Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Modern Day Superheroes

On Sunday as I sat at my post in the church choir, I looked out over the congregation.

Among the sea of familiar faces, I saw families, couples and single people - the faces of people I've known for years. But for some reason this week I became fixated on one particular mom who was there with her 4 kids, and I tried to imagine how much of a challenge it must be for her to manage her family alone while she waits for her husband to return home from Iraq - after an extended tour of duty.

And then I started thinking about ALL the "single" moms who live with the same challenge - moms like this woman who are military wives, moms who are widowed, moms who are separated or divorced, moms who have adopted, or moms who have never married.

Because to me, these women are superheroes, and I have nothing but the highest respect for each and every one of them.

Personally, I couldn't be farther away from really understanding the life of a single mom. I'm a guy who shares the responsibilities of managing our home and raising our children with a loving partner. These are people who have to literally do it all. By themselves. Every day.

And so as I sat there thinking (and apparently not listening to the sermon) I started rattling off a checklist of some of the things these women have to do on a daily basis that normally are shared (or should be anyway) between a couple. Things such as:

discipline, homework help, music, dance, sports, shuttling to friends' houses or the mall, birthday parties, home repair, school conferences, holidays, doctors/dentists, scouts, buying groceries, cooking, cleaning, having the oil changed in the car, doing laundry, paying bills, buying clothes, being referee, mowing the lawn, and etc.

- All while providing huge amounts of love to make sure everyone else is feeling safe, secure and emotionally balanced.

- All multiplied by the number of kids she's raising.

Then, think about throwing in a baby or two into the mix, just to make it even more challenging.

THEN, on top of all that - think about trying to find some "me" time in an attempt to maintain some semblance of a social life!

And that's why I became so distracted this week.

So, after I scanned the room and counted eight different single moms - all tirelessly doing just one more piece of their part to make sure their children were receiving the spiritual nourishment they deserved, I started to think that maybe they should all be wearing this badge, which I had just designed in my head (instead of listening to the sermon).

And I know I'm not alone in thinking these women are superheroes.

Because why else would they already have an action figure ready to go?


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a pretty decent sermon right here.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this! I am going to be one of those "single" moms in about 2 weeks when my hubby deploys to the desert for 2 1/2 mos. It's part of our life, and we know how to deal with it. And we're not alone, because most of our friends are in the same situation. But it's nice to know that others notice, care & appreciate what we moms do. :) And BTW, cool action figure!

Anonymous said...

you forgot something major....having to bear the brunt of caring for sick kids...that means time off work. For example, today was my first day working, and guess what? got a sick kid delivered to me from dads house last night, so guess who had to make adjustments etc.... From the time we divorced, dad moved nearly an hour away, so basically he has never missed work for our son. I on the other hand have juggled countless times, sometimes taking the boy with me to college, and to work. I can't imagine having more than one to do that for, I FEEL for single moms with more than one.

thanks for this post, It will mean a lot to many moms out there, single or not.

*lynne* said...

Being a mother is a huge challenge and responsibility. Especially in this day and age. And when they do it all by themselves? Yup, certainly superhero status :-) Btw, your distraction / introspection during church was a good thing, it seems? :-)

Anonymous said...

I've often marveled how people do it, and then cope with being unfairly labeled as the societies ills at the same time.
I agree, it's heroic.

deborah said...

That was well written, Jeff. It reminds me of my step-daughter and of some of my friends who are doing it alone. And of myself a few years back, before my divorce, BEFORE my divorce. Mommy is always a full-time job, 24/7. Thank you for noticing.

Anonymous said...

I believe the loving and caring mothers you observed, are one of God's greatest designs. However, fathers that assume dual roles with honor and love are equally impressive to me!

Anonymous said...

Love you for what you said---it shows what a kind, gentle person you are!!!!

Mom Thumb said...

I think God forgives you for not listening to the sermon. I believe when you are contemplating that hard about another person, it's a prayer going up. And now you've got a lot of other people sending prayers up. It's all good. :-)

yoo hoo said...

I have to give a HUGE superhero welcome to those part time particpant dads too. There are a lot of single dads that are also hard working and juggling all the same stuff as single moms. In fact when I met my now husband, one of the best things that attracted me to him was how good of a father he is. That's all.

Jess Riley said...

Very thoughtful...I doubt most people would have even considered what a single mom goes through every day the way you did!

robkroese said...

As someone who goes a little nuts when he has to watch his 2 kids for 3 hours, I wholeheartedly agree. What some moms can do is amazing.

wayabetty said...

Yeah, I'm not so worthy either thinking about all those single moms. When the hubbie goes on business trips for a few days leaving me home with the 3 kids and this "beach ball" belly, I do feel like a single mom but it's only temporary. I can't imagine what those women go through daily.

Anonymous said...

It's great to read a tribute to single moms. There are soooo many of them out there and they do deserve respect and assistance and a superhero badge!

Bonvallet said...

Before David (S/O) what I used to hate was that I couldn't just run to the store for more pampers and formula. I had to pack up all baby's stuff, bundle him up, and pack him around with me. It was the things you didn't even think would be a hassle.

Nice post.

Ashley Lasbury said...

Now I know why I love you.

Thank you, Jeff. I am that woman in church. Trying like heck to teach my children "church manners" while they are pinching each other, sliding under the pews, wearing the hymnal as a hat or otherwise helping me get into a prayerful place.

And it's communities like my church, and yours, that make raising children single handedly so much easier.

Tell even one of those moms what wonderful children she has and you will have made her week.

yellojkt said...

You are peaking early here. What are you going to do for Mothers Day? You have to ration out the sucking up to the mommyblogs a little better.

Sandy said...

I often think about this when I'm feeling overwhelmed, or when I'm ticked off at my husband for staying an extra hour at work.

I definitely have little to whine about.

Unknown said...

I'll tell you this -- before I had a child I had no idea how much work it was. I also have pretty much been sharing the brunt of the work on this one, so I can only imagine how hard it is for ONE PERSON to do.

So yes, hail to those single moms.

And give 'em that action hero.

Anonymous said...

You're so right. I'm in a great relationship with LA Mommy and I cannot imagine how either of us would do it alone.

My mom did a great job raising me all by herself, and she didn't even start until she was 42.

But 2 is so much better than one. The mommies and daddies doing it alone are always heroes in my book.