Navigating Family Life On Your Own

The single mom works hard, loves her children, and longs for someone to love her, be strong for her and care for her as she cares for her children.

PeggySue’s story: “He’s gone.”

PeggySue Wells |

Those were the words that launched my life as a single mom. Returning from church, as I steered our 15-passenger van onto our long gravel lane, I could see our home was strangely dark. Sitting forward, my daughter peered out the window and searched the empty driveway.

“Where’s Dad’s car?”

On the bench seats in the back, the chatter of the other six children abruptly went quiet. Once inside the house, the children quickly discovered their father’s clothes were gone, and his toothbrush was not in the bathroom cabinet. He had left.

Pam’s mother became a single mom

Pam Farrel |

when Pam’s two younger siblings were teens. Pam’s father struggled with alcohol, and with each passing year, his anger and depression grew, leading to increased episodes of domestic violence and physical abuse until Pam’s mom took the children to safety.

Our stories are not unusual. Today, one in four homes is single-parent led, and most solo parents are single moms.

While some single mothers have been widowed because their husband took an early journey home, and some singles adopted, the majority of single parents began in committed relationships and never anticipated, expected or intended to raise children alone. All parents need the ability and skills to make wise, discerning decisions.

Single parents have similar concerns, dreams, and hopes as other parents. Yet, single moms often feel too overwhelmed to focus and be decisive when they most need to.

The reality for single moms is that you represent a wide range of ages and seasons of life, wonder where you fit in society and the church, and sometimes feel isolated, judged, and alone. Yet you are far from alone.

Approximately 15 million people are solo parenting 22 million children in single-parent families.

Eighty-five percent of single-parent families are led by single moms with primary custody of their children. Some 40% of single mothers are over 40 years old. More than three-fourths have full-time careers. One-third of single-parent families live at or below the poverty level. Less than half receive child support. The average yearly child support to single moms is $6,000.

Less than half of single moms receive government assistance. Of the single moms who do receive government assistance, most do so only until they can survive on their own.

Questions dog their thoughts. Is my life ruined? Will my children be permanently damaged? Do children need more love than I’m able to give? Can I provide all that my family needs?

The single mom works hard, loves her children, and longs for someone to love her, be strong for her and care for her as she cares for her children. And Someone does. Pam and I had two goals when we wrote The Ten Best Decisions a Single Mom Can Make. First, we provided heartfelt assurance that God sees, loves and shepherds the single mom and her family.

Secondly, we filled the pages with practical suggestions on a myriad of vital topics about how to be the best solo parent possible—how to be a proactive parent, how to be a barrier breaker, how to develop relationship glue, and how to deal with dating and romantic relationships. Because parents and children work well together with clear boundaries and expectations, Pam included her unique compilation of contracts for older children on topics from education to employment to a ready-to-use relationship contract.

To be user-friendly for busy moms, this resource reads like an encyclopedia of bullet points, packed with proven ideas for thriving in the day-to-day. The Ten Best Decisions a Single Parent Can Make applauds the dogged determination of brave parents under challenging circumstances. And we want to give single moms the following assurances:

You are cherished, exactly where you are and as you are, by Jesus.

“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17–19)

When you feel weak, He is strong.

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2)

Before you knew Him, He loved you.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13)

He gives gentle guidance to single parents.

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” (Isaiah 40:11)

If you’re parenting solo, most likely your “happily ever after” didn’t turn out as you had imagined, and when much that is precious is marred, your tender heart longs to honor the holy and sacred.

The Ten Best Decisions a Single Mom Can Make serves as a companion, packed with practical tips and the assurance that God loves you and your children unconditionally, and that His promises are true. Join the Single Mom Circle on Facebook.

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