Every day we go through our normal routine: wake up, get the kids off to school, go to work, come home, cook dinner, help with homework, and then tuck the kids into bed. After spending a couple more hours cleaning the house, catching up on email, and getting ready for the next day, we fall into bed exhausted. Only we can’t sleep. We lay wide awake and replay the day in our minds.
We feel guilty because of the harsh tone we used with our daughter. We feel guilty because we didn’t spend enough time with our teenage son. We feel guilty for rushing around knowing our frenetic pace causes anxiety in our family.
We drift off to sleep drowning in a sea of guilt. Then we wake up just to go through the motions all over again.
This week we will focus on WHY single parents feel so much guilt, even more so than parents in intact families. Join us next week when we talk about how we can alleviate that guilt.
Why Do Single Parents Feel So Much Guilt?
Every parent wrestles with guilt on some level. Yet for single parents, the amount of guilt multiplies because they play the role of both mom and dad . . . twice as much responsibility with half as much help.
Also, single parents compare their own childhood (if it was a positive experience) to their children’s lives. If the single parent grew up in an intact family, they beat themselves up for not being able to provide that experience for their own children.
Single parents also compare their children to other kids’ families. If their kids’ friends have parents who are married, single parents sometimes feel like they are providing a second-class family. This is a lie the Enemy tells parents to make them feel unworthy, insignificant, and invaluable. Do not listen to the Enemy; he is the father of lies.
You belong to your father, the devil,
and you want to carry out your father’s desires.
He was a murderer from the beginning,
not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.
When he lies, he speaks his native language,
for he is a liar and the father of lies.
– John 8:44, NIV
Single parents also compare their lives to what they see on social media, with photos of pretty, shiny, happy families displayed for all the world to see. Single parents see husbands and wives in holy matrimony with their 2.5 kids and a dog . . . and are left feeling depressed and alone.
Elizabeth Oates is a wife, mother of three, and an author, blogger, and speaker who encourages, inspires, and equips a new generation of women seeking a deeper relationship with Christ. She is a cliché Generation Xer from a broken home who once searched for purpose and significance apart from Jesus Christ. Today she devotes her life to spreading the message that we are not defined by our past; our God is bigger than our broken family trees and stronger than the sins that weigh us down. She graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary and co-founded Project Restoration Ministry. To learn more about Elizabeth or receive her weekly blog, please visit ElizabethOates.com