Being a single parent is like being a super hero. You must be crafty, strategic and on guard 24/7. You must be ready to anticipate situations so you can swoop in to save your child from harm’s way. And when you’re not trouble shooting or saving the day, you have to think about the other important issues, like role models for your kids.
One of the most daunting tasks for single mothers of boys has to be filling in the empty spots where the dad used to be or never was. As the mother of two older teenage boys, this has been an unrelenting must-do.
I think of the normal, all-American things like heading to the hardware store, fixing a leaky faucet, hitting golf balls, building something in the garage, fishing. I have three brothers and all of them were involved in such activities with my dad. He was a workaholic sports writer yet he always made time for his kids. I want my sons to have those experiences too.
But what’s a single mother of teenage boys to do when father is a) not around or, b) not interested?
The phrase it takes a village really resonates here. I always looked around my village. Think sports coaches, teachers, youth group leaders and neighbors. And don’t forget family friends and uncles, cousins. Usually, these men are more than happy to step in and be that guy for your kids. Both of my boys had terrific male small group leaders at our church who took them under their wing and nurtured a special friendship. And when my boys and I would visit my out-of-town brothers, I would prearrange a male outing that would entail things such as fishing, or visiting their uncle’s office.
Let people help you. Summon up the courage to ask. For many of us, asking for help is incredibly difficult. We feel like we’re bothering someone, like we’re asking too much, or if you’re like me, I always think, “I got myself into this situation and I should be the one to fix it.”
Tips For A Single Mother: Asking For Help Works!
Well guess what? I need help. So, I try to remember that the other person can always say no if it doesn’t fit with their schedule or they don’t feel comfortable helping. I thank them and move on. I try hard not to take this stuff personally!
And many times they say yes. When both of my boys were in sports, it became very tricky to get them to different gyms or ball fields. After suffering through for a bit, I finally swallowed my pride and called one of the coaches and asked if he would play catch with my son and also give him a ride to practices. The coach was happy to help and I realized how silly my hesitation had been.
When I do find men like the coach to help out, I thank them with homemade cookies and let them know that their involvement had a significant impact on my family. And I always hope that they got something out of the situation too.
So give it a try, go out and find your village and let someone else wear the super hero cape once in a while.