I wanted to shift gears and talk to you guys about a little something different. Its something that is very near and dear to my heart and I don’t see a lot of blogs, or books about it. I want to talk to you guys about single parenting and co parenting.
Most of you guys know I am the mother of 2 beautiful children. My children are 14 and 3 (soon to be 4). They are 10 years apart and they are by the same man. No, we were never married. He was my childhood sweet heart and I thought I was in love.
Although we aren’t dating each other we now have two children that we have to raise. Being a single mom is really hard. But I am grateful that I do have help. He’s a really good dad. Financially, physically, and emotionally, he is there for our children. However, being a single mom and co parenting can still be really rough!
Some days I find myself upset or angry just at the situation itself. Just for me simply being a single mom. Its not what I wanted out of my life but I often have to remind myself that it was a choice that I made to sleep with someone that I wasn’t married to. The bible tells us that sex is for marriage only. Although we are free to make our own choices, we are not free from the consequences of that choice. Therefore, when Im frustrated, I have to remind myself that I made a choice.
My kids dad and I get along very well for the most part and it wasn’t always that way but co parenting is still extremely hard! I once wrote a Facebook post about how I felt like co parenting was a lot like a marriage. Theres a lot of compromising involved.
There is a misconception about compromising though. People seem to think that it means 50-50. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! Compromising at times means you don’t get what you want at all! Here’s the thing to remember, when you are in a coparenting relationship its not about what YOU want anyway!! Its about whats best for the children involved. There so many times that I go along with things that I don’t necessarily agree with and he does as well. If it isn’t going to hurt my children mentally, physically, or emotionally, there are things I just have to let go. You pray about it and move on.
One of the best things you can do for your children is to get along with the other parent. Not just tolerate them, but truly get along. You may be dealing with a parent that isn’t contributing like they should. They come around when they want to, send money whenever for the child and phone calls are few and far between. That doesn’t mean you can’t get along with the parent. Im not saying its easy. But it is definitely possible, Understand that it is the best interest for your children if you get along well. Getting along means that when you all are in each others presence you are still able to smile and make small talk. It means your body language is open and inviting.
I watched a documentary called Fatherless Sons. It was talking about how men in particular don’t know how to navigate through the hurt and the anger that many women hold on to. So even if they aren’t the best dad in the world, they have a hard time coming around because they know they aren’t doing what they should be doing for the child, but they don’t know how to handle the hurt and the anger , the snark comments, the rude body language that the mother gives off. Listen, Im not saying you don’t have a right to be upset if the opposite parent isn’t doing their part. But what I am saying is that ITS NOT ABOUT YOU! You have to let go of how you feel and understand that child just wants to be able to see and/or talk to their parent even if it is only once in a while.
You may be dealing with a parent that has much different views than you. That is where I encourage you to pray about each situation and ask the Lord to lead and guide you on what to do. The bible says in Proverb 3:6 “In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.” In other words tell the Lord you need His help and he will lead and guide you on what to do.
Instead of nagging and complaining about what their dad doesn’t do, I’ve learned to pray about it. Not asking God to change their dad but asking God to show me how to handle the situation. Most of the time God changes me, my mindset or my attitude and while Im being changed, somehow their dad heart is changed and things somehow end up running smoothly. On the flip side there are times when I walk away frustrated but always knowing this will work out for my good. Romans 8:28
My biggest issue was letting go of the past hurt, anger, and resentment and things that were done to me. He broke my heart, and when I would get upset about something concerning the children, all of that would come back up and I lashed out horribly. It made it very hard to coparent. (I know Im not the only that has dealt with this and I still struggle with it from time to time.)
I remember a while back after one argument with my kids dad, I was so upset all I could do was pray. I started praying asking God to change their dad and help him to see how he was wrong, and the Lord told me You need to change. I was like what???? I’m a single mom, I have these kids full time, why do I need to change. But the Lord showed me I was handling our parenting disagreements from a place of hurt and anger and not from a place of peace and love. I had to learn to let go of all that to effectively co parent. The Lord truly changed me that day. If you are struggling in this area I encourage you to give that hurt and pain to God. Let Him heal your broken heart. Its a process, and it takes time. Although, I still struggle with it from time to time, I always remind myself that its not just about me, but its about my children and whats best for them. I don’t want them to see their parents arguing, fussing and fighting all the time. I want to always create a peaceful atmosphere for them. I want them to feel whole and complete and never torn between their parents.
Another issue I had was throwing it in his face how little he has the kids vs how much I have the kids. I always feel like I have them more than him. For example, My children are with their dad one day a week and every other weekend. Although it may not seem like a lot. Im grateful because some parents done get that. Let me let you in on a secret. The parent that the children live with is typically the parent that will have the kids the most. Its just the way it is. You can’t focus on the quantity of time spent because it won’t be equal. I enjoy being a mom and I enjoy having them full time. I’ve learned to focus on that fact.
I used to always feel like if we were married, I wouldn’t be so tired, or I would have more help, or this or that. But when I hear other married women talk, many times they have the same issues as me! As a mom and/or wife you are the keeper of the home. Titus 2: 4-5 says “…train the young women to be [a]sane and sober of mind (temperate, disciplined) and to love their husbands and their children, To be self-controlled, chaste, homemakers, good-natured (kindhearted), adapting and subordinating themselves to their husbands…” If you aren’t married, I look at the husband part of the scripture as your home. I have to submit myself to what my home needs. I can’t run and go and do all this stuff and leave my home unkept. Also, please stop and take a moment to read Proverbs 31: 13-31. It talks about the role of a wife and mom.
Disclaimer- Please understand that I am NOT saying that a father does not have responsibilities for the children. What I am saying is that many of the responsibilities you have as a single mom are responsibilities you would have even if you were married. I can’t speak on a fathers role because Im not a father. But what I can tell you is even if he isn’t doing his part for the kids it doesn’t mean you aren’t going to do your part for the kids.
Being a single parent is not how I imagined my life would be. I had the same picture in my head that every other little girl has. I wanted the husband, 2.5 kids, big house with the white picket fence. LOL But I made a choice, and because of my choice my life is a bit different than what I imagined. But guess what? THATS OK!!! Single parenthood did not stop Gods purpose for my life! And for that, I am so very grateful.
Thats what I love about serving God is that even when we stray, He is still right there holding us. Just waiting for us to come back to Him. Ever since I truly gave my life to God my coparenting relationship is a lot easier, that doesn’t mean that things run smoothly all the time. It doesn’t mean I don’t get upset or have to compromise.
When I say that it is easy it means that now, I know that whatever happens, God has my back. I pray for my children daily, and I pray for their dad as well. I pray for his well being because if He is well, I know my children benefit too. Our road wasn’t always easy but with maturity and prayer I believe we are raising children that know both of their parents love them dearly even though we aren’t all in the same household.
Even if you don’t have a good relationship with the opposite parent, still lift them up in prayer daily.
You might be saying, well Andrea, my kids opposite parent is a deadbeat. They don’t call or come around. My advice to you would still be to always speak life to your children regarding the other parent and still keep them lifted in prayer. Seek God on what to say to your children and allow the Lord to guide you.
I really hope this helps someone. It was on my heart to talk about single parenthood. Its not always easy, but you can and will get through it. You can have joy and peace through the process.
Blessing to you all! Praying for you always