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On Only Parenting

I had a moment. No, that is a lie, I had two weeks of moments earlier this month. I have a child who is very difficult to raise. I am raising that child alone. Don’t get me wrong, this child is one of the best human beings on the planet, but there is something this child refuses to do and it is a requirement for high school graduation.


I know you all get it.


During my two-week moment, I mentioned a little of the struggle to a colleague who is becoming a friend.


“It must be hard to be a single mom,” she said with such sympathy.


I threw my arms up and crossed my eyes. Luckily, we spoke on an old-fashioned phone so she couldn’t see me.


I am not a single mother.


I am an only parent.


You are an only parent.


There is a difference. I know you understand.


At family therapy, I was told I was trying too hard.


“Really? I am the only person in the world who cares if this kid graduates from high school. I will throw every possible resource, blood, sweat, and tears at this kid until he chooses to take responsibility.”


And it is true. I mean I am sure you all care, but who really cares? Everyone but me will just be like, “Oh, how sad, he didn’t graduate.” And be back at their lives.


The only other person in the world fully invested in my children was Eric. I had someone to celebrate the successes with. Someone to hide in the failures with. Someone who would listen to my obsessing about solving a problem with patience.  And best of all, he had just as much skin in the game. Someone to go and do the hard things I couldn’t. And if he couldn’t make him do the thing at least we could fail together.


Now, I know that my child’s failure is not my own, especially after all the resources I have made available. All of the prayers that have been offered up.


But still, deep down in my heart, it will always be.


I know you know what I mean. And that makes me feel less alone and isolated.


Am I enough? I wish I had the luxury of being able to ask that question. But I don’t. I have to be enough.


We are on call for our kids 24/7. There is no one to come in and give us a break. No one to make dinner if we are tired. No one to take a child to the airport at 3:45 am for a school activity so I could sleep because I had a long weekend. No one to do a school conference for me because I will just sit in my uselessness and cry. No one to hug us all to say it is ok because we are in this together.


We do the driving, then come home and cook dinner. We figure out the finances all by ourselves. We dole out the punishments as best we can and hold space for hugs and tears. We do it all because we have to. No breaks. No every other weekend.


I write about this concept in my book (coming soon!). The chapter I learned about only parenting came back to me the other day with corrections from “only” to “single.”


"So people can relate better."


LOL! My audience is widows. We are all completely aware of what it is like to be an only instead of a single.


My rant is done. Thank you for listening. Thank you for understanding.


If you have your own rants about this, please participate by adding them to my recent Facebook post about only parenting.


Write to me your thoughts and struggles with being an only parent. lisa@thewidowscomeback. I answer all my emails.


On my healing journey, God showed me that I needed to learn acceptance. Mostly I needed to accept my status as a widow. I wrote about that journey in a Bible study on

Jeremiah 29:5-7.


Build homes and plan to stay. Plant gardens and eat the food they produce. Marry and have grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away. And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.


You can purchase it for $4.99 by following this link. I hope it will help you feel more secure in the life you are living.



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