Fear or Rational Interpretation?

Various life circumstances and situations mold and shape who we are as individuals. We use those experiences as platforms for how we view ourselves, others and how we interpret what is good or bad or what felt positive or negative.

As single parents we deal with emotional struggles as others do, but specifically there are situations that we have found ourselves in that require perspective.  Is this fear talking or is this my rational interpretation?

Being completely transparent, I have endured situations that cause my emotional wall to easily shoot up and block out any remote possibility of being hurt. I have learned through my circumstances what I need and do not need in the relationships that surround me. I keep myself somewhat private and reserved with most but every so often find someone whom I confide and put my trust in. I am also very sensitive to the "warning signs" that this person is no longer able to be in that role based on my previous experiences.  I am forced to stop and think: Is the fear talking or is this my rational interpretation?

Sure, listening to warning signs comes with experience and wisdom. Knowing the difference between fear and rational thinking is key. When I realize that I've been placed in a situation where my emotional wall has shot up, I stop.  I pray. I think of what is prompting my reaction. If it is fear then I confront the "why" question and move toward resolve. If it is a rational interpretation, then I listen and I move away from the circumstance.

This may seem like common sense, but I've met many single parents who were hurt in one way or another and left to parent alone. They act out of fear in most cases and I too, find myself guilty of that reaction.  Find the balance and look at every situation with rational interpretation.  Fear will consume and that is not where you want to live.

No Presents on Father's Day

This Father's Day I didn't receive any presents.  No pats on the back.  No "thank you". No card that says how much I'm cared for.  You know why?  I'm not a Dad. 

I'm sure to stir up some controversy with this because I often see posts on social media or hear comments of how a single parent has to play both the mother and father role and therefore should be recognized on both holidays.   I believe however, that there is a reason that we have Mother's Day and Father's Day as two separate holidays in two separate months.  They are two completely separate roles.  Just because there is not a father in the picture does not automatically make the holiday default to me as someone who is filling both shoes. 

Sure, single parents may carry 100% of the emotional, financial and household burdens but the role of Mother was created by God to be filled by a woman.  The role of Father can only be filled with a man.  There are specific qualities that reside in each of the sexes to be able to fulfill their role as intended.  Although I may do things that one could claim as the father's role, I perform these tasks the way a woman would and not a man.  There are things in life and about my son that I will not be able to teach him. There is a necessity for a man to teach a boy how to grow into a man. 

Moms, hear me out. I celebrate you and the tremendous responsibility you hold each and every day. Just be very careful about how you position yourselves on the topic of being both a mother and a father. There is nothing in the Bible that supports that stance.

These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 
"You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your 
house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up."
Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Combating Loneliness

As single parents we can often find ourselves in situations that can cause feelings of loneliness. Sometimes they affect us and sometimes they do not. Although we are strong and push through with our "brave face" on, there can still be feelings deep down that we are forced to deal with and overcome.

Some of these situations include:
Walking into an awards ceremony at our child's school, alone.
Showing up to a family day at church, without a spouse.
Wanting to join a marriage class to learn how to love properly, but we are unattached.
Tucking our children into bed then sitting in a quiet house, alone.
Going to a restaurant and hearing, "Just one adult menu?"
Sitting in church during a marriage series.
School meetings for "parents of" and you show up alone.
Celebrating Mother's Day or Father's Day without the attributing parent around. 

Whichever circumstance you find yourself feeling alone in, shame, guilt or loneliness are not fun feelings.  I am not a scholar or a learned professional with what goes on in the mind of someone during these times, however from personal experience I have a few tips to help combat those feelings that often accompany single parenthood.

1) Join up with another single parent of the same gender and be a support system.
2) Start up your own single parent group to engage on topics that are important to singles for discussion without discomfort.
3) Pick up a hobby that you enjoy doing after hours when the kiddos are in bed. It will keep your mind busy and your heart full.
4) Bless someone else on special holidays that make you feel lonely. The best way to combat loneliness is to love on someone else.
5) Most of all think of the blessings you have in your life instead of what is missing.
6) Realize that you are not the first nor the last person to encounter the feeling of loneliness. 
7) Hold your head high and acknowledge that you are likely noticing your "aloneness" more than those around you.
8) Journal or have some sort of outlet for expressing your feelings.
9) Exercise.  Physical activity is proven to boost your happiness.
10) Eat right.  Food plays a huge factor in depression and negative feelings.

Have more tips? Write them below!