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3/18/13 at 11:01 AM 0 Comments

Single Parenting: Getting a Handle on Something Without a Handle

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By Sue Birdseye

Now that I’m further along in the single-parenting journey, people assume that I have it all together. That makes me chuckle. All together? Um, let’s see. I could describe a typical week, day, or hour and dispel that notion in a heartbeat. I most definitely don’t have a handle on this life. I’m not even touching the handle. Is there a handle?

For those of us who have been abandoned, the person who was supposed to be our biggest supporter and partner in all our parenting decisions has bailed on us. What do we do now? Here is what I do know, and this is really, really, really important, so take note: When people offer to help you, take it! Even if it’s slightly inconvenient or embarrassing, let people bless you. With five children, I haven’t found anything easy or uncomplicated about my life. But I had to stop worrying about people knowing I was in over my head and start learning to accept all the help I could get.

Now that I’m past the initial shock of adultery and divorce and into the everyday living of divorced single parenthood, I realize that it’s my responsibility to share my needs with others. At the beginning of this tragedy, I didn’t even have to ask for help; I just had to accept it. Now I need to step out of my comfort zone and ask. My friends are more than willing to help, but they all have their own stuff to deal with, so sometimes I just have to holler, “Help!”

Let me paint you a picture of life at my house. Last week was a nightmare of a week. Everything seemed to go wrong—two failed car inspections, one dental emergency, four dental appointments, three sick children, one doctor’s appointment, one wet basement, two unexpected massive medical bills, one broken dishwasher, one faucet that won’t stop spraying, two broken dresser drawers, one broken hallway shoe trunk, two missed deadlines, and one sinus infection. Throw on top of that the everyday stresses of single parenting, and it’s all just a giant train wreck.

I finally texted a friend and asked if she could help me. She responded in seconds with a very happy “Yes!” I wish I had asked days before! I’ve finally learned to ask; now I need to learn not to wait until I’m in a state of emergency! A dear friend told me that I’m pretty much the poster child for needing assistance. I think she meant that in a positive way. (At least, I hope so.) We can all use a little help—or a lot of help—from time to time.

I want to encourage you to phone a friend! Please ask for and accept help. Being a single parent is very stressful. Allow people to alleviate some of the stress so that you can focus on what’s really important. If you can get that house, car, and yard stuff dealt with, you can spend more time walking your sweet babes through this crazy life.

Excerpt taken from Chapter 9 of When Happily Ever After Shatters by Sue Birdseye. Copyright © 2013 by Sue Birdseye. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

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