Stop Apologizing {Especially You, Single Mom}

I’d found a patch of shade and settled in to watch my little guy, Owen, play baseball.

After about three innings, my phone alerts me to a text from my daughter, Hannah.  She’s at a fundraiser with her dance team and wants to know what time I can come get her.  She’s feeling dehydrated and nauseous.  She’s been in the sun  – 90 degrees – since about 10 am, and it’s 12:30.

I text a few moms who are with her (because it really does take a village), and they’ve given her water and a break. I text Hannah and remind her to drink plenty.  I also remind her that I’ve arranged with another mom to drop her at home after the fundraiser.  I will follow closely thereafter with Owen.

Then, a miracle.

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For the first time since my divorce, I did not apologize for myself.  For not being able to come right then and get her (not that she expected that anyway.)

As I sat and watched the next few plays, I experienced an almost audible conversation with God – yes, at the ball field.  Suddenly, I no longer felt the need to apologize again and again to the child I felt was/is being slighted.

Because that’s what I do.

If I am somewhere and can’t pick up Owen or meet a need I think needs met, I apologize profusely to the child – even though I know he or she does not expect it.  In fact, I wonder if they think, “Mom is crazy.”

Yet, in that moment at the ball field I felt no urge to apologize, and I realized (thanks to some divine intervention) that the apology comes from a place deep within in me, whispering failure.  As if, I owe  my children an apology for not coming to the game because I am at the other child’s recital – and what I am apologizing for really isn’t the missed event.  That’s a bit trivial.

What I am apologizing for is my failed marriage.  My inability to juggle all the balls perfectly.  I am apologizing to them for being stuck with a mom like me – one who isn’t perfect, doesn’t have it all together, can’t provide everything she wants them have, and can’t be at every single thing they do. One who splits the laundry and household chores with them because she can’t keep up with it all alone.

Because at some point I decided moms should do it all for their kids.  It’s a mom’s job to do her child’s laundry and mow his/her lawn. In fact, making the child help seems wrong.  After all, they’re MINE, and I want to do everything for them.

While I love my children more than anything and I did “take them to raise” – this thinking is faulty at best (and clearly a product of culture and not faith).  God – through his word and a friend  – has been working on me about this, but I was oblivious until I sat in my camping chair at the ball field and realized…

I have nothing for which to apologize.

I have apologized to them for my part in their broken home.  I have and will apologize when it’s genuinely needed – like when my frustration reaches an all-time high, and they become the target.

But, in general, I do not need to apologize over and over for the “what has been.”

And if I keep it up, we may never know “what will be.”

Because we will keep living in the reminder and the ick of the past.

Because all that apologizing…that self talk that occurs around the apologizing…it’s not good or useful.

Moms, our children have it better than 90% of the world. For what do you/we truly need to apologize? Should we have honest conversations? Yes!  Can we help them navigate the hard things in life?  Of course.

We also can and should help them understand that we don’t love them less, but it’s the sister or brother’s turn for our time or attention. Or it’s time for “mom only” time.

But don’t be sorry. Either verbally or in your heart.

You can be sorry for the divorce or the death. That their family is broken or different. But you can not live that way. And you can not keep bringing it up and apologizing.

Instead. Huddle up. Go team!  Be a family – however that looks to you in your situation. Teach your kiddos to give and take. Be thankful. Speak life and thankfulness for the grass that needs mowed and all the clothing that needs washed. Be thankful that they made the team or teams so it presents a dilemma as to how to split time. (Some kids would love to have a spot on the team!)

It takes just a tiny turn of perspective to change attitudes and outlooks. From “this is broken and stressful” to “look at us go!”

You don’t have to juggle it all on your own. You get to because you have a home and food and laundry and healthy kiddos.

Best of all…you do not juggle alone.  God is with you – your refuge and your strength (Psalm 46).

And He is for you.  (Romans 8)

That day I was able to get Hannah at the fundraiser’s end, and Owen’s dad dropped him at our house.  And then…we had the best day!  We celebrated Mother’s Day a day early with a laughter-filled lunch and this sweet gift ….

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Hand in Hand.  Heartfelt.  Blessings.

We got this.  

A fitting reminder after my conversation with God that morning – that we got this.  We are all in this together.  It’s not just you, Mom, taking on the weight of the world. It’s all of us – together – mowing, laundering, cleaning, giving, taking, and loving.

And, friends, we are all in this together – truly.  Even if you’re not single – we’re all in this together – living, laughing, and learning as we walk one another home. Don’t forget that.  You do not have to do it all or be it all – you weren’t made for that.  You were made to be you and do what He called you to according to his purposes. Nothing more, nothing less.  (So swallow your pride and ask for help – or allow someone to help.)

Sister, allow Him to lift the weight.  Walk in freedom today, knowing you’ve got this – we’ve got this – because he has us.

Much Love,

Comments

  1. “What I’m really apologizing for is…” This was so insightful, Sarah.

  2. Fabulous break-through, Sarah!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Stop Apologizing {Especially, You, Single Mom} […]

  2. […] Christa Sterken wrote in a recent blog post,  […]

  3. […] May I wrote about a defining moment in my post-marriage, single-mom, almost-40 life:  I stopped apologizing for myself. […]

  4. […] I apologize over and over for myself.  You spoke directly to my heart. […]

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