on being a single mom

Sometimes I wish I could just talk freely about what it is like to be a single parent.

I don’t like to. I like to hide, honestly, behind the cloak of busy. And I keep myself moving and moving and moving trying to numb those areas in life where I don’t really want to talk about.

And then sometimes I find myself looking at others and smiling and nodding and then thinking no one wants to hear about that, right? Where’s the joy? Isn’t it more interesting talking about the next project or holiday or what we’ll be making for dinner and smiling and nodding and doing the half interested wave at each other?

And then sometimes I stand in my room and I look around and I feel so utterly and completely alone.

I deal with so many questions all the time.

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Not from the world.

From me.

Are you insane? Why weren’t you worth it? Your kids will hate you forever. Why didn’t you try harder? You don’t measure up? What will you do? How will you make ends meet? What if you are alone the rest of your life? What do they think of you? 

And I just get lost in those moments of self pity.

So I thought that instead of just thinking thinking thinking about what it’s like and wishing that people understood that perhaps I would just write about this part of life. Maybe you’re a single mom. Or not. But chances are you know one (or a dad) and one of the biggest things that I deal with is feeling alone and misunderstood.

Different.

Like I don’t measure up in the world’s hierarchy of love, success, and awesomeness in life. After all, most happily ever after love stories don’t end up the way my life ended up. But but but I’ve come to realize that just because life doesn’t have all the glitter and perfectness that it doesn’t negate the beauty, purpose, joy, or wonderfulness that can saturate a life.

So I decided to write my heart, from me to all of you, in the hopes that it blesses you or gives you a glimpse into the world of being a single mom.

Here goes.

It’s a struggle. It’s lonely. You deal with guilt and wonder and hope and lots and lots and lots of work. You deal with jealousy and feeling like you’re not worth being loved or fighting for.  You deal with going out with other couples and feeling like the odd one out. Or you deal with sitting at a restaurant with couples for your 40th birthday and the waiter asking you now who are you with? and you say, with a broken smile on your face it’s just me.

Because that’s what single parenting is. It’s a whole lot of just me moments in life.

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It’s easy to judge from the outside. It’s easy to say that you always look sad or that the person messed up or all of that. Don’t judge. Please please please don’t judge. Judging doesn’t make us stronger as a human culture. Judging divides.

Instead love.

Give. Listen. Have empathy. Give a hand. Take the kids at times.

But really really just love and be there.

I look at my life and from the outside to the world it could look like a crazy mess and that I have so much to do and you know what? It really truly is – the lots to do and manage part but not the crazy mess part. It may be crazy but it doesn’t automatically equal a mess.

Life can be redeemed.

Now know that there are hard things. Like the truth that there really isn’t a moment where there are breaks – there isn’t the opportunity to roll over and hit snooze or to get sick and get back up. There are moments of tears and I hate you’s and just a whole lot of hard work.

I could dwell on all of that. But the reason I tell you that is this – if someone who is single and parenting on their own or having a huge burden to carry no matter what the reason don’t tell them that you have that too. Because until you’re faced with always making dinner and sitting in teacher conferences alone you don’t understand the real weight of sitting in a home all alone at night. And sometimes the I understand comments actually hurt worse because even if they’re good and full of intentions it’s really really hard to understand the day in and day out and day in out lonely that can happen.

So listen. Love. Let the tears fall when they need to.

So now, this cannot be a downer post. And it’s not going to be. Trust me. This is about being real and finding joy and living a life with intention and not sitting in muck and despair and self-pity. That doesn’t get us anywhere. That keeps us stuck.

So we move bravely onward and forward making hard choices and being determined to see beauty in ordinary.

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In fact one of the biggest thing I’ve learned in my journey is the power of friendship. I’ve learned how people stand up and how people who I thought were friends hide and disappear. I’ve learned that there are those in my life who are available at all hours. Be one of those friends. Don’t be a friend who doesn’t want to get in the dirt with that other person. Love them.

Give grace.

That’s one last thing. Give grace for moments of tears. Even if the situation is better and right for them. Give grace. There is still a moment – a releasing of the Hallmark dreams of life and 43rd anniversaries and someone to laugh with when your kids do something crazy – that is lost just a bit. So grace matters so so so much.

Just don’t disappear.

Be there. Love them. Support them. Don’t exclude.

Do you know that in the last couple of years I’ve discovered a strength that I didn’t know I had? I realized that I can stay caught up on laundry and dishes and that I can do this. It’s really really really hard but I’m a fighter.

That’s what I tell myself every morning when my alarm goes off at 6:30am and I had gone to bed at 1am because I was working so that I can pay for all the things that need to be payed for and so that I can spend $5.99 on a MineCraft book at the school book fair just because. You know why?

I love my kids.

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I love my kids fiercely.

We all love our kids. 

So friends. Those are my words. Am I an unhappy person? No. Not at all. I was just told that I seemed unhappy – but you see it was a judgment made on the surface not a real get to know you in the dirt there for you statement. Do you know that I’m happy? And I’ve learned about life and real deep joy. I’ve been made to come face to face with myself and wrestle my own fears. And I’ve learned the power in the words I matter and I am enough and bravery.

That’s what I want you to walk away with.

Not pity.

But rather camaraderie.

After all we all want to raise our children to be amazing.

We’re stronger united. 

