Mothers are arguably some of the best multi-taskers in the world today. The sheer amount of responsibilities they need to juggle makes them a combination of nurturer, caregiver, teacher, nurse, cheerleader, disciplinarian and more. I would know—I’m a mother, myself. If there is something even more challenging than being a mother, though, it is being a single mother with no parents to help you out.
My situation is a little different from other single mothers, however. Aside from the aforementioned roles, I also took on the additional roles of full-time student and part-time worker. Thankfully, I’ve learned enough from the University of Hard Knocks with respect to balancing school and family life. Most of my time is devoted to caring for my children. My studies take second place, with work coming in third and the remaining fraction of my time left for the rest.
Unfortunately, juggling all of the things I’ve mentioned above does not necessarily translate into calmness and ease all the time. In fact, it often leads to role strain. There are times when I actually wish I had help in the form of a helpmate—someone who could look after the kids while I sought that much-needed break. My children are precious to me, yet there are admittedly days when they seem semi-precious. This most often happens when their needs prevent me from keeping up with my homework. Sometimes, my assignments have to take a backseat to more pressing needs like feeding them, cleaning them or helping them with their own assignments. My social life is almost non-existent as a result of this (Szakaly, “Role Strain in Caregiving”).
The good news is that my part-time job doesn’t really feel like work. In fact, it feels more like an interesting diversion—a chance to go out and meet new people and help someone out. The benefits work both ways: the people I reach out get their needs met and I get the chance to forget my own problems for a while (Howe, “Meeting the Challenge of Being a Single Mom”). It is also a great opportunity for me to connect with someone other than my kids and it helps me grow in a fun way.
Then there are the rough days when the frustration sets in. During these dark times, I continuously remind myself of my reason for doing this precarious balancing act: to provide a better life for my kids. When they are sleeping, I take the time to ground myself, to pray and to ask God for the strength to do what is right (Szakaly, “Role Strain in Caregiving”).
At first glance, it would seem as if I am the sum of these statuses and nothing more. Most people look at me and see a struggling mother, a part-time worker and a student, and rightly so, for these things are part of my current life. However, I am working hard to be more than just them. I know that God put me on Earth for a reason. Part of my life’s meaning comes from discovering that reason and living it out to the best of my ability. One day, I will not only live out my potential—I will transcend it as well.
In closing, I see my status as a single mother as a supreme challenge. It tests my conviction and my courage on a daily basis to the point where I question and doubt myself. Nevertheless, all it takes is a prayer and one look at my sleeping children to get me back on track. As God has showed me time and time again, it is in dying to myself daily and in trusting Him completely that I discover the person that I really am and the life that I am truly meant to live.
Howe, Michele. “Meeting the Challenge of Being a Single Mom.” Powertochange.com.
Power to Change Ministries, n.d. Web. 26 April 2012.
Szakaly, Jennifer. “Role Strain in Caregiving.” Jenniferszakaly.hubpages.com.
Hubpages, n.d. Web. 26 April 2012.