Jennifer Maggio is considered a leading authority on single parents and womens issues. She is an award-winning author and speaker who draws from her own experiences through abuse, homelessness, and teen pregnancy to inspire audiences everywhere. She is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries and writes for dozens of publications. She has been featured with hundreds of media outlets, including The 700 Club, Daystar Television, Moody Radio, Focus on the Family, and many more. For more information, visit thelifeofasinglemom.com.
With 15 million single mothers in the United States today, it is likely that you know a single mom. Maybe you were raised by one and saw how hard she worked to make ends meet and effectively balance the demands on her time. Many of the single mothers in our lives are juggling car pool, daycare, two jobs, or maybe career and secondary education. The list of demands are endless. We implore the body of Christ to actively look for ways to invest in single mothers and their children. Impact a single mom. Impact her children. Impact a nation.
That said, how can we, as loving, compassionate, members of the global body of Christ, reach out and show love to single mothers? Maybe the single parents in your life seem like they have it all together. There are some amazingly, strong single mothers today, and many are achieving success parentally and emotionally, while finding great freedom in their walk with the Lord. But even those strong, amazing single moms could use an occasional helping hand.
Here are a few practical ways to brighten a single mothers’s day:
1. Babysit for free and do it often! Single mothers often work many hours per week and do not want to ask for help. They may even work a second or third job, or may be attending a local college, too. Babysitting can be expensive. Encourage single mothers in your life to take the night off. Even if a single mom has adequate childcare during the day, while she works, it is very unlikely that she is ever taking a night off to do something special for herself (or simply sleep)! Make an offer to babysit her children for an afternoon or evening, so that she can get a few things done around the house. (It is always recommended that a strong relationship exist prior to making an offer to babysit one’s children).
2. Offer to grocery shop for her. Shopping is a simple task, but shopping alone with three children hanging from the buggy can seem overwhelming. The simple task of collecting groceries for the week may not seem like much, but this act of kindness can alleviate stress from a single mom’s regular routine and save her time that can be devoted to other things.
3. Give her some girl time. Sometimes the best way to serve a single mom is to invite her for coffee for some adult conversation. The Lord created us for fellowship. We know how important Godly friends in our lives are to our ability to grow, fellowship, and enjoy life. Unfortunately, when times are busy and the demands of a schedule take over, friend time is often the first thing to go. Get to know a single mom in your church or community. Give her a listening ear. Give the opportunity to talk about something meaningful – her hopes and dreams. Let her know that you see her and that she is not alone.
4. Start a single mom support group in your church. What a way to be the body of Christ! Start a Bible study or Sunday School class just for single moms. Give them a place to feel comfortable and welcomed inside your church walls. It is estimated that approximately 2 out of 3 single mothers in the United States do not have a church home. Often, single mothers feel they are the only single mom in their church or community. A single mom’s support group or Bible study gives single moms the opportunity to fellowship with others who are in a similar life season. Single mom’s ministries also give opportunities for new single moms to attend your local church, already knowing there will be a place for them to fit in and belong. The Life of a Single Mom Ministries has worked with more than 1,500 churches of varying sizes and denominations, around the world, to assist in starting, growing, or improving a single mom’s ministry and outreach program, and we’re glad to help you get started. (Even if you are not the one who should lead the ministry, committing to begin the dialogue with your church leadership is a great way to serve single moms. God will bring along the facilitator at just the right time).
5. Wash & fold clothes.
6. Buy a single mom a free car wash or oil change.
7. Create a homemade gift that has an encouraging Scripture on it. Or use several Scriptures and write them on notecards or index cards that she can strategically place throughout her home, employment, and car, as a reminder of her Heavenly Father’s love for her.
8. Rent a movie and provide popcorn for a movie night. Movie nights are a great way to provide entertainment for both single moms and their children, while also providing an opportunity to get to know her better.