~Rachel

ps. thank you for the likes and shares of this post. especially if it gets this in front of one mom right now who needs to hear how much she matters and how she is loved.

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88 Responses to “on being a single mom”

  1. February 12, 2015

    Shannon Reply

    From one (prior) single mom to another, you are so right! I LOVE this post. There are times you get wrapped up in the lonely evenings, lost in House re-runs and sleeping on the couch with a dog that is TOO big to be a lap dog because you just simply cannot stand sleeping alone in your own bed. Those times you cry alone, in the hallway because no-one understands…. BUT then there are those times where your true joy, those beautiful messy kids, show you how important YOU are to them! You see the smiles on their faces when YOU are there for their school play, their baseball games, their first time speaking in front of the church – when they wrap you up in those stinky little boy hugs.. lol I wish sometimes I could just hug every single mom I see, just to offer some support- but I remember one of the biggest fears I had was someone noticing and judging, so I almost would have preferred to just be ignored.. so I silently pray for each and every single mom I know and offer help when I can. Great post.

  2. February 12, 2015

    Marisa Reply

    I have been those shoes, and there is nothing like them. There is tiredness, but there is triumph. God bless your honesty.You wrote it beautifully.

  3. February 12, 2015

    Kate Sorensen Reply

    I LOVE YOUR POST Rachel. To me you exude confidence and can make anyone feel wrapped in joy from across the room. Go on, girl – go get ’em!

    Hugs!!! Kate from Iowa

  4. February 12, 2015

    Michelle Reply

    I’ve never responded to a blog post before. These words are my experience. I’m a single mom. I’m a full time RN. I sometimes feel like I’m
    Doing everything but not ever enough all at once. The parent conferences done alone, the nights in the house, the laundry and the dishes and the minecraft book, the “now who are you with”…I’m overwhelmed. I’m glad you wrote this. Thanks

  5. February 12, 2015

    Katherine Reply

    Thank you so much for this. I am right there with you, though the wound of heartbreak and broken promises is a bit newer. Tonight I took our first official family photo of four instead five for the church directory. It was both an act of defiance — to defy shutting myself away in shame — and an act of preservation — to preserve the family as I now know it. My soon-to-be-ex left me and then rose to prominence in his job, casting me aside without even a thank you, me who supported him through all the schooling and student loans and helped push him up the ladder. Those voices inside our heads sound so very real, but they are merely spooks. Quieting those ghosts rattling inside our skulls is so important, or they will eat us alive. God bless our friends, and God bless you, Rachel.

    • March 19, 2015

      Karla Reply

      You will cherish that first official picture with just you and your kids!! It’s so hard, but God will see you through. And your kids will always remember your bravery and treasure how you loved them even when you didn’t feel so loved yourself! Blessings

  6. February 13, 2015

    Lynn Reply

    My comments rarely seem to post so don’t know if you ever even see them but had to respond to this one. My heart aches that you’re going through this. I don’t understand what happened, but don’t need to. What I can do is pray! And oh how I pray! I pray for you ever single day and most days at least twice a day! Am always here if you need me, even if it’s just to write and say “pray.” The Lord knows the needs!

  7. February 13, 2015

    Christine Reply

    in all the time I have been following you, I would never have guessed you were a single parent to your kids. To me, that says that do it with grace and joy. And your love for your kids shines through.

  8. February 13, 2015

    Tammy Henry Reply

    I have been a single mom for more than twelve years. I left an abusive marriage when my daughter was nine months old, she just turned thirteen years old. I’ve dated a ton but just never met “the one”. And I know I’ve been judged along the way, “what’s wrong with her?” “Why can’t she keep it together?” The truth is because I don’t need to and I want to teach my daughter that true happiness comes from within. You must be able to love, laugh and cherish, stand up for and respect yourself before you let others. That’s how you know who you really are and the depths of your compassion and strength to not only love yourself but to love others while not expecting anything in return. And for that I have raised a beautiful, well respected and humble daughter who will grow up loving, respecting and knowing who she really is. And that is what attracts REAL love.
    So maybe for now I haven’t been able to have that true partner in life, but I’ve taught her how to be that partner so someday she will attract REAL love. I’m okay with giving up things so that I know the depths of love and blessings my daughter will receive and so will you.
    I many times have guilt that she didn’t grow up in a “normal” home with two parents and other siblings, not enough money to buy groceries and not being able to afford trips and fun things. BUT, I traded that for the most beautiful relationship I would have never had with my daughter if I would have stayed married or gotten remarried. I got to hold my daughters hand many nights as she slept. I got to hear her giggle in her sleep because she was so near me, I got lots of time to tell her stories about when she was younger and time to laugh with her while others were rushing to make dinner and get kids off to sports. I have been blessed with a beautiful closeness that others will never know and for that I am grateful. It’s not about what you don’t have, it’s about what you do have. Embrace it and enjoy the moments you have, some parents will never know what those are like. You HAVE something they don’t this time.

