Jean speaks from the heart when she tells single parents that it is worth the fight. “I grew up when I became a single parent. There were so many things I didn’t understand. I had to learn how to navigate everything on my own but also that it was okay if I couldn’t get to everything.” Jean was a single mom to her two daughters for 19 years after her marriage ended.
“Being a single parent was hard. I would beat myself up trying to figure out why I couldn’t do it all. I was always the person that knew if I worked hard enough, I could do anything. But then I became one person with so many responsibilities and I couldn’t do it all, no matter how hard I tried. Then I learned it was okay if my kids brought store-bought instead of home-baked goodies to school. I learned to give myself grace that even though I wanted to keep a spotless house, I could be okay with it not being that way for a time.” Jean learned she needed to pick and choose the things she had time and energy for and let go of what wasn’t a priority for her and her family.
Jean’s faith was a huge source of support for her. “I would probably still be on this planet, but not a very put-together human if not for my faith! It was critical. At times I would have no idea how I would make ends meet and I would pray and a child support check would randomly come in the mail or I would get a refund from something I had overpaid. I was trained to believe that when I go to God, He was faithful and would be there.”
Jean was also able to find the support she needed through her family that lived a few hours away and a good friend that was also a single parent. “With my older daughter’s cystic fibrosis, there could be times in the middle of the night that I had to run to the hospital and I knew I could call my friend and she would say, ‘Absolutely, I got you.’ Or when I would run myself so thin I physically couldn’t get out of bed, my mom would drop everything and come take the girls for a while so I could recover.
“Back then, there was no such thing as Single Parent Provision and I often felt I had no where to turn. Now I cannot say enough how important SPP is. To me, it is clear that God is inspiring what happens there and is providing an invaluable resource that is otherwise not available to single parents. I wish I had access to something like it when I was a single mom!”
Jean believes that single parents are some of the strongest people you will ever meet. She would challenge the perception that they should be pitied or are somehow weak. “If you know a single parent, approach them with respect and offer to help by asking them what you can do, or offer to bring by food sometime, or run their kids to where they need to go, something simple like that. It shows that you recognize them and you respect and value them. You’re not offering help because they can’t do it, but because you want to take a little weight off their shoulders for a time.”
After many years of raising her beautiful daughters, earning her Masters degree, and doing life on her own, Jean eventually remarried and recently celebrated her 10th wedding anniversary. Her children are now adults, and she is enjoying them and the additions of her grandchildren into her family.
“I want single parents to know that it is worth it! Put the time in, keep fighting the good fight and putting one foot in front of the other. Those kids you are raising are given to you on purpose and maybe you wouldn’t have chosen this path of single parenthood, but here you are, and God will give you everything you need to get them raised and out on their own.”
Jean, thank you for your inspiration and hope-filled words and testimony. We are grateful for your heartfelt advocacy and involvement with SPP!
Published June 2021