Sunday, August 1, 2010

Single Mothers

My husband (and oldest son) went to Scout Camp this week.

For five days and five nights I was a single mom.

Friday night found me tired, exhausted, and pooped out!

I was emotionally drained, socially disabled, mentally impaired, physically beat.

Gratefully, my nightly scripture study gave me promised spiritual power.

It was this spiritual power that made all the difference for me and my “surviving” seven children (ha ha), who live to tell the tale of the week Dad went to Scout Camp.

Even more amazing than that . . .

This week my sequential scripture study found me in 3 Nephi 11-18!!

Back up to however many weeks ago I started reading the Book of Mormon, and who would have known that when I began my study of the Book of Mormon that I would find myself SMACK DAB in the middle of
the Savior words this week?!

He knew!

I know He knew!

Because the words of the Savior literally comforted me while I was a “single-mother.”

And it also taught me a lot about women who mother alone. Single Mothers.
And not just physically-single mothers due to divorce or death.

Although the physically-single mother has a difficult time enough!

For after all the laundry and dishes and cleaning and mowing, there is the added duty of loving and teaching and nurturing and disciplining the children only to be added upon with the temporal responsibilities of earning and budgeting the money, paying the monthly bills and meeting the necessities of each day.



A bit overwhelming when you’re alone.

Without someone to share the load or ease your physical burden or communicate your feelings.

But my single-mother experience also gave me some very limited (but eye-opening) insight on mothers who are single when there is a husband in the home.

And during this week my heart filled with a better understanding as to why the Lord (and President Monson for that matter) implores us to watch out for the “widows.”

For because I found a rare definition of widow in my dictionary:

widow n. “To deprive of something important.”

Well, in my book, a husband is important.

In fact, the only other person, other than God, to whom we are commanded to “cleave unto” is our spouses. A husband, specifically, is commanded to cleave unto his wife.

So I believe a husband is VERY important.

So important that when he abandons his duty in any area of fatherhood, a woman could be considered a “single mother” - a “widow” - even with a husband in the home.

Because she is deprived of something important!

I thought of the spiritually-single mother. . .

She who readies her children each Sabbath and take them to Church while her husband works or plays or stays home.

She who fulfills her Church-calling with all diligence and attends the temple faithfully, hoping and praying and doing, so that someday her husband will change his employment, his attitude, his heart and yoke with her spiritually so she isn’t single anymore.

I am in awe of those women.

I know so many of them.

My respect for them is beyond words.

Because deep in their hearts they have a resolved, unwavering commitment to God and His Son.

And in spite of their spiritual-singleness, they stand firm.


With the conviction that the Atonement of Jesus Christ will someday make it right.

And they will live unto Him to see promised blessings fulfilled.

Even when it means waiting on His time.

I also thought of the mentally-single mother. . .

She who shoulders the responsibilities that come with motherhood and fatherhood.

Not because she wants to, but because she has to!

I know a woman who has a husband who suffers from mental illness.

Because her husband is unable to provide financially and help make crucial, temporal decisions, she undertakes the responsibility - out of love for him and their children - and also out of human necessity to sustain her family.

“Where Can I Turn For Peace?” is her plea. “Where is my solace? When other sources cease to make me whole?”

How heavy and lonely her burden especially when loved ones, friends and/or family members don’t understand, fully, the affects of mental illness and the toll of living with it day in and day out.

How imperative, it is for her to find her mental strength in the One who gives her power to go on –

For one more moment.

For one more day.

“Gentle the peace He finds for her beseeching,

“Constant He is, and kind –

“Love without end.”

I thought of the socially-single mother. . .

She who supports her children at ball games and school plays without her husband because of his work commitments or his social phobias.

She who knows the importance her children place on play-dates and prom-dates.

And she finds it importance to attend wedding receptions, baby blessing, baptisms and funerals.

All she wants is her husband’s hand to hold.

For him to be there.

Beside her.

And for her, just knowing that God knows her name, is the only thing that inspires her to go out again and represent the family and the man she loves.

Finally, I thought of the emotionally-single mother. . .

A mother burdened with deep emotions that afflict her relationships and even her mental health.

A woman who journeys the path of emotion alone because of a husband unwilling to acknowledge her fears or concerns.

Or implies that it’s all in her head.

An emotionally-single mother who is left to suppress even the smallest of righteous desires in her heart, marking it “Unattainable” or “Not Important” perhaps because of her husband’s reluctance to acknowledge the worth of his wife, the mother of his children.

Or perhaps because of her yearning to make her spouse and her children happy, and therefore putting their  emotional needs before hers.
And while appearing happy and healthy on the outside, her spirit and her soul are broken on the inside.

