up or laundry on the couch or toys strewn on the floor don’t be afraid to clean up her mess. Do not be afraid of insulting the single mom. She already feels like a failure (seriously, I thought I was the only one, then I started talking to other single moms and this is the one word that always comes up!) We know we cannot do it all, you will not hurt her feelings. In fact, if she walks out to a clean counter and folded clothes she will go to bed that night thanking God for blessing her with a friend who cares about her so much.
If you really want to treat a single mom, there are a few things you can do (or go in on with a group.) Give her a gift certificate to get her hair done, her nails done, a good massage, or to a clothing store. The one thing a single mom never gets to do is focus on herself, and we all know how wonderful those quiet moments being pampered are to us. Hire a cleaning service. Whether it is for a one-time deep cleaning or more, as a birthday or Christmas gift or maybe just because there was a great Groupon deal, this is sure to bring a much needed relief. The ultimate is offering to keep the kids for a sleepover, mega bonus if you offer the mom a hotel room! I remember a time when I was at the very end of my rope, feeling like I could not go on. I received an email with a hotel reservation and a phone call from a friend telling me they were going to watch my children.
There are many ways to help the single mom, but the easiest way is to constantly let her know you are thinking about her. Send a Facebook message or text (one that does not require a response) with a quick “I’m thinking of you today and I love you” or an “I am always here for you”. There have been so many days I felt like an absolute failure or didn’t think I could do it any longer when I received a quick, “You are an amazing mom!” as a text. Do not underestimate the power of simply being there! When this mom comes through this season, she will remember exactly what you did for her. Your friendship will be strong and fulfilling and an inspiration to other moms! Being a single mom has taught me how to truly be a friend. In fact, I implement all of these ideas with all of my friends: single moms, new moms, sick moms, every mom I know. We all need a little bit of help. We all need the support of a true friend!
What is your favorite way to help another mom?
This post is part of the RSMB CONNECTS series, where we encourage you to connect with your kids, friends and family, and the community this holiday season.