  9. February 13, 2015

    gailenanna Reply

    I am so thrilled that you wrote this! Not because I am happy that you feel this way. But, because it is so easy to feel like we are connected to total strangers on facefook. Like I am really friends with you!
    Just this morning, I was wondering how you are able to access joy. I am also a single mom, still living with the dead beat father of children, trying to get out. Sometimes, I want to hide, I feel ashamed, everything that happened to me, evry choice or not choice was public. I made some of it public, because I needed help and because keeping it inside was eating me alive. I regret making it public. I thought that the people who knew me, would be understanding. Some were but mostly, they recoiled or felt embarrassed for me.I told my truth. Not the glossy, photo’s of part of my life, but all of my life. Sometimes, when the weight of all of this is too much, and it is almost always too much everyday, I feel dwarfed and small as I walk down the street and run into people. My kids feel this too. Like when you ere little and you fell, and everybody laughed and your cheeks burnt, red with shame.
    I wanted compassion, and to have friends on my side. Feeling isolated in what was going on, and overwhelmed, I wrote about tit. Because from the time, I learned how to write, I have written. Every single morning.
    I am glad to know you. I am not glad that you are struggling. I am glad I am not alone.
    For about two years, I have wanted to start a blog: But, the pain often is so close to the surface, that I am unable to write out the optimism, that you share in finding joy, because right now, there doesn’t feel like there is much joy. Though of course through out the day, their is joy, but it is often buried under the weight of trying to survive and keep up the pretenses of a normal, I am okay, life.So, again , I thank you..

    • February 14, 2015

      Dee Reply

      Don’t feel bad about making it public. In much the same way we attract toxic partners, lovers, husbands, wives, we attract toxic friendships. Just as you would not want to stay in a bad marriage, you don’t want to keep toxic friendships alive. They are either true friends or they are not. If they laughed, ridiculed, or judged you for the relationship you were in, then be glad that revealing your truth exposed their true stance. You don’t need people like that in your life.

      Some folks say that this approach leaves you lonely. I say that you are only truly lonely when you can’t live just with yourself. You can be surrounded by people and still be lonely. If you have more than a few friends that you consider TRUE friends, you aren’t being selective enough, or honest enough.

  10. February 13, 2015

    Dee Reply

    I think it is that fierce love for our children that gives us the strength to power on and find the strength for each day. Yes it is hard to get the most out of the parent teacher conferences when they are happening at the same time for each child and you must stand in a line to talk to each teacher. I found it necessary to prioritize and know in advance which teachers it was most important to talk with for each child. This means a parent needs to be all ears when their children talk and listen attentively and maybe even ask questions to draw the quiet child out about school and friends. Encourage children to choose good friends.

    To this day (and my children are now adults) my son and daughter mean the world to me. They are precious. They are my friends. I am proud of them and the amazing, mature, giving, loving people they are. My single mothers heart is full of empathy. I cry for others who must walk this life and make very hard choices. Sometimes those choices go against the grain of everything once believed or hoped for in life. It is imperative as a single mom, or single dad to envision new dreams, they will be different, but the new dreams lived out can be fulfilling too.

    It is extremely important to be a “the glass is half full” type of person, not half empty. It is important to give children love, affirmation, as much time as we can carve out, and build their self-esteem, they need reassurance and stability. They need a parent who is emotionally present, not distant. Throughout life we must fight for our kids and support what is in their best interests. We must be there for them as much as we can because that alone gives them a legacy which will enhance their lives. Choose joy.

  11. February 13, 2015

    Jen Reply

    I admire your boldness. The ability to put into words all those things I think daily. The “I understands” that make you think in your head no you really don’t. The comments of I’m a single parent for a week. Well that’s not really true when someone is coming back. I get this. I’ve had almost 11 years of being a single mom to 4 children. The old saying you don’t realize how strong you can be until you have no choice. Thank you thank you thank you. You have helped me to see there are truly other moms like me out there. I enjoy reading your posts and always take something positive out of them

  12. February 13, 2015

    Hannah Miller Reply

    THANK YOU! This post seemed to speak directly to me! Being a single mother is a full time, extremely demanding, difficult, ever-changing job, but it is the greatest one I’ve ever had! While money does pour down on my children and me, love, laughter,and peace do. Yes, we need a break from it,but being away from them is excruciatingly difficult, too. My only hope, no, prayer is that they understand that the reasons for the way our lives are is not their fault and they learn how to forgive both their father and me for our shortcomings.

  13. February 13, 2015

    Shana Reply

    Thank you so much AGAIN for writing about your life. You have helped me find joy in the short time that I started reading your blog. I am a mom of twin boys and have been raising them single-handedly while working full-time for their entire 4+ years. Only for the last few months have I found the real joy of being able to do so without living with their father. While I am not yet officially divorced, I feel the euphoria of not having to see my kids’ father on a daily basis undercut by the pain of those “friends” you wrote about judging me because I kept the dirty secret of an abuse relationship for so long. Now that I am finally standing up for myself and saving the kids from witnessing things that no children should ever have to witness, those so-called friends are nowhere to be found. Instead, I have found new friends. Your blog helped me realize that I wasn’t alone and gave me the strength to do it even though I felt alone. For that, I will always be grateful. Thank you.

  14. February 13, 2015

    Angela Reply

    Amen….
    Although I’ve NEVER felt the self pity, pretty much everything else hits the nail on the head.
    The judgement, from the other moms at the school especially, is overwhelming sometimes. And the distance kept between, like I’m diseased or something…like being a single mom is somehow contagious!! Or maybe they’re afraid I’ll take their husbands from them – ugh! Another husband is the LAST thing I want!!
    After almost 4 years, I’m still completely fine with it being just the kids and I…if someone falls into my lap one day, great! But I’m certainly not looking, nor does it bother me being single – and that boggles people’s minds!!
    Thanks for writing this!

