There's an amazing book in the market for Christian single moms, and its called God Loves Single Moms: Practical Help for Finding Confidence, Strength, and Hope (2010).
It was written by Teresa Whitehurst. She's a psychologist who is definitely no stranger to single motherhood. In fact, she practices the lifestyle herself, so she knows the ropes.
The book strives to help single mothers embrace the belief that women and their children deserve nothing but the best things from life.
The book is a plethora of useful information – it's jam-packed with real-world tips, innovative strategies for single parenting, and a variety of methods for improving overall quality of life for single moms who are raising their kids on their own. When reading the book, single moms will learn about all the ways they can improve their parenting, discipline, and leadership skills in Christian ways. The chapters tackle a variety of critical issues that single mothers face, from the importance of building a network of support people to organizing, controlling their finances, and caring for themselves, among other issues.
The author, Teresa Whitehurst, strives to remind single moms that at every turn there is no need for them to be unduly stressed in the face of responsibilities – God cares for them deeply and they'll get through life in one piece. In addition, Whitehurst goes out of her way to reinforce that God perpetually has their back no matter what obstacles life throws at them, and she points out time and again that God wants to support and guide them on their journey the whole way. This book ideally should be required reading for Christian single moms everywhere – it will certainly help them focus on what's really important: Taking care of their families in the way that God intended and trusting that He will be there no matter what.
Taking Care of Yourself as a Single Mom
A chunk of the book is devoted to ways in which single moms can take care of themselves so that they will be better equipped to take care of their children. The chapters are broken down into manageable steps, such as conducting a personal inventory, caring for themselves, getting the right support in place, and getting money, jobs, and dreams in check.
The chapter on self-care is critical for single moms because it reinforces that they need to adopt the right mindset to make quality of life the best possible for themselves and their children. If they don't do this, they can suffer mental breakdowns, bouts of depression, and many other ills that result from a negative mindset. Instead, the author urges single mothers to approach their lot in life with joy and vigor – by committing to learn and improve their mindset and actions for the sake of their sanity and children.
“Happiness,” says Whitehurst, “also comes from knowing that you truly love, forgive, and take good care of yourself. It's knowing that when you do get discouraged or disappointed because of mistakes, weaknesses, or unforeseen circumstances, you can adapt to changes, make corrections, or chart an entirely new course” (51).
This translates to taking a thorough and honest personal inventory each and every time you run into a snag in life. The idea is to learn from mistakes – truly learn – in order to avoid repeating them and use the lessons to create a better life going forward.
Another key aspect of self-care that Whitehurst addresses in its very own chapter in the book is finances. This chapter is not the run-of-the-mill budgeting speech that you'll find in other books on the market that sell personal finance information to single women – it's actually much bigger than that.
The chapter instead centers upon stepping back and taking inventory of how well the money flowing into a single mom's household stacks up to the needs and desires of the entire family. It's about matching money to the goals of the family as a whole, and trimming the fat on things that don't align with that core vision.
The money chapter also encourages single moms to look at their work with open eyes and decide if it's actually what's making them happy – or if it's simply a way to pay the bills. The chapter goes on to offer tips and strategies for changing careers and ways to figure out what will really make the single mom happy in her life. It also details how to get there successfully without sacrificing the children's happiness in the process.
Taking Care of Your Faith as a Single Mom
The second part of the book has the faith component. Whitehurst zooms in on aspects of single motherhood that moms can improve by working on their relationships with God.
The chapters include information about restoring their faith and confidence in the Lord, using a God-centered approach to disciplining child, and approaching relationships with children's fathers through a Christian lens.
Many times, the relationship with a child's father is a strained one for a single mother. The problem is that relationships with a less-than-stellar (or missing in action) dad are strained, children are inevitably the ones who suffer most. Although most single moms try not to engage in conflict with their children's fathers within earshot of the kids, sometimes emotions get the best of the situation and words are said.
This chapter offers helpful methods for keeping this stressful situation at bay, and it gives pointers for ways single moms can be kind to themselves in order to keep all parties on good terms. It helps women keep the good qualities of the men they once cared for in the forefront of their minds so their children may have a chance at a relationship with their fathers.
The final and arguably most important chapter in the book is entitled “When You're Tired and Tempted” and it draws attention to the bad things that can happen when a single mom pushes herself too hard and doesn’t take frequent breaks to restore herself for her family. This is imperative for reducing stress and restoring the “synergy” to the family unit, and doing this with God behind them is the best way for single moms to achieve true happiness while raising a family alone.