I believe I’ve discussed this before; however, I wanted to talk about it a little deeper. In my opinion loneliness is the hardest part of single parenting. Raising children by oneself is so unnatural. From time to time, I get messages from people who read the blog (which I love btw). Most of these messages center around the topics of divorce and/or single parenting. One thing I have noticed in all of these conversations is they normally bring up the topic of loneliness. Also within my own life this is evident. I feel lonely quite a bit. Unfortunately there’s not a one stop fix-all to cure the pain which is accompanied with the lack of true heart-to-heart, soul sharing, human interaction. There are so many options to battle it. But without waiting on God’s timing and choice, it’s just going to be something that keeps occurring over and over.
Personally, I believe one of the biggest single parents can make is to jump into a serious relationship too quickly. I mean it’s probably one of the most common mistakes as well. It’s extremely easy to see why… All of the kids are finally passed out. It’s just me. I can either focus on all of the housework I have to do by myself, pay bills that I must take care of by myself, relax on the couch by myself, or go to sleep by myself. The quietness of the house can cause my mind to wander off to those lonely places. “Will I be alone forever?” or my personal favorite “I just need to find someone. I’m not getting any younger.” It’s not only the help or companionship that I miss. It’s the excitement and fulfillment of doing life with someone brings. I want to be able to watch a tv show and look over to see if my girl is laughing at the same parts. Or sneaking off to bed together to eat brownies and make out. Hahaha.
Another huge reason single parents feel loneliness is that we give and give to our children (like all parents). Solo parenting is missing the proper channels for us to be filled up before we give ourselves to our kids. Here’s why I think that.
My view of the order of importance in a healthy family setup is:
1) Both parents individually focusing on God
2) Both parents focusing on their significant other
3) Both parents focusing on their children
4) Both parents focusing on themselves last
I just believe this is the way God set up families to structure and function. First, we have to be tight with God. It’s just the most important part. He shapes, molds, directs, encourages, and too much else to list. Second, the parents need to focus on each other. They need to make sure they are both full of love and value in the relationship. Being a parent is constantly a selfless act. Like I said, we just give and give. It’s why filling your significant other is so vital. It’s extremely difficult to give something you don’t have. Finally, we focus on ourselves last. If the system is in place, everything should fall into place at this step. God fills our spirits with life and love and our significant other fills our soul and emotion with love and affection. By now, we are busting at the seams with love, hope, joy, encouragement, etc. to give our children. If we are ever feeling drained, God and our spouse are there to pick us back up again. That’s why I believe we rush into relationships. Having someone there to pour into us is how God designed parenting. The mistake is putting things into our own timing instead of having patience… Ahhh yes, my favorite word (note the sarcasm :D ).
Patience. Just the word can send shivers down my spine. While I sit alone with my thoughts and empty space next to me on the couch, I can’t think of a word that exhausts me more. Sometimes I like to have conversations with my Papa upstairs. “I mean cmon man. Sure, I’m lonely but don’t you want to bless some lucky lady by letting them rub this stomach hair at night. I'm saying this for their sake. Seriously, God. Don't you want to bless some woman with all of this epic manliness?!?” Hahaha. But for real, most would think by now I would have mastered the art of patience. I waited every night for 3-4 years for my ex wife to come back home. That never happened, but I was patient. Now it’s been a solo parenting quest for a few years. I’ve been patiently waiting for the right person to come along. I mean after a while don’t we get a certificate or something? Haven’t I earned the right to be a little impatient? However, that’s why it’s so important I keep God #1. I know I’ve been single for years, but even if I started a relationship right now that wasn’t at the right time, I would still be rushing into it.
To be honest, I have my good nights and bad nights. Tonight is a good night. I don’t feel lonely at all. My love tank feels full and ready to love my little crew with 100% of myself. Tomorrow night might be different. I might honestly believe that I don’t have one more ounce of myself to give to these four little people that are depending on me. I might miss someone that I’m valuable, enjoyable, and attractive. But no matter what tonight or tomorrow night feels like, there are two single parenting truths that I’ve come to recognize with I’m feeling lonely.
1) God freaking loves the crap out of me. He made me Seth, and He loves the way He made me.
2) My kids need me.
I’ve found when I put too many feelings in the wrong potential relationship, I begin to place my self-worth in the opinion of that person. Sure, a significant other can fill our soul with love, but my worth comes only from God. He has an amazing plan for me because He loves me too much to give me anything other than something miraculously spectacular. I need to constantly remind myself this because my kids need me. They need me to be fully vested in them. Pardon my French but to quote my dad, “I don’t need to be half assing it”. When too much of myself is given to the wrong person or relationship, I take away from them. Not only that, but I risk becoming upset and depressed. My kids deserve a joyful daddy.
So in conclusion, in my opinion there’s not a 100% easy solution for that single parent loneliness. Mostly, I just want to encourage everyone to not sell themselves short to combat that feeling. Let’s be patient and hold onto our hearts until we feel God’s peace to give it away. Let’s stay rested and keep our self-image positive. That way we can give our kids the best of us. And worst case scenario if anyone is feeling extra lonely one night, reach out to a friend. Allow them to speak life to you. We all are so valuable and important. :)
Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,
Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,