  15. February 13, 2015

    Bethany Reply

    I’m not a single mom, but a friend of mine who is shared this on FB. I am struck by how much of it also pertains to me, a never-married, perpetually single woman: not living the life you expected, not meeting expectations, the “just me” moments. Thank you for sharing this!

    • February 17, 2015

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Bless you Bethany. I’m glad these words resonated – I think in life one of the greatest gifts is feeling like one is not alone.

  16. February 13, 2015

    Nik Reply

    Your words are touching, raw and honest. I appreciate it. While I am not a single mom, there are times when I feel like it. You are an amazing woman and mother. Thank you for sharing your story.

  17. February 13, 2015

    Sherrie Roderick Reply

    I was a single mom for a short while. I can’t look back on it fondly, but I wish I knew someone like you back then. Thank you for your honesty. You give so much of yourself when you write. We love you, these ladies that think they are not enough. They need to hear from a mom in the trenches just like they are. You are so strong, and so humble. Thank you for blessing me today!

  18. February 14, 2015

    Mandy Roberson Reply

    Oh my soul, I could have penned these words myself. You spoke the truth my heart and mind have been screaming for months now. Thank you for saying it, and for being so transparent! You fight beautifully, my friend! Cheering you on!

  19. February 14, 2015

    Sarah Reply

    I just want to say you’re awesome. Amazing. Thank you for sharing the hard stuff. This has put so much into perspective for me. I’m a (non-single) mom going through my own ick, but I have so much to be grateful for and so much to find joy in, even when it seems hopeless. Thank you.

    • February 17, 2015

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      You are welcome. Keep pressing on, holding your head up, and knowing that you make a difference. :)

  20. February 14, 2015

    shawn Reply

    Thanks for this sweet, honest post! You are completely right about the friendship part. Stay strong!

  21. February 14, 2015

    steve Reply

    I’m a single dad and I see an unfortunate double standard. When people find out I’m a single dad they comment how strong I am or how great of a parent I am without even knowing how I parent. However, you are right; single moms get judged differently, more negatively upon first glance. To me, that’s a crime. Some of the best parents I know are single moms. So let me just say thank you for being the great parent you are! I have nothing but love and respect for my single mom peeps :)

    • February 17, 2015

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Thank you, Steve, for sharing your perspective. I really appreciate it (and all you do as well). blessings on your day.

  22. February 14, 2015

    Kendra Fletcher Reply

    Oh, gosh, Rachel, you went and made me cry. I have not been a single mom but I sure hope I can give just loads and loads of grace to every single mom I know.

  23. February 15, 2015

    Grace Reply

    This is the first time that I ever reply to a post. Your post made me cry.. I’m a single mum too to a gorgeous boy. Like you said only we the single mums know how hard, hard, hard it is. Honestly somedays I just wanna give up and leave.. But when my baby wraps his arms around me, it’s all worth it. There are days I question myself if I’m doing enough/ am I a good mum.. God only knows. I pray for you, me and all the single mums out there. Xxx

    • February 17, 2015

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Thank you Grace for sharing and commenting. I really appreciate it. Bless you in all you do as well. You’re worth it. :)

  24. February 16, 2015

    Shalom Reply

    I can relate. Lately i have been having to deal with the exhaustion that i feel in my body, mind and emotions. Too often i find myself feeling so alone then I get tiny arms wrapped around my neck or simple words like “You look nice mama” and I feel a whole lot better.

    • February 17, 2015

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Those moments are certainly sweet indeed. It is the little things, I’ve found, that bring the greatest joy.

  25. February 16, 2015

    KatieJ Reply

    Oh my goodness! This is EXACTLY what I needed RIGHT NOW! My laundry pipes are frozen; my house is a mess; my oldest (who normally lives with his father but who is with us while his father is TDY) is difficult, makes messes, & won’t clean anything; I am lonely; and I am just exhausted. Tired of feeling like I can never catch up. Tired of being lonely. And extremely afraid since I only left my 27.5 year emotionally abusive husband a year ago – what if I can’t do this???

    Yes, overall I know I can, but sometimes I wonder. I had no idea you were a single Mom now, Rachel. (Perhaps you said something & I missed it in my past year of difficulty.) Thank you so much for writing this for you – for me – for others like us.

    Thank you!

  26. February 17, 2015

    Jennifer Reply

    Rachel, I had no idea. From your posts, I would never have guessed you were being amazing all on your own. Now you are even more amazing to me. Carry on, brave mother!! You are incredible.

  27. February 19, 2015

    Sabrina Reply

    Thank you. This was the best thing I’ve ever read. I’ve been alone since my son was born, he is 2. His dad is around and a good dad but I am still alone. I do have support and it helps but it’s hard and it is very lonely although I really try not to think about it, otherwise I would always cry like I cried reading this article. I will always be grateful I was blessed with my son but so many people don’t realize or understand what it’s like to feel like there is never a break, even to take a bath alone. I give in to the m&m’s too often because sometimes, its just easier to not have that fight. We are in a very difficult stage that feels like it will never pass. It will, eventually. And my son will grow up knowing that he has a strong momma and she chose to make him the most important thing in her life, even if that meant staying alone to ensure no one would come into his life that could ever hurt him. I’ve seen way too many stories about mom’s bf hurting her child and that will never happen here.
    I go to bed exhausted, barely able to outlast my son. I’ve yelled at him too much today and feel horrible, although he doesn’t seem to mind it since he usually just laughs at my insanity. He’s torn apart the house in under 2 minutes and just spilled or more likely poured his drink on the floor(just happened!) and I feel like I need to be taken to the psych ward! Then I snuggle up with that sweet lil boy, he puckers those lips and falls asleep on my arm and also kicks me in the stomach or face and all is right in the world and I have the strength and energy for one more day. He is the love of my life and I will never regret that!

