Eating together is important although it is not always an easy thing to do especially in single parent households. Distractions abound, but eating together is a vital part of reconnecting for both the parent and children as well as for sibling groups.
Even in two parent households today, we see distractions caused by technology. Often every family member has a cell phone sometimes with phone, texting, gaming, and internet capabilities. Parents are taken away from children by work, household responsibilities, and the longing for adult conversation. Children are taken away by electronics, television, video games, and handheld devices. Even good things like homework, sports, music, and church and school activities all infringe on the reconnecting that has been absolutely vital to all families regardless of the time or place.
Single parent households often have even greater distractions. One parent may hold down multiple jobs, but still have greater financial worries. He or she is responsible for all bill payment and family paperwork including court appointments, taxes, and more. Children are often preoccupied wondering whose weekend it is or if they left their homework in the other parent’s car in addition to “normal” concerns.
Eating together is important however because it provides a vital connection time for families. Committing to being together to reconnect, even if it is only for 20 minutes each day is especially helpful for several reasons. Here are five.
1. Face to Face Time – It can be easy to forget that other family members are real thinking, feeling individuals when our needs and desires seem so all-encompassing. Coming face -to-face with others makes each member less of an abstraction and more real.
2. Conflict Resolution – All families experience conflict. Sometimes the desire to avoid conflict causes us to isolate ourselves or each other. There are few ways to avoid a family member who has upset you when you are seated across the table from him and knowing everyone must sit together forces us to humbly (or angrily) face those who have hurt us. Either way, coming together every day does not allow conflict to brew for long.
3. Working as a Team – “Pass the milk – please.” When you’re seated around a small table, teamwork and cooperation go hand in hand. Children learn that polite ways of asking for things works better than demanding ways, and, even if for completely selfish reasons, they see that working together benefits everyone.
4. Opportunity to Open Up – The world can be a rough place. Sitting around a meal gives children and parents the opportunity to open up about their day in a less threatening manner. Eyes can be averted politely while uncomfortable topics are shared. Thoughts can be gathered before rushed responses are made. Parents and children can learn a lot about the hopes, dreams, joys, and fears of each other over a shared meal.
5. Modeling Prayer – Prayerfully thanking the Lord for the gift of food and fellowship reminds children and single parents how fortunate we are even when life seems overwhelming. Praying together teaches children how to pray and gives them the freedom to experiment with their own words of gratitude to the Lord.
Please check out my future posts, Minding Your Manners at Meals and Ways to Reconnect Over the Dinner table.
I hope you make a habit of eating together every day.
Posted in Meal Time, Your Home and tagged eating together, single parent by email@example.com with .
Have you ever thought there was no way out of your current situation? That things will never get better?
It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Is that what you are doing? What is it that you think will save you from the brink of your current disaster?
For me, I tend to think hard work and education will lift my family out of the current state of fear, exhaustion, and instability, but it has been over four years, and I some days I see very little hope of us ever rising above this point.
It seems no matter how hard I work, we continue our backward slide and, although many kind hearted people offer advice and suggestions, few can truly understand or offer real help. Often, I am not even sure of what to ask for. (more…)
Posted in devil on your shoulder and tagged hard work and education, no way out by firstname.lastname@example.org with .
What do you do when things pile up on you? When one thing after another doesn’t go as planned, disappoints, or just flat out goes completely wrong? It is during these times that can be hardest to maintain faith.
Our family has spent the past several years facing hardships, day after day where I sometimes think life cannot get much worse, and yet I wake up again another day and it seems the impossible has happened and life has gotten worse.
In the Book of Job, we see a man faced with one calamity after another. He loses his children, his possessions, and his health. His friends just do not understand, and their know-it-all advice hurts even more.
Have you felt that way? I know I have!
When things pile up on us, we have to just keep going. Sometimes I wonder if life will ever get better. I know there are people out there who struggle every minute of every day of their lives. Good people. God-fearing people, and I have that gnawing pit in my stomach, that little devil on my shoulder, telling me that no matter what I do, I will never get that job, never be smart enough to finish that class, never have time to sit down in peace and enjoy my precious children again.
But we must not give up. We must not give in to that devil on our shoulder. He is not imaginary. He is very real and he is trying to bring us down. We must not think the way the world thinks but keep going, refusing to be average, refusing to give in to the exhaustion and thoughts that we will never be good enough.
When things keep piling up on us, it provides us the opportunity to humbly ask our friends to pray for us and to continue to give our lives over to the Lord. Only He is strong enough to move that devil on your shoulder. Give Him the space and time He wants to let Him do it!
When things pile up on you, even though I may not know your name, the Lord does and I have put you in my prayers. I am asking you to pray for my family and me as well. I humbly admit I could use your intercession. Thank you.
Posted in devil on your shoulder, The Caregiver and tagged Job, things pile up by email@example.com with .
“Hey Mommy, see that man?” my three year old was pointing to the large stained glass window showing Jesus being baptized by John and whispering in his not so whispery church voice.
“Yes, honey, I see Him.” I held my finger to my lips to show him he needed to speak quietly.
“Know what he does?” Kaleb still whispered loudly despite my efforts to shush him.
I glanced up at Jesus and John before smiling at Kaleb. I couldn’t wait to hear what miracle Kaleb would recall or whom he would remember to pray for.
“What does Jesus do buddy?” I asked.
I could already see the glimmer change in his eye and that should have been my first warning. My darling son who was just about to recite a perfect retelling of the Love that is Jesus raised his hands high over his head and brought them down with a SWOOSH! I know arms don’t literally swoosh, but I’m pretty sure his did as he began animatedly telling me about Jesus and what was happening in that picture.
“Jesus takes a BIG HUGE bucket of WATER and he (SWOOSH) dumps it RIGHT OVER THAT MAN’S HEAD!”
