There are approximately 12-14 million single mothers in the United States today; and even more heart wrenching, the number of children being raised by one parent. In most married households if the mother has had her share of toddler tantrums or teenager traumas, she at least, has her spouse to help with relief or support. The single mom never gets that break. Her days are physically exhausting, emotionally trying and often financially fearful.
Christ's heart always went out to the meek, the poor, and the disadvantaged; and His heart is huge for single moms and their children. Have you ever wondered what you can do to help a single mother and her family? Where or how she may need the most aid?
The Hope and Help for the Single Mom ministry has the following list of suggestions and gift ideas that will bring light into her day and tremendous appreciation from her family. The personal bonds and friendships that will develop from your genuine concern for her family will be everlasting.
Pray For Them. The most significant thing you can do for a single mom is to pray for her and her family. The enemy likes to prey on the weak and is especially fond of women and innocent children. Let her know that she is in your daily prayers and ask her if there are specific areas in which you can pray for her. Always pray for protection and provision over her family.
Be A Friend. Single moms often feel isolated and simply having one or two strong, spiritually mature friends to spend time with her, to love her and to encourage her would make a tremendous difference in her day. Simple things like a phone call to let her know you are thinking of her, see if there is anything she needs help with or picked up from the store. Invite her to church, go to a movie, or just share a cup of coffee and conversation.
Offer to Help with the Children. A single mom often becomes the sole financial provider for her family, meaning, at least one full-time job, sometimes a second one part-time. Helping out in anyway with her children would not only be a huge benefit to her, but a real blessing to the children. Offer to help take care of the children if they are sick if she is not able to stay home from work or take care of them after school so they don't have to be in day care. Experiencing the loving support from others would provide a tremendous lift on their self-esteem.
Be A Role Model. Often single mothers think they need to be the mother and the father to their children. Nothing can replace the significance of a healthy male role model in a child's life, especially if she has a son. Have your husband, brother, an uncle take the single mom's son out to play catch, to a sporting event or fishing. Help him find his place in the world by asking the child what their interests are and fill that need for them.
Make Her Feel Special. She is usually too busy, or simply out of time to be concerned with her own needs. Special occasions like Mothers Day, birthdays and Easter are never the same. Send a sweet card letting her know how special she is. Help her children select a gift for their mom on Mothers Day or her birthday. The Hope and Help for the Single Mom website has several supportive CD gift selections that will bring her closer to God's heart and encourage her.
Involve Her in Social Activities. Usually the first thing a single mother sacrifices is her own social time. It may be awkward at first for married couples to involve a single mom with their own family at events, but it is so important to include them; and I encourage you to do so. I personally love going out with other couples and friends from my church. It keeps my son and me in a family atmosphere that we both need.
Be Wise Counsel to Her. There are so many new decisions that single mothers need to make, often in areas they are unfamiliar with such as insurance, career, finances, etc. Making daily decisions without the sounding board and prayer of another mature Christian is a very difficult task. Single moms are often second-guessing the decisions they make when it comes to their children. Having a strong Christian mentor who has a sound mind and knows the Word of God well can help her feel more assured of making the best decisions for her family.
Share A Meal Together. What better way to share fellowship and make her family feel special than to break bread together? Invite them over to your home for a meal, or ask them out to a restaurant and pick up the tab for them. If you have the time, you could bring a meal over to her home once a week allowing her a weekly break in the kitchen and more quality, stress-free, loving time with her children. What could be better in life than that?
For additional suggestions and gift ideas, Hope and Help for the Single Mom has several CD packages to select from that offer meaningful messages, helpful advice and loving encouragement for every single mom. To inquire about and order the CD packages, call 1-888-430-HOPE, or visit the website at: www.hope4singlemoms.com.
Lori Little, A Woman By Design ministry's founder, is the former Director of John C. Maxwell's THRiVE!, Becoming A Woman Of Influence. A major focus of Lori's ministry is the Hope and Help for the Single Mom initiative. Lori is very pleased to be a new contributor to Crosswalk and will be publishing articles regularly in the Parenting and Family sections of the site. Also watch for Lori's book Hope and Help for the Single Mom, by Waterbrook Press, in 2005.