Why is it that the one thing we often forget to recognise in a solo mother is the vulnerability inside that strong and competent outer shell?
You may see the single mum many places; at schools, in cafes, at day care or on her way to work, and when you do you see a woman who seems invincible, who has everything under control, her career on course, her friends supported and her children thriving.
Occasionally, if you catch her at a rare moment when she doesn’t have one or more of her cherubs swinging from one trouser leg, the single mum may open up and admit to you that doing it all on her own can be tough, that she’s often tired and wished she could be there for her children more. These are things we expect her to say though; logical and predictable ramifications of being one woman supporting her children alone.
What if, however, we were to sit back and think, really think, about what it’s actually like for her?
Think about the moment the single mum found out she will be raising her child on her own, that moment when she decides with absolute certainty that she will succeed at this because she has to, for her child. Think about the bittersweet sensation she feels looking at her child with love, yet knowing that everyone will have a different opinion of whether or not she’s a capable mother. Think about her daily struggles with keeping her cool when the kids play up, with deciding which bill is more important this week, how much petrol she can put in the car and still afford the groceries. Whether the decision to work full-time and pay for day-care so she can provide her children with a better life is worth the trade-off of not being there with them every single day. Think about the guilt she carries. The guilt of her child not having a father around or, if he is around, of the potential ramifications that a divided family can cause, the guilt of not being able to give her children all the attention she’d dearly love to give them. Think about how frightening it is for her when she does meet someone new, her decisions are no longer solely about her, but her child’s needs to have a respectable role model to look up to, and that person, with no obligation, can walk out of her child’s life at any time.
Even though people in relationships have similar struggles, it’s a shared worry. That they have someone to call, someone to lean on, someone to help bring in money, someone to talk to about which bills to juggle, someone to help when the kids are sick or being extra needy.
What if we looked beyond the single mum’s strong outer shell to see the vulnerability she hides?
The single mum you know is used to doing it on her own. She finds it difficult to accept your offer of help because she has learned she must be self reliant. So, if you know a single mum who seems to have it all together and never accepts your offer of help, chances are, that on the inside, she still needs you.
Here are five practical things you can do for your single mum friend that will make a world of difference to her day:
1. Drop over with dinner
Not for you and her. Just for her. Pop it in a container so if she has dinner ready for that day, she can put it in the freezer for later.
2. Play with her children
Meet for a play date, then send her away to have a coffee, read the paper or sleep while you engage with her children for an hour. Knowing her children have strong, stable relationships with adults other than herself can be pure gold to a single mum.
3. Surprise her with a voucher
Perhaps a day spa voucher, a baby sitting voucher, or a ‘I’ll bring you a takeaway dinner one night’ voucher that she can use when she’s had one of those ‘one hell of a days’.
4. Organise a sleep over
Bring over your PJs and give your single mum friend a hand tidying, taking care of the kids, cooking dinner or help out by cleaning something she’s obviously been struggling to find the time to clean. Then, once the children are in bed, delight her with some adult conversation while she falls asleep on the couch with a glass of wine in her hand. Catch glass of wine before it spills on already snot stained couch.
5. Tick something off her ‘to do’ list
If you’ve heard your single mum friend saying ‘I really need to baby proof my kitchen or post that mail or drill that cupboard door back on’, drop over with some baby safe door clips, some stamps or a drill to give her a hand.
Why will these things make such a difference? Because what the solo mum really lacks in her life is someone else to lean on for the functional things. She’ll likely have emotional support from many angles in the form of friends, family and work colleagues, but what she really needs is an angel who swoops in and gets down and dirty to make things happen. Practical help like this can break down that invincible shell and help a solo mother open up and remember what it’s like to not be so alone, it can help her remember that she can reach for the skies, and most importantly, it can make her remember that while vulnerable may not mean invincible, it does not in any way mean incapable.
About the author
Pia has, in one way or another, been connected to the spiritual world since early childhood. She has studied under numerous professionals in her field and continues to find new inspirations to guide her towards lifelong learning, allowing her to take you on a journey of spiritual awakening and healing.
She now focuses not only on performing psychic readings, but also in teaching, by way of psychic development classes, workshops, correspondence and literature.
Pia currently resides in Western Australia but travels regularly interstate for guest appearances. She is available for phone psychic readings and online psychic readings by Skype or correspondence. Pia is also available for teachings in person.
You can find out more about Pia at her website, http://www.pialanger.com