When God Helps a Single Mom of 5 Kids

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Sue Birdseye
Sue Birdseye

You know that old saying about getting your ducks in a row? My ducks aren't in a row. In fact, I'm sure my ducks aren't even in the same pond.

I really want them to be—at least in the same pond. Golly, I don't care about lines. I was never particularly fond of staying in the lines anyway.

But as a single mama, I think I might need some lines drawn—some boundaries established.

Lately I'm recognizing a decidedly annoying trend with my children: stepping—no, make that leaping—across boundaries. My room, my bathroom, my closet, my clothes, my makeup, my socks, my shoes, my jewelry, my papers, my pens, my desk, my computer, my drinks, my snacks, my stuff—it all seems to be fair game. No one bothers to ask, no one bothers to put back, no one bothers to thank, but it all sure bothers me!

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I got myself into this particular pond. I jumped in when my husband left. I allowed my children to sleep on my floor, my oldest daughter to share my bathroom, and my kids to use whatever they needed out of my stuff. I didn't do much more than request that they take care of the things they borrowed and put them back properly, but I didn't really offer consistent consequences—unless you count my exasperated nagging as a viable consequence. (I wouldn't, because it was a clearly ineffective consequence.)

Unfortunately, it isn't just the little things like borrowing without asking; it's the big stuff like irresponsibility, disrespect and laziness that I need to address more diligently too. This is my opportunity to show my children that I take my responsibility as mom seriously, that I desire to respect the Lord by raising His children well, and that I will be persistent in my efforts to train them.

Being a single mom, it's easy to make excuses for letting little things slide. But those silly little things become scary big things quite quickly. I've been experiencing that lately. By not training my children well in the little things, I have not equipped them well to deal with the big things.

So here I am, frustrated and a little bit fearful but ready to make some changes. Ready to jump into an altogether different pond and push all my kids in too—whether they want to or not. A friend of mine keeps reminding me that sometimes the best things we can do for our children are the things they least want to do. Amen to that.

Praise God that He is the God of second chances—in life and parenting. I'm praying more diligently, seeking wise counsel more conscientiously, and holding to my convictions more solidly. But I also know that my strength to do those things is totally and completely rooted in Christ.

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