Ad after ad shows giggling children bouncing on shoulders of fun loving dads, cuddling for stories, cooking messy masterpieces, climbing into their parents’ bed for tickles and laughter, and inviting scores of friends to a paint-balloon shootout barbecue in the backyard.
Friends on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and other social media outlets post photos of their favorite parenting moments and praise husbands and fathers for being hard-working both at home and at work, for standing with their families in both good times and bad, and for being strong lovers, protectors, providers, leaders, and role models.
But life isn’t always so picture-perfect, and Father’s Day emptiness sometimes becomes a seemingly inescapable reality as single mothers kiss their children goodbye and watch them run off with a man who doesn’t match up with false promises.
Fortunately, single moms are often good at making the best of not-so-good situations. Here are 8 ways a single mom can make the best of (and truly appreciate!) Father’s Day this year.
Father’s Day Survival Guide – 8 Tips For Single Moms:
- Stop the comparisons – Life is seldom the way we hoped, each of us face challenges others know little about. Work hard, be faithful, do your best, but don’t wish your life were someone else’s. God designed you for this moment. You have purpose where you are. Don’t wish otherwise.
- Be good to yourself – Use time without the kids to rejuvenate and be a better Mom when they return. Sit quietly alone or call a friend, read a book without pictures, paint your nails, go for a hike, try something that puts you just a bit out of your comfort zone and then, succeed or fail, rejoice in your bravery!
- Pray for those missing fathers – The loss of a father through death, abandonment, physical or emotional distance, is a very real loss. Pray that those feeling loss know they are never alone, that seeking God the Father keeps Him near.
- Pray for future generations of fathers – As a single mom of five boys, I realize statistically, my children are now at greater risk for divorce. My Hope for my sons and for the permanence of their marriages lies in the Lord who is greater than statistics, greater than divorce, and far greater than my fear. I pray for them, for their future relationships, and for their spouses often. Start praying for your children’s marriages now.
- Be thankful for those who serve and protect – Thousands of good, strong, faithful husbands and fathers are currently deployed overseas. Without them, the life of many single mothers and their children would be very different. Pray for those who are away and for those who are left behind. Write a card, visit a VA hospital, make a donation to Wounded Warriors or another Veterans group, express your gratitude.
- Research what makes a good husband and father – Too often loneliness and a loss of self-worth drive the divorced to search for love in all the wrong people. Find role models and list qualities they share, what you’d be willing to compromise on and what you wouldn’t. Get someone to hold you accountable. Don’t repeat choices or mistakes of previous relationships. Learn what true Love is and ready yourself to receive it. Guard your heart, but don’t lock it away.
- Pray for your ex – Whatever your ex is doing now, he was once the one you shared your most intimate moments with, the one you gave your heart to, the one who gave you those much-loved children. He may have forgotten the beauty of that relationship, but you don’t have to. Be careful. Protect yourself, but don’t turn into your ex. You are better than that, and he needs you differently, but perhaps now more than ever. He needs your forgiveness and prayers. Research what Jesus said about Hell and the unique suffering of individuals who deny His Mercy, and understand how important it is to pray for your spouse.
- Know and teach your Children that God is the one perfect Father and that we should turn to Him – Jesus told Saint Faustina,
I am the best of Fathers to them and that it is for them (poor sinners) that the Blood and Water flowed from My Heart as from a fount overflowing with mercy. For them I dwell in the tabernacle as King of Mercy.
There is one perfect Father; He never lies, never abandons, never forgets His promise. He is always present. Turn to Him seeking His Mercy. Close the door on anger and hurt. Open the door to a home filled with Love for God, our One Perfect Father, and rejoice in this day meant to honor so many wonderful Fathers striving to emulate Him.
Have other ideas for enjoying Father’s Day? I’d love to hear them! Please leave a comment below.