“Photos imitating life–we only show a bit of who we are above the surface and keep the rest hidden below.”
I know. I’ve written wee pieces about single moms in the past but after spending a great week in Vancouver on a book tour/signings mission and having the opportunity to spend it with fellow authors as well as the owner of the publishing house we all deal with (Influence Publishing-Vancouver) I came away with some new thoughts, conclusions and a new question or two concerning the title of this article. One of those is ‘what is the greatest obstacle for single moms to deal with and the answer, I found is . . . themselves.
Before I carry on I want to say that I have nothing but the utmost respect for the sacrifices, dedication and the amazing job single moms do bringing up their children and making sure that there is food on the table and heat in the winter. They are masters at stretching a dollar and in many cases tireless when it comes to giving up their time often working a second job to be sure that the bills get paid. They try to give all they can so that the kids have what they need for school and on it goes.
I also don’t believe that parenting is much more difficult or different today than it was ten or fifteen years ago. What has changed about parenting are the beliefs that are attached now by the parents–in this case single moms–regarding the role(s) they must play in order to feel as though they are doing a good job-that they are successful parents. The kids basic needs haven’t changed. But the expectations that kids have now has changed and dramatically so. True–they still need food, shelter, clothing, water, and air. They need to feel loved, protected, safe and that they belong somewhere. But now, they have added the one thing to this list that is likely the most difficult to provide and that is ‘entitlement’. Many, not all, but many have made it known that they ‘deserve’ certain things in this life and that they should come with no fixed conditions attached.
As I have said before-the world is changing at an ever increasing rate. Technology sits perilously close to the edge of being out of control when considering the rate and depth of change. Many of us are struggling to keep up. Many aren’t or can’t cope and so they become unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Such it is with seniors for instance. With regards to parenting we need to consider doing this: The faster things change the more basic and simple we need to make or keep our parenting efforts. The parenting principles need to remain as they were. We need to consider our children as human beings first of all. Then we need to be sure that they are loved and that they feel connected, valued and relevant. We need to provide for the basics and make sure that our children participate in making that happen on a daily basis–there are no free rides–we all work together for the overall good of each other. Most importantly we need to be sure that as parents we are the leaders not the followers. That we set the standards especially in our homes and not our children. In the case of single moms the greatest obstacle that she needs to confront is that she can not be all things to all people. She can not be mother AND father both. Single moms also need to understand that there are basic messages that fatherless sons can and will only hear from their fathers or another healthy male role model. I know of many mothers who are single parents who feel guilty about not being a complete parent to their sons–that they are failing because junior is spinning out of control and she must be to blame somehow. Hear me when I tell you. You are not failing but rather you are doing all you possibly can to be a great parent. There is no doubt that single moms can teach their sons the social conventions–respect for self and others; respect for others property; respect for women; manners (there’s an old word that is near forgotten today); respect for law and order and acceptance of others and how they choose to live their lives provided their choices don’t reduce or lessen the importance of yours. But moms can’t teach a young man about being a male in the world and how /what a man does, how he thinks and why he feels and behaves as he does. She needs to stop trying to do this and if she does she will be less likely to burn out or give up when junior doesn’t respond to her efforts to be both mom and dad. So the greatest obstacle to moms peace and happiness as a single parent is herself. Mom. You can’t know what you don’t know. You will never know and understand what is means to be a male in the world today. It’s like trying to tell someone what chocolate tastes like. You can describe it in many ways but you will never be able to truly tell someone else what is actually tastes like.
That’s how I see it anyways.
Please pass this along to others.