Dear Renita,
I am a 27-year-old single mother of three boys, ages 7,5, and 4. How can you change your life so you may be successful in home, family, school and work? I want to grow in every area, but the walls seems so high that I have to climb. How can I find my talent/gift that is to make a way for me when I feel I have none? Thank you, and blessed be to all who share this feeling...
--Wanting It All

Dear Wanting It All,
First, breathe. Inhale. Exhale. I said, breathe.

You're a single mom with three sons under ten, and you want to be successful at home, family, school, and work? Get real! The only way possible for you to do that is to sit down and redefine for yourself what "success" looks like.

If you think success means having perfect children who perform perfectly at school, having a job where you do exemplary work from 9 to 5, and a home life where everything runs without a hitch, I'll say it again: Get real. Don't fall into the trap of trying to measure your own life against some TV or movie portrait of the ideal life.

Unfortunately, ours is society that idealizes motherhood but despises real mothers. It makes single moms like yourself, who work one shift on a job and a second shift taking care of their families, think they have no talent or gift. Don't you know that organizing schedules, earning and budgeting your money, supervising little ones, just getting from here to there--this is the stuff of organizational geniuses! Recognize and appreciate your strengths.

Until your sons get older, you may have to settle for simply keeping family and work running reasonably well with a contained amount of chaos and disruption. Later on, as your children grow up, you'll have more freedom to explore different interests. But right now, there is something to be said for the grace of daily obligation. In the simple routine acts of comforting a child, ironing a shirt, sharing a sandwich with a friend during lunch, God can show up.

Resist the temptation to measure your growth (or God's favor in your life) by giant leaps. Faithfully getting up every morning and getting your family off to school and yourself off to work with a reasonable amount of cheer--things on the surface that look small and insignificant--these things can count for a lot in the realm of the sacred.

Those small, routine steps from here to there are as much a sign that God is with us as the giant-size dives off the board. Remember: God, too, is a single parent. And surely that must count for something.


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