5 Thoughtful Ways to Love and Support a Single Mom
Being a single mom is a unique struggle. Not only does she deal with the loss of a relationship—be it through a break-up, divorce, or death—but she also single-handedly bears the responsibility of a child.
People tend to treat single moms one of two ways—as invisible, or with judgment. Neither is the way to go.
I’m personally convinced that God’s command to take care of orphans and widows applies to women abandoned by divorce. If death did not take her husband, a court-order and a hardened heart did. She’s left with a lot of the same burdens (emotionally, financially, and physically) as a widow—and she bears the additional weight of knowing her spouse chose to leave her behind. It’s a different kind of ache.
If you’ve come across a single mom in your church, chances are you’ve wondered what happened to make her single. Did she choose divorce? Does she deserve help?
Perhaps you came to the end of your questions and walked away, not knowing whether you ought to be involved. Maybe you sighed in relief, grateful that it was her and not you. Or maybe you wanted to do something but figured there weren’t a lot of ways to help.
But there is something you can do to help. Here are five ways to show love and support to a single mom.
- Listen and speak encouragement.
Remember those questions you have about her situation? She knows you’re wondering. And most of the time, she’d be glad to tell you her story—if you’re willing to listen and not judge. She needs to feel safe, loved, and heard.
Offer to grab coffee sometime and hear her story. Pull her aside at church and tell her you’ve been praying for her. Odds are, she’ll tear up and thank you with a hug.
Many single moms feel judgment 24/7, be it from others or just themselves. They constantly fight the lies in their head telling them they are failing. Remind them of God’s love for them and that He sees them. I’m forever grateful that He met me during my years of storms. Be that voice of truth for a single mom in your community.
- Offer to babysit.
Time alone is rare for single moms. They are constantly in fierce-mama-bear-protector mode and rarely get time away from their kids.
They might be blessed enough to have family nearby to help, but a lot of women don’t have that local support.
Offer to babysit during an upcoming dentist or doctor appointment, or see if her kids would be interested in a play date with yours while she takes an hour for herself. Keep in mind that when you offer, she’s probably going to reject it—but keep offering. Eventually, she’ll take you up on it when she sees you are being genuine.
Remember the mama-bear mode? She’s extra careful about who is an influence on her children because they’re also walking through their own pain. She won’t let them spend time with just anyone. Earn her trust and keep it—you’ll both be blessed.
- Buy her gift cards to treat herself.
Most single moms struggle to spend their time and money on themselves, even though they’re desperately in need of doing so. If you give them cash or generic gift cards, they’re going to end up spending them on something practical or on something for their children. It’s just engrained in their survival instincts. If there’s a need of this sort, by all means—please meet it. But if there’s not, or if you have extra money to spare, get her a gift card that she can only spend on herself. For example, a gift card to:
- A spa
- A nail salon
- Her favorite women’s clothing store
- Dance lessons
- An art/crafting class
These are gifts she’d probably never buy for herself, and also provide her an opportunity to meet people. Blessing her in this way reminds her that she’s still a woman and a child of God with an identity in Christ outside of being a tired mama.
- Feed her.
One of the most time-consuming stresses on a single mom’s day is cooking. If there’s a night where she can pop a premade casserole into the oven, it’s one of the best nights of her life.
Even for moms who enjoy cooking, the time it takes to put a meal on the table—especially a healthy one—consumes her night. More than likely, she’s exhausted and trying to juggle homework, housework, and cooking dinner for picky eaters, all at the expense of spending quality time with her kids and taking a minute for herself to breathe.
Shaving off an hour of prepping and cooking is a gift not to be taken lightly. There’s really no good reason not to. Even if you’re not a cook, you can certainly can call a food-delivery service and have pizza, Chinese, or a chicken dinner delivered at the press of a few buttons and the swipe of your credit card. It’ll bless her more than you realize.
If you do enjoy cooking, a home-cooked meal is even better. She and her kids might not have that luxury very often.
- Help her kids love on her.
Holidays are hard on single moms for obvious reasons. But sometimes, also for practical ones. She very likely doesn’t have someone to take her kids shopping for her on Christmas, her birthday, or Mother’s Day. Even if she has local support from her family, take the initiative to help her kids surprise her randomly.
If it’s not a holiday, create your own “Celebrate Mama” day and get them the supplies to make thank-you cards for her, or simply new art for the fridge. Remember, her kids are going through their own battles and aren’t necessarily equipped with the ideas or means to give her gifts or make her smile right now. Help them out by offering to take them to the store and pick out a small gift, or picking up some (age-appropriate) craft supplies and making a surprise project.
Remember, not only is a single mom working through her own pain, she’s also trying to help her children navigate theirs. She is forced to do the work of two parents, all while coping with her own emotions and keeping a brave front for her kids. Receiving a gift from her children blesses her in a unique way and soothes some of those achy spots. It reminds her that her hard work is worth it, and that she’s not alone.
If these methods of help don’t resonate or aren’t something you can afford right now, remember you can always pray. Prayer isn’t a last resort for a single mom, it’s the only resort. She is physically, spiritually, and emotionally incapable of making it through this incredibly hard season in life without prayer.
Pray for her family’s protection. Pray for her heart. Pray for her children’s emotional healing. Pray for the Lord to bless them financially. Pray for her potential future spouse. Pray for wisdom and discernment and for truth to be heard over lies. Prayer is a precious gift that’s free—and yet, at the same time, priceless.
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