Being in a single-parent family is all Ashley has ever known. Her father raised her and her sisters on his own, and Ashley became a single mom at an early age. “Being a single parent is both the most rewarding and difficult journey. There are so many ups and downs and every day is different. It has become easier but the struggles of being a single parent never go away.”
Ashley acknowledges the difficult challenge her dad had raising three daughters on his own. She remembers the joy he had during the Christmas season and how proud he was to be able to provide his children with gifts that they enjoyed. “You make a lot of sacrifices as a parent, and even more so when you are a single parent,” Ashley says, recalling job promotions and opportunities she has given up in order to be there for her own children. Although she is not close with her mom, she tries to keep their relationship in perspective. “She is fighting her own battles, and I know God would want me to be receptive and nice towards her.”
Her two children are both blessings for her, as she feels they are representative of the unconditional love of God. “In the beginning I would question God, but I have come to realize that He has given them to me to become the best I can be. Through every mistake, every tear, every laugh, every burnt dinner, they still love me. My daughter is my biggest fan, and my son will rub my face and tell me it’s okay. They have seen my struggles, but I know they love me anyway.”
Spending quality time with her daughter as she does Ashley’s hair and makeup and receiving the love notes that her son often gives her are some of the greatest joys in Ashley’s life. They enjoy spending time together with nightly walks, swimming, and singing in the car. After hearing at one of the Single Moms Christmas Dinners how important it is to make eating together as a family a habit, she has made it a tradition for her and her children. They spend time praying together before dinner and sharing their highs and lows for the day. Ashley also frequently tells her children to “look up.” “If you are having a stressful day or health issues or even the pandemic has become too much, just look up. When you look down, you are looking at the negative, but when you look up, it is a reminder that God is there watching you.”
When Ashley first became a single mom, she often felt judged or criticized by others. This made her begin to view being a single parent in a negative way. Ashley began to get involved with the Single Parent Provision community. “SPP makes me feel like I am a part of a family, a community. Reading the newsletters, hearing other single parent’s stories, and then having the opportunities for Groups, Break Times, and classes; there is just so much extra support that lessens the stress of single parenting. I always end up feeling understood, loved, and inspired.” Through the support of her family, her assurance of God’s love, and the community she found in SPP, Ashley is now extremely proud of her journey and the beautiful kids she has been able to raise on her own.
Thank you for sharing your journey with us, Ashley!
Published February 2021