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Jennifer Maggio Christian Blog and Commentary

Jennifer Maggio

The Life of a Single Mom

 

I burst out laughing when I saw this photo of the elderly man on his hands and knees “mowing” his lawn with a pair of scissors. Why? Because I honest-to-goodness have edged my yard with kitchen shears! I know it’s silly to some, but to those of us who struggle with having complete order in our lives, it makes perfect sense! Thanks goodness, I have learned how to live free in Christ! Perfectionism is exhausting.

From a very young age, I made by bed and kept my room spotless. It translated into my teen years, where I not only kept my room orderly, but my locker was organized, and my homework and grades were always superb. I tried to do everything with perfection. When I was pregnant with my first-born, everyone said that I would get over my “neatness” once I had a newborn. No….I just taught my small children to clean up after themselves from an early age. My apartment was always neat.

Much of my early struggle with perfectionism came as an obsession to control what I could in an effort to cope with what I could not. In other words, behind closed doors I was an abuse victim who lived with violence, profanity, and utter chaos much of the time, so I was determined to have a neat bedroom and control my grades — since I couldn’t control my home life. Later, I couldn’t control that my life was spiraling out of control as a young single mom, but I could control my grades in college, how neat my desk was at work, and how clean my children were.

As my children aged, this need for perfection resulted in some poor parenting choices. I eventually learned that I was teaching my kids that it was more important to have straight As than to have a good relationship with me. Even a high B was often not good enough. I would find myself asking, “What didn’t you know? What could you have done better?” I found myself micro-managing their grades, their rooms, their friends — demanding perfection in every area. It was exhausting! The Lord really dealt with me in this area.

Colossians 3:23 urges us to work “as unto the Lord.”  It doesn’t require perfection. It requires excellence. There’s a huge difference. My excellence isn’t your excellence. The Lord simply requires us to be the best teacher, house painter, mother, friend,  or banker that we can be. That’s it. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Allow yourself to be who God created you to be. Accept the fact that you aren’t a great cook as God’s way of allowing a fine chef to excel. There are plenty of other things you are great at. It is okay to be the perfect you and that doesn’t have to be perfect!

Author/Speaker Jennifer Maggio is considered one of the nation’s leading authorities on single parents’ and mothers’ issues. She is the founder of Overwhelmed: The Single Moms Magazine and The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She has been featured on countless radio and television programs and has a heart to see that no single mother walks alone. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com. 

Holidays of any kind can be tough for a mother who is parenting alone, especially if she is new to her role as a single mom. But Mother’s Day is perhaps one of the most difficult for single mothers. It can serve as a reminder of all the things that once were, but are no longer. It can hint at all of a single mom’s insecurities and provoke such thoughts, as I’m not the mother I want to be. I failed my children. I shouldn’t have to be alone today or others.

Many years ago, I attended a Mother’s Day church service as a single mom. The pastor wanted to recognize all the mothers in the audience. Since it was a small church, he invited each of us onto the stage together for a moment of prayer. Part of this special time included having each husband pin a corsage onto his wife, as their children hugged her and looked on. I stood there alone on stage for what seemed like an eternity, silently wondering how I would get my corsage. My children were still in the church nursery and far too young to pin any corsage on me. It was awkward to say the least. Finally, a very special widow in our church noticed me and hurriedly came to pen a corsage to my dress. I was so grateful for that special widow.  In no way am I saying that my embarrassment was somehow the pastor’s fault. I don’t think it was. He wanted to make a special moment for the mothers of his church. His heart was in the right place. It probably never occurred to him that there may be a few moms who had lost their husbands or maybe never had one in the first place. It was just one more reminder that I had made wrong choices in my life and may forever have to pay the consequences.

Last Mother’s Day, our ministry received an email from a broken single mother who had a similar experience. The pastor of her church invited all the mothers in the church to stand as their husbands prayed over them. It turned into an extended prayer time that left this single mother standing alone with tears streaming down her face, as she mourned, once again, the loss of her marriage. It angered her. She wrote us to exclaim that she would never attend her church again. She was adamant that her pastor should have been aware of her aloneness.  We encouraged her, prayed with her, and insisted she stay connected.

The truth is, for many who are single mothers or once were, hurt from the past that hasn’t been dealt with can be triggered by something as beautiful and simple as a church’s mother’s day celebration. Much of my hurt on that Mother’s Day so many years ago was due to my open wound that had not yet healed. My hurt, anger, and bitterness flooded through my heart as the tears flowed from my eyes that afternoon.  For many single mothers, this Mother’s Day may pose similar concerns.

If you happened to know a single mother this holiday season, make an effort to make her day special:

  • Take her children to shop for a little treat for their mom.
  • Offer to babysit her children and have them bake her cookies as a surprise.
  • Invite her to lunch with your family after church.
  • Stand with her in agreement of God’s future for her, if there is special prayer time in your church service. 

 


Jennifer Maggio
 is considered one of the nation’s leading authorities on single moms and womens’ issues. She is an award-winning author and speaker who has a God-given passion to see women walking in total freedom. She is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and has been featured in countless media venues. 

In today's world, the job market has become ever-so competitive. It is crucial that those who are actively seeking employment know how to do the "little things" well. What can you do to set you apart? How will potential employers remember you? How do you get started, if you haven't job searched in many years? Here are a few tips to get you started:

Show up on time for your interview. This actually means to show up 15 minutes early. Trust me. You don't want to keep a potential employer waiting. It can be a precursor to your good or bad habits on punctuality. And it makes a first impression.

Dress the part. Wear a suit. No exceptions. When I interviewed for a job at a local pizza place some years ago, I wore a suit. That's weird, you may be thinking. No, it's not. You always dress for the position you hope to hold, not necessarily the one you are interviewing for. Put your best foot forward. It will leave an impression.

Ensure your resume is accurate, short, and easy to read. Do not list hobbies on your resume. Do not list personal references on your resume. Keep your resume to one page. Be certain to list Month and Year for start/end dates of employment and education. Use tons of buzz words throughout the resume that describe you, e.g. goal-oriented, task-driven, multi-tasker, punctual, candid, honest, high level of integrity, hard working, driven, etc.

Always bring a resume to the interview (even if you sent one previously).

Use proper grammar. Your interviewer is not your best friend, so don't talk to him as such.

Practice, if you don't interview well. The job market is competitive and there are no second chances when you aren't adequately prepared.

Strike a balance between personal and professional information. The interviewer does not want to know that you have 3 best friends in high school that once betrayed you and you had to seek counseling because of it. However, they do want to know that you aren't a robot! So feel free to share some personal information, but don't go overboard.

Send a thank-you card after the interview. It's a nice touch.

Shake hands firmly, both before and after the interview.

Be honest.

Author/Speaker Jennifer Maggio is considered one of the nation’s leading authorities on single parents’ and womens' issues. She is the founder of Overwhelmed: The Single Moms Magazine and The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She was an 11-time Circle of Excellence Winner in Corporate America. She has been featured on countless radio and television programs and has a heart to see that no single mother walks alone. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com. 

 

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