This week, we asked our Moms Council this question:
What advice can you give single parents, or those parents who may have to go it alone at times when their spouse is away?
Single parenting is a subject I am all too familiar with. I became a widow and a single parent to two teenagers almost overnight. My daughter kept her feelings inside, and my son was very angry. I tried to keep the lines of communication open, and enforce the rules that our family had already established. I also tried to keep in mind that there would be those days when rules would be broken and we would just start again in the morning. We established new guidelines that worked for our changing family. There were many bumps along the way, but we survived.
My advice to all single parents—be a good listener, be flexible, and be strong. Put your children's needs ahead of your own and keep in mind that children need to know who is in charge. Trust me, they will grow up and move on and then it will be your turn!
Since I am still happily married to the father of our sons after 28 years, it would be presumptuous of me to pretend to be able to understand what single parents go through raising their kids. I have enormous respect for those who juggle careers and home while singlehandedly raising their kids, and I am humbled by their grace and achievements.
My husband is gone around the clock each weekday, so the conferences, chauffeuring and driving lessons, counseling and meets are all left to me. Being ultra boring and structured—hallmarks of the older parent—we have family routines that have been in place since toddlerhood: regular bedtimes, dinner at the table and chores. Everyone knows what is expected of them; our structure keeps our family running smoothly.
When I worked part time, commuted to grad school, and my husband traveled weekly, I depended on a bottomless pot of spaghetti.
Awesome organizational skills, support from family and friends, a calm demeanor and big faith in God's care and provision are how one friend juggles the demands of her two tweens. With another, it's her wide-open communication channel with her teens that makes everything work.
Above all, it takes trust. Trust from the parent that what must get done—laundry, homework, getting gas in the car or the table set for dinner—will be done.
Trust from the child that mistakes, rebellion, bad grades, auto accidents—will be forgiven without parental abandonment or judgment. That love and home and acceptance will be solid forever, no matter what.
Children, tweens and teens' growing up now are much more accelerated in taking on responsibilities when raised by a single parent. Disillusionment about “happily ever afters” and the American dream sets in quick. The flip side is that they function faster and more ably in the adult world of work and taking care of themselves. And a blessing to hold onto forever is the trust bond between parent and child.
About Moms Talk
Moms Talk is a new feature on Dallas-Hiram Patch that is part of a new initiative to reach out to moms and families.
We invite you and your circle of friends to help build a community of support for mothers and their families right here in Paulding County.
Each week in Moms Talk, our Moms Council of experts and smart moms take your questions, give advice and share solutions.
Moms, dads, grandparents and the diverse families who make up our community will have a new resource for questions about local neighborhood schools, the best pediatricians, 24-hour pharmacies and the thousands of other issues that arise while raising children.
Moms Talk will also be the place to drop in for a talk about the latest parenting hot topic.