9. Offer to do some yard work. Whether she’s a homeowner or renter, many single moms have the pressure of keeping their yard manicured. Perhaps it is even an extra expense for her already-tight budget. Offering to cut the yard for her on occasion is a great way to show the love of Christ.
10. Perform carpentry, home repairs, and odd & end jobs. Married women often have what is referred to as a “honey-do list” for their spouses to perform on the weekend. Maybe a single mom has a leaky sink, stubborn faucet, or some other light home repairs. For the handy man, this could be a practical way to serve. (NOTE: We recommend that all men serve in groups of 3 or more. For more details on how men can serve single mothers and widows, visit New Commandment Men’s Ministries).
11. Clean her house or apartment. A little toilet bowl cleaner and windex can go a long way to show the love of Christ to a worn out single mother.
12. Buy her lunch. This is a creative way to not only save a single mom a few dollars, but bless her with some adult company while doing so.
13. Write a handwritten, personal note to a single mom in your life. Let her know how much she is loved and cared for, how valuable she is to her children and community, and highlight Scriptures of encouragement.
14. Provide gas money or groceries.
15. Save your travel-sized toiletries from hotel rooms and donate them to her. Toiletries can be expensive, and many hotels offer high-quality toiletries, free-of-charge that are often thrown away when a guest checks out.
16. Cook a meal, or even help plan meals for the week. A slow-cooker meal requires almost no time to prepare, but can mean a great deal to a mom who is struggling to keep food on the table for her children. Helping to plan meals for the week may be another way to remove the burden from her shoulder.
17. Start a running or walking group where single moms can bring their kids for exercise & girl-time. This can become a great time of community fellowship that can also double as a great way for the kids to get exercise.
18. Give a single mom a rose. In some cases, it could have been months or years since a single mother has receive fresh flowers. Discount stores and grocery stores often sell a dozen roses for $10.99 or less. What a beautiful gesture.
19. Bring cookies & baked goods to her home with an encouraging note. Or offer to bake cookies with her children while she takes a nap.
20. Bring a gift basket full of goodies. Some ideas could include cleaning supplies, toiletries, great women’s devotionals, candy, bottled waters, hair products, smelling lotions, or something similar.
21. Offer a day of window shopping, coffee, and a ride through town. It seems like a small act of kindness, but many of the single mothers we’ve worked with say that their lives consist of home, work, home, work, home, work, and they often feel they are “losing themselves” in the day-to-day grind of parenting and working.
22. Visit a single mom! Make regular visits part of your weekly or monthly routine. Maybe the single mom lost her husband unexpectedly to an illness and she’s grieving. Maybe she has never actively been in a local church and isn’t comfortable trying it out yet. Whatever the reason, make it a point to visit a single mom regularly. It just may save her life!
23. Commit to praying for a single mom regularly. Whether she knows it or not, make her (and her children) part of your regular prayer time. Pray for her children, like you pray for your own. Pray for financial provision, wisdom, favor with her employer, protection of her lives, healing for a wounded heart, and rest. Commit to lift her up to the Lord. She needs it.
24. Offer tutoring or homework services for her children. When a mom has worked an 8-10 hour day and then has to come home to prepare dinner, wash the clothes for the evening, clean the house, and do homework, it can be exhausting. Maybe one night a week, offer to do homework with her children. (This is especially helpful if you have children that are similar in age who may be taking similar classes).
25. Surprise her with a special gift. Gifts don’t require lots of money. They require thought. The most beautiful gifts given are those who have a meaningful purpose. You can visit any dollar store or discount store and find beautiful journals for less than $5. Years may have passed since this single mom has received a special just-because gift.
Jennifer Maggio is founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries (TLSM). TLSM exists to ensure that no single mom walks alone. The global nonprofit, headquartered, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has worked with more than 1,500 churches to establish or grow a single mom’s ministry and outreach program. Additionally, the organization hosts events and provides curriculum, Bible studies, online education opportunities, newsletters, live chats, and free podcasts and videos for single mom encouragement. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.