“You have single mother’s disease,” my counselor told me with a slight upturn of his lips.
I stopped talking about how hard it was to get everything done while working and raising two children alone.
He sat forward and looked me in the eyes. “Single mother’s disease. You want to do everything. You think you should do everything. You don’t ask for help.” He leaned back. “Every single mother I’ve met has this disease.”
I wanted to argue with him, but I knew it was true. If I asked for help, I admitted failure.
His smile grew as he watched me struggle internally with this.
“I don’t want others to think I’m not strong, that I can’t do this.”
His voice soft and assuring he said, “But you are strong, and you can’t do all of this. When you need help, you have to let people help you.”
Wow! This conversation occurred many, many years ago, but I’ve never forgotten it. The world was a crazy and busy place then, and it’s only gotten worse. We can’t do it alone, whether we are single parents, a two-parent family, or grandparents thrown into the role of raising kids again. It’s impossible. It does take a village, and our village should be people put in our lives by God.
Those who trust in themselves are fools,
but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe. Proverbs 28:26
We can’t do it all, but we try. We say we trust God, but we don’t let Him help.
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22
I feared the outcome. What if no one helped me? What if no one cared. Could I really trust God to help me with the things I couldn’t do? The psalmist says he will never let me be shaken if I hand my troubles over. I believed it in theory, but in application? Nope. I trusted me.
I learned, a step at a time, to hand things over.
God provides people to help us. Sometimes, they show up with a helping hand. Sometimes we have to ask. This is extremely difficult for a single parent to do. If you look around you, you will find single parents who look like they are completely in control. They are like the duck, calm on the surface but paddling like crazy underneath. Lend them a hand whether they ask for it or not. You both will be blessed.
I haven’t been a single parent in over twenty years, but I still struggle with this disease. Just two days ago, I needed help, but I couldn’t bring myself to ask anyone, not even the person who earlier in the day told me she would help if I needed it. Out of sheer exhaustion, I finally gave in and contacted her. She could help, but it became obvious quickly that it threw her plans a little off kilter. So, what did I do? I told her never mind. God bless her for refusing to hear me. She did what I asked of her with a smile and assurance that it was not a hardship. She even offered to do more than I asked of her.
Whether we are single parents or not, I believe each of us suffer from this affliction. The busier the world is, the more we suffer. Sometimes, though, we need to let go, hand it over to God, and take the help that’s offered.
Do you or someone you know suffer from Single Parents’ Disease? What can you do to help or change?