Learning to be a single mother has been a challenge. One of the biggest difficulties is the whole Good Cop, Bad Cop interaction that no longer plays at my house. There’s no one else to play Bad Cop if I want to be the Good Cop for once. And it’s fatiguing to constantly be the bad guy to my boys. To always be the one to say ‘no’, to set the boundary, to exact the penalty, to harp, to nag, to harass. Ugh! I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
Day in and day out, I’m the responsible one. I have a wonderful family and friend support system that is willing and able to help anywhere I need it, but even though they are willing to help, they are not the ones that are responsible. And that burden of responsibility gets very, very heavy on my single shoulders at times.
Recently I needed to make a decision regarding my youngest son’s education. It was one of the first times I’d had to make that big of a decision without having a committed sounding board to bounce ideas off of, and it was a little bit daunting. I could ask my family, my older sons, my friends, etc, but no one else was responsible for that decision but me. I felt very, very alone in that moment and a tad overwhelmed. I asked my Sister Knot ladies to agree with me in prayer one week and one of them sweetly prayed for me and I was reminded that I WASN’T alone in making the decision. I wasn’t the only one responsible for that child. I had a great big, caring sounding board of a Heavenly Father that was standing by to listen and help. He was with me. He would hear all the pros and cons I laid out and help me make the best decision for that child. I didn’t have to do it by myself.
So now in my home, I’m learning bit-by-bit that I don’t have to be Bad Cop-Bad Cop. I can just be mom and help my boys see the boundaries that their Heavenly Father has in place. I’m learning to respond to my sons’ questions about, “Can I…XYZ” with, “I don’t know, why don’t you ask God about it?” or “Do you think that’s okay with God?” That doesn’t mean I get off scot-free; I still have to say “No” here and there, or “Have you done your homework?” or “Empty the dishwasher.” I’m still a parent; I’m just not parenting alone.
I’m also learning that when I’m tired or flat-out exhausted, God is able to strengthen me to have one more conversation with my son at midnight. He is able to be that needed boundary when I need to be merciful. He is able to give me wisdom when a decision needs to be made. He is able to give me peace when I feel my schedule and calendar are in complete overloaded chaos. He is able to give me courage (and willingness) to ask for help when I realize I really can’t be two places at one time. He is able to provide kindness upon my lips when anger or frustration is filling my head. He is able to lift me up, to uphold me in my weakest of moments. And I do NOT have to do it alone. He is able and HE IS WITH ME.
“Fear not, for I Am with you;
Be not dismayed,
For I Am your God;
I will strengthen you,
I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”