Sarah knew about the small groups meeting at her church but hadn’t made a commitment to go. As a new single parent of two kids, she wasn’t sure what she should do. After hearing an SPP staff member talking about the Single Moms Group her church hosts and then reading about it again in the list of available groups at the church, she thought, why not? Two hours before the first Group started, Sarah signed up. She showed up to the Single Moms Group that night declaring, “I am not on your list, but here I am!” A year later, she is thankful she made the decision as the Group is a big part of the deep support system Sarah needed.
Sarah’s single parent journey began just over a year ago when her then husband told her he was done with their marriage. “It hasn’t been easy, but for the most part, we are doing okay. That is a complete God thing, for sure! I can cry in the shower, but at the end of the day Jesus is where I turn, and we are making it work.” Sarah’s family has been through a lot of trauma in a short amount of time with the passing of her mom, her divorce, and then the passing of her aunt. “It’s been hard on everyone, but we are making it work, going day-to-day and starting to find a little normalcy and new traditions. Things are different, and it’s good for the kids to feel that, but they aren’t bad. I used to think this is not what I thought my life is supposed to be like, and I thought I needed to be strong for them. But I think it’s good for the kids to see that you are sad. It’s not bad for them to see that it’s hard; we can do hard things.”
A deep support system has been crucial for Sarah. Besides the Single Moms Group, she has a close group of neighbors she met through the church, a best friend since 5th grade that lives nearby, and uncles and cousins that check in with her weekly. Sarah is also thankful that through the trauma, her relationship with her ex has remained cordial. “I know my story is different than some. We have been able to keep the kids the focus and make communication a priority. We have remained respectful with each other, so the kids know they are our number one. For the first year, it’s worked out okay. He is active in their lives and honestly, the kids have grown closer to me and to him. I am very proud of them for that. I hope in the future that will always be a priority for both of us. That even though we still get hurt feelings as grownups, we can put that aside and show them it’s not about us as a couple anymore, it’s about us as parents and how we are going to show up for our kids.”
The transitions over the past year haven’t been without challenges. Sarah has found she has grown a lot in learning how to let go of trying to manage everything. “I realized I can do what I can do and be sure their dad is informed of all of their activities, but it isn’t my responsibility to make sure he is there for everything. He makes his own choices, and it’s not my job to try to control that. I can encourage it but not manage their relationship. It has been a huge mindset shift, as I continue to grow in this area.”
Sarah’s advice to those just starting their single parent journey is to “give yourself grace. Don’t think you have to have all of the answers. The answers will come later. Just do the best you can with what you have. Things can always change, and you can pivot. Also, be kind to yourself. You have never been in this spot or done this before so don’t think you know how this should be. Find support and talk to people but remember your journey is your journey.”
Thank you for sharing your story, Sarah! We are so glad you made the decision to say yes to joining the Single Moms Group last year and we look forward to watching this portion of your journey unfold.
Published July 2023