The Stages of Single Momhood: How to go from Failure to Flourish!

If you’re a single mom, you are probably all too familiar with the feelings of failure and defeat that often come along with it. During my brief, yet eventful journey so far as a single mom, I have found that there are 4 stages that I went through to finally break out of the shell of defeat. Maybe you’ve already made it through completely or perhaps you’re still struggling just to get through stage one. Wherever you are in your journey, there is something for you here. Keep reading...

Denial

As I stared at the positive pregnancy test, I remember not knowing whether to laugh or cry. Ultimately, although a huge part of me thought it was a joke, I cried. Alot. I blamed the dark positive line on it being a cheap test and even when more expensive tests read the same it still wasn’t a reality. The denial was so real that even after having a doctor confirm, I still felt like this was something that would never, could never happen to me. Eventhough, I was in a relationship, I still knew what the statistics were. I didn’t want to believe I was bringing a child into the world with someone I wasn’t married to. Often our denial goes deeper than just refusing to accept our situation. It can also mask itself as the shame that prohibits us from confronting our sin. Just like God cannot get glory out of shame, neither can He use us when we're stuck in denial.

Resentment

There are so many places in the Bible where we find stories of people who harbored bitterness and resentment and we see that nothing good ever came from it, apart from God. Cain allowed his resentment to drive him to kill his own brother. Even Job’s strong faith in God was not enough to curb his own wife’s bitterness.


I remember the first time I took my daughter to a local play place. She was about 10 months old. I remember being the only mom present who wasn’t sporting a wedding ring and how ashamed I felt. There was nothing wrong with my parenting, in fact, I honestly think I found my calling when I became a mom and most days I rock! But, still, I let that one thing - my bare ring finger - undermine all the positive. I had signed up for a summer pass, since I am a teacher and would be off all summer, but 90% of the moms there in the middle of the day were not only married, but stay at home moms who did this ritual year around. As they sipped their coffee and talked about their lives while watching their children play, I remembered not only feeling shame, but resentment. Well before I ever even wanted to have children, I knew I wanted to stay home with them and play an active role in their lives. I wanted to be those moms. I resented myself for putting myself in a situation where I couldn’t do that for my daughter.

This stage lasted the longest for me. The first year of my daughter’s life was hands down, the hardest year of mine. I won’t go into the details here (I will post my Year One Struggles at a later day, so… subscribe!) but, I  resented everything and everyone, except my daughter. I was angry, bitter, and hurt. I resented myself for my poor choices. I resented God for not “answering” my prayers the way I wanted Him to. I resented people who weren’t single mothers and had help. I resented the society that made single motherhood so commonplace. I resented the men who take too long to grow up and have optional responsibility when it comes to being a parent.

All that resentment did nothing for me. In fact, even though I felt justified in my resentments, according to the Bible I was not honoring God. "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." (Ephesians 4:31) I love the way the Bible refers to bitterness as a root. Because it is certainly something that has no problem growing when we feed it. "See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." (Hebrews 12:15)

Acceptance

...and then, one day, I simply let it go. Have my challenges changed? Not really. I am still faced with alot of the same situations that originally caused me resentment? Absolutely. Sure, there are those fleeting moments when the resentment tries to well up in me, again, but I am strong enough to quickly cast it away and give it to God. I accomplished complete acceptance for the life that I have. Not the life that I used to have or the life I hope to have, but where I am right now, in this season. I had to accept it so that maybe I can change it, but even if it never changes, I’m still okay. Being a single mom is undoubtedly tough, but it is also rewarding. This is the ministry that God has given me, at least for the time being. So, I had to ask myself, how am I going to use it to serve Him?

I want to add something important here. As single mothers, it is important for us to remember that our worth is found in Christ. Your season (or lifetime) of work as a single mom, is not something negative. Yes, marriage would be nice, but that can not become an idol. Being a single mother has to be something we embrace, not just something we are content with because we haven’t found a helpmate. If the desire to be married is distracting you from doing all you can do as a single mom, discard it! We need to have the same prayer that Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:42) Though the situation wasn't ideal, ultimately, He accepted God's will and the greater purpose for His pain. I rejoice with those single mothers who have found their help. But, I admire those who are flourishing in their current position!

Flourishing!

Fast forward to today. I embrace the hand that I’ve been dealt. I thank God for opening my womb and allowing me to experience the ability to love someone unconditionally. I thank Him for allowing me the opportunity to serve Him by creating a disciple in my own home. I get to live out the Great Commission every single day. I am challenged in my own faith by the duty of being an example to my daughter. Romans 8:37-39 tells us 2 things that should motivate us and help us to flourish as mothers:
Like what you see? Read my post about Bible Journaling!


  • We are more than conquerors. The verses preceding this statement talk about persecution, murder, trials, and tribulations. But, verse 37 begins “yet in all these things we are more than conquerors. So even in your single motherhood, your baby out of wedlock, your failed marriage - you are still a conqueror and those things don’t have to define you. 
  • Nothing can separate us from the love of God. I have often heard this verse referenced with the word “can”. The NJKV version of my journaling Bible says “nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God”. This speaks to me as more of a command. We are not wishing and hoping that these things won’t separate us from the love of God. We are being commanded to not let them!
We cannot change our situations. But, we can change our thinking in the meantime. Single mom, you are strong. You are adequate. God loves you. I believe in you. Your children are lucky to have you. Your best (whatever that looks like right now) is good enough. You deserve happiness. Allow God's word to affirm you even when you don't feel as if you can affirm yourself.
I want to hear from you! What stage are you currently in? What advice do you need or can you offer to other single moms? Comment below or email me and subscribe to the blog to become a part of The Maker Is Your Husband community!


Comments

  1. This was a wonderful post! Thank you so much for posting it. I am separated from my husband, so I'm technically a single mom. When I realized that I had a failed marriage, and would end up being a single mom I felt so much resentment and bitterness. I hated that I put myself in that position by marrying the wrong person for me. I felt anger towards God, because I felt I had done the right thing by saving myself for marriage, and He didn't bless my marriage the way I wanted Hin to. But, I've slowly come into acceptance and some days I feel like I'm flourishing, and other days I find myself going back to resentment and I try to focus on the positive.
    I will say that you have helped me a lot with finding joy as a single mother. I discovered you on Facebook, because you posted something on the Black Teachers Rock page (I think that's the name of the group.) And I saw that you were a beautiful young lady, a teacher like me, and also a single mother. I was impressed and inspired by the joy you seemed to have despite being a single mother. You were proud of being a mother, and you have done really well for yourself and your daughter. I just want to say that I'm proud of you, and I'm sure you have touched many lives in more ways than you can imagine, and I pray that you continue to flourish.

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    Replies
    1. My goodness! I'm so flattered that you think of me so highly. I'm sorry to hear you are separated and I definitely pray that God will restore your marriage or give you something even better down the line. Please be sure to subscribe and I would love to connect with you since we seem to have a lot in common!

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