  28. February 25, 2015

    Lisa Reply

    Thank you Rachel. Thank you for writing what goes through my head all of the time. Of being left out, feeling alone, looked at, judged, and feeling busy all of the time.
    I hear and feel your every word.
    You are amazing for all you do. I can only imagine that feeling of knowing you did it, that you are making it and giving your kids all you have got. That smile on my sons face, his laughter, our joys and our adventures, will make me keep going for ever.
    Thank you

  29. March 9, 2015

    Becky M Reply

    I’m a newly widowed single mom with a 2 year old and a newborn. The weight of parenting alone often feels too heavy and unbearable and it’s only been two months. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone.

    • March 18, 2015

      Justine Reply

      Oh Becky, you are not alone. Almost twelve years ago I was right where you are. It isn’t an easy road, but it does get better. My son who was two when his daddy died is now a wonderful 14 year old and my daughter is 11 (I was 8 months pregnant when he passed.) I am praying for you right now. Unfortunately being a young widow is more common than you might think, but often it is the most lonely place in the world. Hang in there.

  30. March 12, 2015

    ashley Reply

    Thank you so much for this post, it’s exactly what I needed to hear today! I’m sorry you’ve had to go through this,but I never would have guessed you carray it all wits such grace,bravo. I’ve been following your blog for years, especially on those hard mom days like today. Your post always remind me to breathe, let go and find the joy. Thank you

  31. March 18, 2015

    Stacey Reply

    While I don’t have a 100% experience of being a single mom…often that is how I have to operate. Alone…with running the house, handling all the details, and driving the kids…because my husband has COPD and dementia and needs care…and maybe one day out of the month can operate close to normal. I feel like I have one leg in the world of married couples and one leg in the world of singleness and really no way to get support from either side. Sigh…yes…let’s keep the judging away…I beat myself up enough.

  32. March 18, 2015

    jennifer Reply

    It’s like you took the words out of my heart and put them on paper… thank you for being so honest, thank you for all you do, thank you for fighting what seems like a never-ending battle.

  33. March 18, 2015

    Elizabeth Reply

    Thank you so much for writing about this. I’ve been married for almost 9 years and we are now separated after again (3rd time) finding that my husband has been cheating. I’m in so much pain and can’t even think straight, and how in the world will I make it as a single mom? I’m so scared to go that route. So thank you for your words and letting me know that I’m not alone.

  34. March 18, 2015

    Angela Reply

    Never dawned on me that you were a single mom, till now, shine on lady! You do it well!

  35. March 18, 2015

    Sandra Ellis Reply

    I was single for 11 years, from time my twins were 3 months old, fled a violent relationship, so I speak with some authority when I say that yes, there were hard times and a lot of work, but we were a tight unit. I didn’t feel lonely. I felt empowered; although I did struggle with some people judging me, most of that, I now realise was in my head! I was stopping myself. No one else spends that much time thinking about you, they are too wrapped up thinking about themselves. I built a great life with my twins — worked part-time, volunteered, took breaks (farmed them out) once a year. My parents are both dead and my sister lived overseas for a lot of their childhood. I found a way. I needed me time, so I made it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. People usually want to, but allow them to say No, and don’t judge them for that (just on the subject of judgements)…. When they were 9 I met my now husband. We moved in/got married when they were 11. He has a child the same age (we met as Cub Scout Leaders). We all live together and we make it work. Perfect?? NO way. He was a single Dad for 6 years (3 older boys who are now adults, too, so 4 altogether). Now we run a business together, our 3 kids all in high school and the other 3 launched and off doing in the world. There are still issues — his ex (mine disappeared), debt, etc. But that’s life. It doesn’t define us. Stay strong in your head and believe in yourself. Read plenty of parenting books but know that you know your kids and your values and it’s up to you to create the family that you want.

  36. March 18, 2015

    Martha Artyomenko Reply

    I am not a single mom, but your post spoke to me. I am my husband’s caregiver and may one day with a single mom in reality. For now, I parent alone. The lack of understanding that you spoke of, is ever more present in the mom that has a husband without one. I spoke to someone earlier this year, that asked about my husband saying that my son never mentions him. I tried to explain, but the explanation fell flat. The nights when you work out all the finances, hoping that you will be able to work enough to pay to give your kids the best, and then fell like you failed when you can’t do what everyone else does.