Frightened and alone.

In need and in wanting.

Which brought me to the words of President Monson:

"In the world of today there is at times a tendency to feel detached—even isolated—from the Giver of every good gift. We worry that we walk alone and ask, 'How can we cope?' What brings ultimate comfort to us is the gospel.

"From the bed of pain, from the pillow wet with tears, we are lifted heavenward by that divine assurance and precious promise: 'I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.'
"Such comfort is priceless as we journey along the pathway of mortality, with its many forks and turnings. Rarely is the assurance communicated by a flashing sign or a loud voice. Rather, the language of the Spirit is gentle, quiet, uplifting to the heart, and soothing to the soul.
"Lest we question the Lord concerning our troubles, let us remember that the wisdom of God may not be easily understandable by mortals, but the greatest single lesson we can learn is that when God speaks and a man obeys, that man will always be right."
To the single mothers - wherever you are - YOU ARE AMAZING!  Thank you for the example you set for me this week!


  1. Thank you for sharing your feelings. I have experienced the single mother moments while I was married, and now even moreso as the physical single mother, that you call it, due to my husband breaking coventants. So the physical single mother encompasses all the others you talked about...spiritual, emotional, mental,etc.... I pray that all husbands and wives will love God, and think of Christ instead of what Elder Holland said in his latest General Conference address when he said that, -whatever they were thinking, they weren't thinking of Christ- We must all do this and never break covenants. We are not suppose to break covenants. It destroys families and hurts children. After 19-20 years...I know this to be true.

  2. Kimberly:
    We ARE NOT supposed to break covenants!! So when I read the things you wrote I started crying and crying because those experiences are heart breaking.
    Thank you for keeping your covenants and standing TRUE and FAITHFUL to Him who is the Giver of ALL Good gifts, even if we can't see those gifts now!
    Last night, as I knelt in prayer, I prayed for you (and women like you)! Of course I didnt know your name last night, but tonight I will remember you specifically! You will be in my prayers!!!
    I am so grateful for the words of living prophets!! And for the balm it provides as we listen to the whisperings of the Spirit. Thank you so much for your comments!

  3. My husband, as we speak, is down at his parents' because of work projects going on right now. He has to get those done before he goes with his Scouts next week since he won't be able to work on them for their work conference the week after the camp. So basically, I don't think I will see him much this month.

    I can't imagine having any of the situations you discussed. My mom is actually the one that didn't want to be married and honor her covenants anymore. Luckily, my dad wasn't single very long. I'm grateful I have the marriage I do, in spite of the example I had growing up. Hope you're enjoying having your boys back.

  4. While preparing for Family Home Evening, I came across this thought from Elder Neil L. Anderson in his April 2010 General Conference talk that applied to this post:

    "To mothers who are raising their children without a father in the home, I promise you that as you speak of Jesus Christ, you will feel the power of heaven blessing you.

    After her husband passed away, Sister Stella Oaks raised her three young children (including Elder Dallin H. Oaks) as a single mother. She once said: “I was given to know that the Lord loved me and that I would be made equal to my mission. I felt an encircling love … [and knew] he [would sustain us] through the opposition that [would] arise.”

  5. It is amazing to me how someone not in this situation, could so aptlydescribe and understand what those who are, are experiencing. Ittouched me to read your insights and realize, yet again, that evenwhen I have felt alone and struggled to "retain a brightness of hope",when it felt as though I was the only one around me dealing with myparticular "opportunities for learning and growth" (aka "problems" or"trials"), that it didn't mean others couldn't understand it. But youseem to here. I never expected to be in this situation, and alas, my YW experiencedidn't really equip me for anything other than my righteous desire tohave a family life very similar to the one you have, so it caught meunaware and for a long time i enjoyed a nice "pity party for one" as Istruggled with the "injustice" of not ending up with what I "signed upfor." But I've come to know that my life is EXACTLY what I signed up for.And thank heavens! It's like a perfectly stocked "labratory" filledwith all the ingredients I need to experiment and experienceeverything I need to learn in this I can become moreChristlike, more fit to be called a child of God. Keeping that in my remembrance in times of darkness and adversity ischallenging, but the very act of *trying to remember* makes all thedifference. He is ever mindful of the (myriad) holes in my educationin this school of life, and is gently filling them in...and frankly Ifeel grateful that I'm still cosidered worth the effort. Sometimes I enjoy a nice break from the hard work (I feel as thoughI've been on "summer vacation" for a while now as things have beengoing pretty well) but I know there is yet "work enough to do, ere thesun goes down". Anyway, I know you wrote this before we "re-met", so it was especiallysweet to read today. Thanks! ♥