The majority of folks don’t have a clue about how difficult Father’s Day can be for a single mom raising children alone. I know for me, when I was a single mom, two holidays hurt tremendously: Valentine’s Day, which crushed my heart for my sake, and Father’s Day, which crushed my heart for my children’s sake.
Today, I have an advantage over the 10 million single moms in America. Having pressed through the hurtful “Father’s Day” years and now with grandchildren under my feet, I clearly see how choosing to live wisely while in those challenging seasons promises future seasons of fruitfulness.
I know single moms well. Above all the toil and stress of being a solo parent, their number-one desire is that their children flourish into healthy adults. So how can they make that happen? With Father’s Day on the horizon, now is the perfect time to move in that direction. Yes, Father’s Day can be painful to both the mom and child for many reasons, but no need to let it be a total downer when it could be an upper. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and revisit what it looks like to be wise in the parenting department.
So how can single mothers use Father’s Day as a productive tool instead of “misusing” it? Without a doubt, these were at the top of my Father’s Day objectives.
Give your children the gift of wholeness. Just because you might be working through a personal emotional issue, it doesn’t grant you permission to pass that unsettledness to your children. Every child has an inborn infrastructure that wants to love both parents, regardless of the situation. When we step inside our children’s shoes and see their need to love their dad based on his position as father rather than his behavior, we set our children free to mature without the bonds of guilt. Father’s Day is not a time to be self-absorbed. Dad-bashing or ignoring this day all together—whether the dad is deceased or alive—creates in the child a deep sense of remorse, anger, and abandonment.
Give your children the gift of honor. In today’s society, few people know the meaning of honor. It means to regard with distinction. Honoring fathers was not my idea; it’s was God’s. He set into motion the Ten Commandments, where He instructed, “Honor your father and mother that your days may be long in the land” (Exodus 20:12). This commandment doesn’t say to grant a measure of distinction only if the person reciprocates, or grant a portion of respect only if it feels right. Nor does it say to tolerate and affirm abuse from another person. But it does say to seek God’s higher order in how to honor the other parent with godly sensitivity. This I know. If God commands something, He will enable us as moms to carry it out in a way that’s pleasing to Him, beneficial to us, and empowering for our children.
Give your children the gift of a legacy. Single moms often misjudge that they are enough. They think they can be all, do all, and carry all. In one sense, single moms are enough because they alone are the mother. Children don’t call them “Single Mom,” they call them “Mom.” Mothers play the most significant role in their lives, and no one can take their place. They were born in the mother’s womb. Single mothers hold in their hands the opportunity to raise up not only delightful adults but superb future moms and dads. If their goal is that their son grows up to be a magnificent father, however, then they must value the position of fathers and recognize Father’s Day in some way. If the dad is deceased or not in the household for other reasons, proactivity is necessary. Intentionally seek out male mentors: grandfathers, Cub Scout leaders, or baseball coaches. Yes, take advantage of Father’s Day. Don’t abuse it. Use it. Instill greatness in those sons and daughters instead of giving them another reason to feel incomplete or disadvantaged. Single moms, don’t underestimate your value as influencers!
So here’s my final word to single moms: YOU CAN DO IT! If you’ll give these three gifts to your children this Father’s Day, then next Mother’s Day you’ll have a surprise on your hands. You’ll need an umbrella because stupendous showers of blessings will flow. Yes, foster a positive Father’s Day attitude. It’s a win-win for every household.
PAM KANALY, an American Mothers, Inc,® National Mother of Achievement, and best-selling author of The Single Mom and Her Rollercoaster Emotions, remains one of the nation’s leading advocates for single mothers. She is the co-founder of the national organization Arise Ministries bringing encouragement to single mothers worldwide through their online education center: EQUIP. Pam and her husband Rich reside in Edmond, Oklahoma.