  37. March 19, 2015

    Anastacia Reply

    I have several friends who are single moms, and have been for more than 10 years. They are without question, the strongest, most amazing women I know. I was a single mom from the time I was 4 months pregnant, until my son was 3 years old. My son’s biological father announced one day that he was leaving. He said he was simply “not interested” in being a father (after presumably being ok with it for 4 months) and when I cried, he told me I would “never be able to handle parenthood by myself” and I needed to “give the kid up for adoption”. I decided I was going to be an amazing mother, despite his hateful attitude towards me. So, I bravely faced pregnancy, childbirth and raising a newborn into a toddler, without a partner. For me, the hardest times were when my son got sick, and then I got sick on top of it. Those were the nightmares that you just somehow live through. I also found it difficult to witness happy-looking couples, cute families that looked like they were spending fun times together, and married men who seemed to be great dads. Those observations made me feel jealous, lonely, and “pitied” by others. Rarely did I get any compliments from anyone telling me they thought I was amazing for single-handedly doing a job that should be done by two. Although I did meet someone when my son was still very young, it’s hardly been the fantasy life I always imagined it would be. When your child is not “their” child, it’s complicated at best. The fact that it’s an easy out for my partner has created a fear in me of being abandoned and alone again–it’s always loomed large in the background. My experiences have strengthened my utmost respect for the truly “single” moms out there. I count them to be some of the strongest, most loving, and devoted people that could ever exist.

  38. March 19, 2015

    Sylvia Robson Reply

    Rachel – you are most certainly an overcomer. I have been reading your blog since Samuel became ill,been so blessed by it and have recommended it to young mums, but not once, in all that time, did I realise that you are juggling your busy life as a single mum. You always look for joy in the everyday and encourage us to. Prayers, love and hugs Sylvia

  39. March 20, 2015

    Jennifer Reply

    I’m writing this from work so I have to be brief but thank you thank you thank you!!! You perfectly described my night last night as I stood in my room in tears asking myself why and how. As a full time single mom with very few friends, it’s hard but it’s not like I can’t do this. Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone!!! You have no idea how grateful I am for this post!!

  40. March 20, 2015

    Vivian Reply

    Thank you for these words. It’s been 2 years since I’ve become a single mother of 2 amazing daughters and there are still days when I feel all alone. Just recently, I’ve been struggling with feelings of envy, worthlessness, uselessness, and just being overwhelmed and uninspired. However, after reading this today, I know that I am not alone. It’s okay to feel one way one day and completely different the next. I love my children. I am worth it. I have a purpose. I am appreciated.

  41. March 20, 2015

    Niki Reply

    thank you…. you make the “busier” times more bearable. I thank you for your insight and positivity :)

  42. March 22, 2015

    Lisa Reply

    So true. All of it. I’ve been a single mom since my (almost) 3 year old son was born. The struggle is real but so worth it. My biggest fear in life is how and when to tell him that his father didn’t want him. I dread the day that he asks about his daddy but we’ll get through it together, just like we do everything else.

  43. April 6, 2015

    JL Reply

    I am new to this blog but so glad I found it. After three years of being a single mother and my relationship with the father of my two beautiful girls at an all-time low at the moment (as we are discussing money) I relate to so much of what you say: the self-questioning, the guilt, the huge unknowns. It gives me strength and hope to feel less alone. Thank you : )

    • April 8, 2015

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Thank you for all you do. Sweet blessings in the journey you are traveling right now.

      You are not alone.

      Rachel

  44. April 23, 2015

    Adrienne Reply

    I needed this when I saw it, and have needed it a few times since. I cry every time I read it, but it’s because ink n o someone else knows exactly how I feel. So thank you!

  45. May 25, 2015

    Lian Reply

    I balled my eyes out reading this as I am a single mum to my two year old son and have done all I can to turn the negatives into positives and have a lot to show for it but still deep down I am heartbroken and depressed and carry such a mixture of emotions. I have now realised that a lot of this sadness that I hide away boils down to that I feel I have failed myself with my expectations in life,hopes and dreams. I am very lonely and feel and get frustrated that my married friends just dont understand or show much support and I have learnt to lock away my feelings from as many as I can as no one likes to hear that you feel down and the reasons why so it leaves me feeling very much alone. I have picked myself up and been strong and just got on with it so many times and done everything in my power to make the best out of the situation and to get myself out of a dark place but two years on it has left me feeling emotionally exhausted. It has got to the point that it effects me being the best mum that I can be for my boy and leaves me feeling guilty but at the same time I cant snap out of it at times even how much I try. I try put all my energy into doing fun things but in back of my mind I know its just me and my boy and then it makes me sad as I know that something is missing and takes the joy out of everything. I respect single parents more than ever as this has been a big eye opener for me as to what its like.

  46. May 26, 2015

    tony price Reply

    awesome article,very encouraging and if i might add even tha examples in the bible such as ;apostle timothy’s grandmother eunice;Single Parents Can Succeed

    Today, many children grow up in single-parent homes. While this adds to the challenge of raising a child, success can be achieved. Single parents can take heart from the Biblical example of Eunice, a Jewish Christian of the first century. Married to an unbeliever, Eunice likely received no spiritual support from her husband. Nonetheless, she was exemplary in teaching Timothy. Her good influence on Timothy from his infancy, along with that of Lois, Timothy’s grandmother, proved to be more powerful than any negative influence that might have come from some of Timothy’s peers.—Acts 16:1, 2; 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15.

