I laughed when I read the tagline of this blog: “Do Family Better.” If I am totally honest, I think that is the one area I struggle most. As a single mom, there are days when I want to figure out where I put that darn cape—you know the one that says, “Single Mom’s the Bomb Dot Com.” It makes me superhuman—able to wake up without coffee, have a lovely family breakfast at the table (complete with devotions and a deeply spiritual prayer time), work my full time job, shop for groceries, cook a lovely three course dinner, mow the grass, pay the bills, do the laundry, fix a broken toilet, do homework, and keep my house remarkable…wrapping it all up by 6:00pm so there is still time for the perfect family bike ride. Whew!
But since I can’t find my superhero cape, my day normally goes completely differently.
My kids know not to talk to me until I am halfway through my second cup of coffee.
I have bowls out with cereal on the table. Sometimes I pour it, sometimes the kids do. Normally I am saying, “Come on…come on…If you miss the bus, you’re going to have to walk to school.” Devotions and prayer time in the mornings as a single mom with three kids aren’t happening. I am 100% sure God knows and understands. I shower somewhere in there so I am ready to start work as soon as the kids get on the bus.
Most of the time, I am still working when I realize the bus is pulling up and it is already 4:00 pm, and I have not even thought about dinner or pulling that meat out of the freezer. I tell myself, “I’ll go to the store tomorrow.” I then remember it’s family night at Chick-fil-A and kids eat free. Kids eat free is music to a single mom’s ears!
I then realize, as we are pulling out of the driveway, that I am probably going to get written up for having grass that is too tall, so I call the sweet teenager down the street and beg him to fit me into his mowing schedule just one more time. It’s not in my budget, but I still don’t know how to use the weed eater, so it’s worth the $25, right?
When we get home from Chick-fil-A, I am trying to rush to get the homework done because I know the ADD meds are going to wear off – HURRY!
In a day or two I will remember that the laundry is still piling up and I still need to beg someone’s husband or my dad to come look at the leaky toilet. (I have no idea what to do with those tools that were left in my garage.)
Our days normally ends at 8:30 pm with prayers and hopes that tomorrow we will have time for the bike ride and more of a “devotion” time (and occasionally we do).
Soon after, I crash. Because you know what? It all starts again at 5:00 am tomorrow.
This really is the reality of my life, and I have learned not to just survive it but
to love it,
to let things go,
and to admit that I just can’t do it all.
And I think through that I have learned what really matters.
Deuteronomy 6:6 -7 “And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”
I have this verse taped to my pantry door as a constant reminder—in the middle of the fast paced, cereal breakfast—that we can talk about the things of God.
When the kids get off the bus and we’re doing homework, we talk about loving God and loving others. When we are making the mad dash to the “Kids Eat Free” restaurant, I enjoy the quiet time in the car. And when we are seated, I make the best of the uninterrupted time at the table talking about their day and the blessings God has given us that day.
As a single mom, allowing God to be our everything, woven into the everyday moments is my goal. Because let’s face it. It is a three to one ratio, and sometimes there is just not enough of me or enough time in the day. Sometimes He is all we’ve got. And isn’t it amazing that He is all we need?
Love on the single parents in your life. We need all the help we can get!
Amy Fenton has been in kids ministry for more than twenty years. She has helped create content for several companies including ReThink, LifeWay, Word Entertainment, and Universal Music. She has a passion for helping and empowering those who are leading Kids Ministries around the country and a love for the volunteers. Amy’s greatest joy in life comes from her three kids, Jadyn, Pierce and Blaze and the crazy fun life they live in Nashville. You can follow her on twitter @amymfenton.