By: Jana Greene
Just had one of those moments that I want to share to encourage all my single mama friends. I know it’s hard to hang on, but you’re doing better than you think and what you are doing matters.
I was a single mom of two girls – then 9 and 12 – in the early 2000’s.
I went from being a stay at home mom to working four jobs at a time at some points, and being the sole provider, keeping a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. I had no family support or encouragement. I lived on Diet Coke and cigarettes, and lost 80 pounds. (I do not recommend the Divorce Diet; it’s a terrible way to lose it.)
I had been sober for “only” 3 1/2 years at that point, and was desperately trying to hold onto my sobriety through the darkest point in my life. It is NOT I but God who was the Source of Strength.
Looking back, I don’t know how I made ends meet. Truly, it’s supernatural. The math just doesn’t work. I made $9 an hour working in a law office, and worked that job alone for months when the others dried up. How is it even possible?
I tried to make things as normal as possible for the girls. I rented a house near their school. It was a modest little house, but I decorated their rooms and tried my best to make it a home. We weren’t in a good part of town, but I don’t remember being afraid when I probably should have been. I trusted God because I had 100% no other choice. I had no help. Failure was not an option.
Fast forward to today. My oldest calls me on the phone because we like to talk once a day. I’m not sure if that makes us enmeshed or what, but she, her sister and I are very close. We were all we had for a long time and have been through a ton together.
Anyway, on today’s phone call, she says out of the clear blue that she has been thinking lately and that she feels awful for how she acted when I was struggling.
In truth, she was a handful, but also a pretty typical 13 year old. Most of them are handfuls, sassy as hell. She couldn’t have some of the things her friends had. We fought a lot. I got she and her sister into therapy and that seemed to help a little, but it was a very difficult time for all of us.
Today she said she is so sorry that she was sassy and said hurtful things. I told her that’s what 13 year old girls do. (She is 28 now, her sister 25.) She said, “Mom, I no idea about what was going on and how hard it must have been.” That she didn’t appreciate everything then, but she is just now “getting it.”
“I was a real jerk to you. I’m so sorry.”
And I told her yes, sometimes she was maybe a little bit of a jerk, but so was I. We both survived it and are closer for the struggle. And that I appreciated her kind words so much.
We parents never actually expect to hear that. Being a mom is it’s own reward; you don’t do it for any recognition. But dang, it’s nice to hear sometimes.
Because y’all….I DO appreciate it.
Teenagers (can I keep it real here?) are just awful some of the time. You cannot imagine your preciously sweet, loving kid ever morphing back into human form. But they DO.
There were MANY times I told God I could not possibly handle ONE more thing, and TWO more things would happen, and I’d rant and rail at Him mightily. When the girls needed school supplies and we were eating instant mashed potatoes and chicken nuggets for days, and ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? ….The car would break down. Honestly, sometimes it was such a comedy of errors, it felt downright conspiratorial.
But you can’t holler and be properly be angry at anyone without stepping close enough that whomever you’re telling off can hear you loud and clear. In getting close enough to push God away, I had to draw near enough to him to feel my wrath.
If he minded my own sass, He didn’t let on. And still hasn’t. He isn’t angry with your frustration either.
So, I don’t know who needs to hear this, IT IS GOING TO BE OKAY.
but YOU ARE DOING AN AMAZING JOB, MAMA. And single dads? BRAVO to you! Raising a child is super hard and one day he or she will tell you that you did a good job, even if you screwed up a lot like me.
And if your child doesn’t tell you, I’m telling you. Keep going; God’s got you! God’s got your babies. God will see you through.
And by the way, I pick up my 20th anniversary sobriety chip in January. Hard fought and won, and made possible by Jesus one day at a time.