Originally published Tuesday, 19 March 2013.
There is not a mother alive who does not agree that parenting takes hard work and plenty of energy. You can read every parenting book available, attend the most effective parenting seminars, and talk to the best parents you know..and still have unanswered questions! Mothering isn't for the weak. Add the fact that you are a single parent to the mix and it is twice as difficult and overwhelming.
Our children truly are a gift from God - a divine blessing. But no matter how big the blessing, the challenge is just as big. prayer, diligence, and hard work surely abound in every successful mother. Despite our hectic schedules and occasional bumps in the road, we all parent better when we learn that there are a few questions that we should be asking ourselves:
- Am I enjoying my current season?
- Do I realize that God put a gift inside me, and am I actively pursuing it?
- Do I feel good enough - worth of love?
Each of these questions pertains directly to you, the parent. Surprised? In my years of ministry, many moms have come to me with parenting woes and asked for advice. I suspect that many expected me to rattle off a litany of rules, such as "bedtime at 8:00; spank, don't spank; allowance, no allowance; etc." And sometimes I do go into those sorts of things. But more often than not, however, a parent's first step on the journey to parenting effectively is understanding their response to the above-mentioned questions. I've found that many times there is a gaping hole in the life of the single parent (especially in the early years of parenting alone) in reference to how they feel about themselves.
It never ceases to amaze me that when we, as parents, commit to getting our personal lives in order - our spiritual walk, our emotional well-being - that we begin to parent better. We experience the freedom to make tough decisions wisely.
Author/speaker, Jennifer Maggio, is one of the nation’s leading authorities on single parents and women’s issues. She is an award-winning author and founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She currently oversees one of the nation’s largest single moms support groups and has helped to launch more than 1500 others in churches around the globe. She is a regular on radio and television. For more information, visit http://www.thelifeofasinglemom.com.