  47. June 23, 2015

    Bee Reply

    It’s true, I love you post. There are times when I want to write something about how it feels like to be a single mom and how sometimes life treats you unfairly…I feel like no matter what I achieve and however I manage to raise my kids alone, some people still judge me as if I wanted to be in this situation.
    Anyway, here’s what I’ve written long time ago. I shared my story and the things I learned surviving single motherhood.
    https://happywahm.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/diary-of-a-single-mom-surviving-single-motherhood/

  48. June 23, 2015

    Bee Reply

    I love how you stated your thoughts and i totally agree. I am also a single mom of 3 beautiful children. There are also a time when I feel like writing something how it feels like to be a single mom. How life treats me unfairly sometimes and how people judge me in spite of everything I’ve done for my children..raising them alone and still being able to achieve something. That doesn’t seem enough to some people.

    Anyway, Here’s what I’ve written long time ago. I share my story and how I feel like single motherhood and how we should deal with it.

    https://happywahm.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/diary-of-a-single-mom-surviving-single-motherhood/

  49. June 23, 2015

    Bee Reply

    Oooppss..doubled my comment :( I thought the other one was not posted.

  50. June 25, 2015

    Jodie Reply

    I needed this… Really this tonight…I wonder so much, so many of these things.. you are busy busy beyond what some people can comprehend. In the loneliness of night your physically fatigued but your mind starts with yhe questions, am I doing enough,do they love me, do they hate me, what was wrong with me, will my child be ok with only me it is a lonely road most of the time. My family and my handful of ftiends have been my rocks.. would I change it? Never sure we have our not so good moments but every smile hug kiss picture movie book rough jousing digging swings everything all of it makes every moment worth it…

  51. June 25, 2015

    Janna Reply

    Hi Rachel, I have been following your posts for awhile on FB. I always look for your posts everyday. I love how you are honest about the struggles of being a single Mom. I can relate, as I am too. I just want to say keep up the posts and being so truthful! You are awesome!! Thanks so much!! Janna

  52. July 20, 2015

    Nik Reply

    That is the most truthful thing I have ever read. It’s so good to know as a single mum I’m not the only one who worries about all they things. Thank you for making me feel normal

  53. July 20, 2015

    Michelle P Reply

    Beautifully written, I became a single Mom after 33 years of marriage. We had adopted a sibling pair from Eastern Europe with special needs. they are now 19 and 22 . they will always need support with their disabilities . Now going on my 7th year, it has been the hardest season of my life. I will say I have learned so much about myself and how strong I can be and what I can do. I have also have learned I am what I am by God’s grace . I so depend on Him and are grateful of the people He has put in my life.

  54. August 13, 2015

    Lyndsey Reply

    So so good!! I really needed to read this tonight!! Something I’ve felt is instant judgement or pity when someone finds out that I’m a single mom. And that makes me not want to tell anyone…

    So thanks again for this! So beautifully written!

  55. August 14, 2015

    Caitlin Reply

    As a fellow single mother of 5.. 6 and under, I understand the struggle. I throw myself into my work and use the experience as my spiritual practice. Believing that the pressure makes the diamond, and the hustle keeps me creative :) Some days are easier than others, and I try to hold on to the easier days. And prayer and mediation helps A LOT. Keep on keeping on, soldier :) thanks for your honesty.

  56. September 15, 2015

    Kaighla Um Dayo Reply

    I have been a single mom for only a few months, but for years before that, my husband focused all his attention and care and money and time on his other wife and her kids (we are Muslim). After the divorce (which I initiated to escape his neglect and lies), I chose to stay here in his country because I cannot afford to care for my 4 kids and myself in the states. He left here and went to another country presumably to send more money, but that’s not what has happened. So I am alone with my 4 small kids in a foreign country, and I am a single mother. It’s a triple whammy.

    But, the hardest part for me has been that we do not date in my religion. Strict rules dictate courting, and only with a 3rd party (who is usually your father or brother). Since I don’t have any men to look out for me, I am left to go it alone, which make me vulnerable to bad, bad men here, only looking for a green card and white skin. Feeling the loneliness and the need for companionship–and yes, sex– but not being able to fulfill that need without marrying another man straight away is my hardest struggle. Having to work on dealing with my painful emotions after the worst 6 years of my life and not even being able to have a normal rebound relationship, or even a guy friend to give that masculine friendship, Not wanting to rush into a marriage with a man I hardly know, and the lack of suitors who even speak my language, plus being financially unstable because you’re not in your own country and the child support is small….it’s just too much.

    Thank you for writing this, and thank you for understanding.

  57. October 26, 2015

    jenn Reply

    Hi Rachel and All you other moms –
    Rachel you write with such HEART. And you obviously write for all of us who, like you, are busier and tireder than we’ve ever been. So still so goddamn lonely!
    We haven’t got a minute to rest, to think, to really even be lonely, and yet that is the pervading constant.
    And the crazy mess. Yes, I used to be on the other side of the fence looking at you all. I, with my big house, vacation properties, a husband who worked and took care of the yard. It was easy to make sure the lunches were properly packed healthy and yummy. It was easy to make sure the kids clothes were updated seasonally, ready long before needed. It was easy to plan beautiful parties, and impromtu get togethers. And make certain I had crafts, and snacks and holiday napkins at the ready. But now, now? The yard is untended except when the neighbors gardner takes pity on me – the kids complain of being out of milk, bread, underware – you name it. I forget things, signing papers for teachers, paying bills I’ve stashed in a drawer in an effort to tidy. MAKING DOCTORS APPOINTMENTS. I forget where I set my purse down as I run into the house after work to change clothes, pay the sitter, grab a snack, fill a water bottle, check on one kid, phone a parent, open an important piece of mail and try to get to the end of a soccer practice so the 5 boys aren’t waiting in the dark. OF COURSE WE LOOK LIKE A MESS! But lets see how anyone else would fare in the same shoes.
    PS RACHEL: The best reward I have had is when my married friends say, “OH I’ve had the craziest week! Not minute to myself, I’ve had to do everything, Everything! My husband has been out of town on business and I’ve been a single mom all week. I cant even think straight until next week!” And then they see me. See ME. And,”Oh. Oh.
    Yeah, I guess you know how it is. Yeah. You know….”

