While traveling on an airplane recently, the stewardess performed a demonstration on how to apply the oxygen mask so one could "breathe in" sustaining life. It made me think, Goodness, single parents need God to drop an oxygen mask. They need to "breathe in" some of the Father's sustaining life, as well. So here's the question: If God dropped the survival mask, would you grab ahold of its life-giving air?

Friend, God HAS dropped the mask – it’s called his words of wisdom – speaking forth: “Yes, single mom, do attend to your child’s needs, but don’t forget this: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.” After all, isn’t that what they teach on the airplane? Apply the mask over your own face first. Then, you’ll have what you need to benefit your child. Yet, many single moms I know give and give and give with no oxygen left over for themselves. And what is the end result? A cranky mother who’s short-fused, flustered, and gasping for her next breath.

As a former single parent, I learned that if I didn’t put “me time” at the top of my to do list, I’d burn out. Treating myself to something that delighted me is every bit as important as taking care of Jason and Sara. If I didn’t administer oxygen for my own fortitude, then I’d lack the fuel needed to think straight and keep my emotions in check. Dan Marrow, supervisor of Holy Spirit Health Systems, said it well: “It’s not selfish to plan for things you enjoy. In fact, it’s the smartest thing you can do for your family. A refreshed mom equals a refreshed household."

How are you planning your care package? Consider these:

Recognize Your Limits

Everyone is human, however, most single moms try to be superhuman. After all, (you say) someone has to do it or it won’t get done. That’s the way I felt as a single mom. What other adult in the house was going to carry the load, fold the clothes, or mow the yard? It never dawned on me to identity those warning signs that indicated overload - tears, snapping at the kids when all they asked for was an apple.

God’s given us all who know Christ his mind – that is, we have his reasoning power to know when we’ve pushed ourselves too far. Part of knowing your limit is being aware that you have them. Be wise about when it’s time to regroup and redefine what’s reasonable for you as a single mom. Recognizing your limits helps you emotionally. 

Ask for Assistance

Why is that so hard? Most moms try to do it all themselves because they don’t want to interfere in someone else’s family time. I remember as a single mom needing to go to the store at night - alone. It took me forever to ask my neighbor if she’d watch the children from 7-8 on some nights. I’d take the kids to her house, all bathed and ready for bed, pick them up, and then go about my night-time duties at home. It turned out to be a great blessing for my neighbor, as well. Her kiddoes found great delight when Jason and Sara made their pajama visits. Don’t be afraid to ask friends or church members for snippets of help along the way. In the long run, it’s a win-win for everyone. Asking for assistance helps you physically.

Grow in Christ

There are many activities as a single mom you should do, but only one you MUST do: nurture your relationship with Christ. And that takes being intentional, making it a priority to be in his Word every day and giving every concern to the Father in prayer.

But there’s another way to care for yourself. Make plans to attend the Arise Ministries’ Oklahoma statewide single mothers’ conference – Survive ‘N’ Thrive - June 20-21. It’s a weekend of single mom pampering and refreshment like NONE other. Fellowship, fabulous keynotes and 20 breakout sessions, food, fun, and prizes galore… like a brand new car! One mom expressed, “It’s not a conference but an experience.” So check it out for yourself. If you can’t attend, contact our ministry and maybe we could bring the conference to your area. Woo hoo! Making it priority to grow in Christ helps you spiritually.

So how about you? Needing refreshment? In what areas are you seeking care for yourself? God’s dropping His oxygen mask. Will you reach for it while you still have time?

Pam Kanaly, popular author of The Single Mom and Her Rollercoaster Emotions and one of America’s leading advocates for single mothers, serves as cofounder of the single mothers’ conferences – Survive ‘N’ Thrive. Pam exudes with a God-given passion in seeing women know their value in Christ the King. She is the co-founder of the national organization Arise Ministries, having been featured on the 700 Club and other national programs. www.ariseministries.net

Publication date: June 5, 2014