I raised my eyebrows and my peripheral vision caught the older boys snickering.
“No buddy, that’s John the Baptist who is dumping the water and, well, he’s not really dumping it. He’s…”
“Oh no Mommy. It’s Jesus and He’s dumping it on that poor man like this. This time his SWOOSH! is accompanied by his falling to the floor. I’m guessing he was showing the force of the flow.
There was no convincing him that it was Jesus being baptized or that the man was not dumping a BIG HUGE (SWOOSH) bucket on anyone, but it did get me thinking. (more…)
Posted in Learning about our Lord and tagged Baptism, understanding by firstname.lastname@example.org with .
Perfect Single Parenting is Born!
May 2013 marked the launch of Perfect Single Parenting, and I thank you for joining me in this learning process. The beginning is often a bumpy road, learning to stand on your own, finding your voice, and I thank you for giving me this time to discover the focus and method of what I hope God will deliver through my words: understanding, acceptance, strength, fellowship, peace, hope, love, and laughter.
I don’t have all the answers. I haven’t experienced every situation, emotion, pain, or victory, and so I am looking for others who to share their stories. We will deal with hard, often painful, injustices head on, but this will not be a “put down” site. We must share victories and joys using this site to “lift up” others. I appreciate feedback on your favorite posts as well as on what you would like to hear more about.
If you would like to contribute, please let me know! I want to hear from you and get your story out!
It is my goal to post every weekday, ending each month with a recap of my favorite posts and a challenge for the coming month. Let’s see if together, we can make this world better for Single Parents, for our children, and for the world.
MAY 2013 CHALLENGE:
Read the Bible Daily. The Bible is divided into very manageable sections. If you are not sure where to start, take a few minutes to ask the Lord to point you in the right direction. For more on Bible Reading check out that category. (more…)
Posted in 2013, Favorite Posts and tagged f by email@example.com with .
“Mommy, please fix the flowers,” My heartbroken 3 year old recently begged. He was saddened by the loss of flowers that bloom on a nearby tree, and no matter how hard I tried to explain that they would grow again next year, my sweet little boy was still saddened. He wanted the pretty flowers to get fixed and he looked a me to fix what was broken.
It may sound silly to think of flowers as being broken. As adults, we often take for granted that flowers bloom and then die, but for a child, this can be a difficult, unfair concept.
“The flowers were SO beautiful Mommy.”
“They weren’t hurting anyone.”
“Why did they have to die though?”
I don’t know sweetie. I just don’t know. (more…)
Posted in Children, Leading Your Children and tagged beauty from ashes, fix the flowers by firstname.lastname@example.org with .
Single parents can experience a lot of guilt, so how do you forgive yourself for the things you should have done differently in your past relationships?
In chapter 14 of the Gospel of Mark verses 66-72, Peter denies Jesus three times. At a time when Jesus must have most wanted His friends nearby, they all abandoned Him. Peter was one of those closest to Him, and yet, even Peter denies Jesus, not once, not twice, but three times.
When Peter realizes what he has done, how must he have felt? He must have felt pretty guilty. In fact, we see, “He broke down and wept” (Mark 14:72). Does that sound familiar?
I cannot count the number of times I have broken down and wept over things I should have done differently. I have wished I could take back every angry word uttered during my 14 marriage, that I could fix every dirty look, and eliminate every thoughtless act. I question whether doing so would have kept my husband from leaving and would have changed my children’s lives.
I will never know. (more…)
Posted in Forgiveness and tagged forgive yourself, guilt, guilty, Peter denies Jesus by email@example.com with .
I want to take a few minutes to share what Memorial Day means to me as a single parent and why I can be thankful.
Single Parenting Woes
My Memorial Day reflection has me thinking about the plight of single parents. Single parents are often tired, overworked, underpaid. They often live in inferior housing struggling to do the jobs of two people. They work early in the morning to get children ready for school and late into the night, sometimes working 3rd shifts. Getting children into bed and the house cleaned up takes hours instead of minutes.
Their precious children often go to lower quality schools coming home to empty houses with no one to check homework or make dinner or be sure they shower, brush teeth, and have clean clothes. No one reads them bedtime stories. Children miss the security and love of having undivided attention and a consistent routine.
At the end of the long day, parents and children fall into bed exhausted and sleep too little, too often lying awake wondering how they can possibly do it all over again tomorrow with little hope for life ever getting easier. (more…)
Posted in Military and tagged be thankful, Memorial Day by firstname.lastname@example.org with .
On Memorial Day, it is especially important to thank our fallen troops and the families they have left behind. I cannot imagine the pain of the husbands, wives, children, parents, and other family members living day to day missing the loved one killed in action. Those who have sacrificed their lives for our country hold a special place in the hearts of single parents. (more…)
Posted in Military and tagged fallen troops, families, Memorial Day by email@example.com with .
I recently heard a family with two preschool children sit down to breakfast and use The Alphabet Song as their prayer before meals. Since I am always on the lookout for fun new prayers, I complimented the family and told them I was going to use this prayer before meals also.
The mom-teacher in me also likes the fact that this prayer before meals uses The Alphabet Song to begin. My boys will learn this prayer quickly and thank the Lord, not only at each prayers before meals, but also every time they recite the alphabet.
I can see my 3-year old thinking of the Lord while he recites the alphabet in his public school kindergarten class someday. I picture my upper elementary and middle schoolers reciting The Alphabet Song and thinking of the sacrifices Jesus made for them as they work on alphabetizing and research. I imagine my high schooler thumbing through our giant book of colleges reciting the alphabet and thinking of the temptations Jesus faced in the short time He was here. (more…)
Posted in Children, Prayers and tagged Alphabet Song, Prayer Before Meals by firstname.lastname@example.org with 1 comment.