  58. January 25, 2016

    Karri Reply

    I am a Mom who needed to read this tonight so thank you. Parts of your article brought me to tears, the outside world and judgement and such. Grace, those real friends that will get in the mud with you. We all want our children to be amazing…and we love them fiercely. Lonliness is my current battle. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels this way. So thanks again for this post. I really needed to hear it right about now.

  59. January 25, 2016

    Kelly Reply

    Thank you

  60. February 26, 2016

    mara Reply

    Without meaning to minimize your (and of those commenting) situation and feelings, I am dealing with the same thing while in a relationship; without having the benefit of a neighbour offering help to clean up the yard, or a friend offering to take my kids for an afternoon. I recently realized the absurdity of this situation, and trying to improve what I can.

  61. February 27, 2016

    kate Reply

    I just wanted to say thanks for this – I get it, especially the friends bit. I am filled with joy whenever I find a new single parent friend, because they get it. I love all my friends but I too get annoyed when coupley people say they understand, though not as annoyed as when people who’ve cried on my shoulder that they think they will never meet someone, then do meet someone and ditch their friends.
    A LOT of this resonated with me but every time I see a friend’s boyfriend who is a bit of an idiot, or I get to watch a box set in bed drinking tea without having to explain/discuss/ask for permission/excuse, I am joyful at my single state.
    My very good friend, who is in an abusive relationship sadly, tells me I am too fussy. I just want to reply ‘and you’re not fussy enough’.
    Why give up this freedom for ‘could do better’? I know some lovely men and women that are in unhappy relationships, and having been in one of those myself before, I would say that, whilst this state is sometimes lonely, that was the loneliest place to be.
    If you’re single you’re at least not in the middle of being ‘unlucky in love’ because I believe that’s when you’re in a wrong relationship. Enjoy not being in a wrong relationship.

  62. February 28, 2016

    Christi Reply

    I can’t tell you how much I needed to read this article today. I’m going through a divorce, one that I wanted, and most days I know it is for the best. But today? Today is just hard. So thank you for your wonderful honest words.

  63. August 15, 2016

    amy Reply

    Such honest words, I am divorced just a year but the lonely has set in, the reality of being a single parent, of carrying the weight, of being the keeper of the good and the bad. I want to share this life and child with someone, I want to do life with someone, until then, if ever, I will provide and prevail because alone is OK, it is better then where I was. Forward march my fellow warriors, we got this!!!

  64. November 17, 2016

    GRACE Ikinya Reply

    I love your post being a single mum is hard but it takes a lot of effort and courage to be one,i was once afraid of being a single mum but with the joy that my son brings to mi i believe there is great joy in future i will be a hero in future,i love my son big times and promise to be there for him ever.I don`t regret being a single mom and i don`t regret having him either because he is my joy

  65. January 12, 2017

    Julie Reply

    Thank you for sharing words that I could not express.

  66. January 12, 2017

    Angela Reply

    I’m not a single mom, but I love the honesty of this post. A friend of mine is a single mom, and she is really defensive about it. It’s hard to talk to her about it because she hides behind a tone of being better than married moms because she does it all on her own. She gets help from family and friends, but doesn’t seem to acknowledge it. She gets angry when she sees posts praising stay at home moms because I guess we don’t deserve it because it’s harder to be a single mom. I respect single moms, but just not the pretending that accompanies it, at least for her. This post was real, and you all are awesome. It’s hard, but you’re doing it because you love your kiddos, and I love that.

  67. January 12, 2017

    heidi Reply

    it’s almost 1230 and i’m rocking my 2 1/2 yr old bc she’s of course caught another cold from daycare and hasn’t slept through the night in a week and i have to be up in 4.5 hours to get ready for work. i struggle with all of it, the guilt is horrible and the fear that my child will hate me bc my ex wanted to walk away before she was born is heavier than anything ive ever carried. the friends i thought would be there disappeared long ago and the few that show up don’t understand and think i like living in a mess always behind… i get through because there is nothing i won’t sacrifice for my child and her happiness, i will make it with or without but it sure would be nice to have someone “get it” once in a while, clearly you do, thank you for this 😔

  68. January 14, 2017

    Lor Reply

    Perfectly said, that is exactly how it is and how I feel- thank you!

  69. April 22, 2017

    aj Reply

    Wow,Wow. This was touching. As a single mom of two, there are days when I second guess myself, wonder dam if only I had felt worthy to choose the right circumstances my kids would be in a 2 parent home vs. having divorced parents, do I spend too much time yelling and less time with real parenting. Some I just feel defeated when my kids are crabby and relentless with lask of understanding what it means to have me time. Thank you for sharing and the honesty of single parenting. Some days it is not a cake walk but somehow we find a way to pull through it and smile. Love your blog as so much resonates with my daily challenges.

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