Single Mom

The Best Decisions a Single Mom Can Make: Part 1

Rhonda RobinsonBy Rhonda Robinson9 Minutes

Rhonda Robinson: I understand you are the author of 29 books of your own and a lot of others for clients. The 10 Best Decisions a Single Mom Can Make sounds like it is one that comes from the heart.

PeggySue Wells: This one I kind of came into kicking and screaming. Because I really didn’t want to be known as the single mom, I didn’t want that to be my identity. But I’ve been a single mom of seven children for 20 years and it kind of came down to, well you know, might not be my identity but I certainly have some experience there.

And so if there was the opportunity to put out the experience the things that I learned what works and be able to put some first steps down for the next person coming along. That was kind of the point of what I wound up doing when I put together The 10 Best Decisions a Single Mom Can Make. Because initially, you know, it’s like I just don’t want that to be my identity.

No single mom wants that to be her identity. In the process of writing the book, what I come to understand was, it’s not an identity, it’s an experience.

In being a single mom, single is a relationship status and that can change. And mom is that sacred relationship that we have between the mother and her child.

Somebody said, it is a good idea to learn from your mistakes, but it’s even better to learn from someone else’s.

So we can learn from my mistakes, and you don’t have to make them, then it’s a twofer. What I did is, in the book, everything that’s in there, is the things that worked, and we just stayed away from the things that were negative. So it’s like grab the stuff, use it, and you’re gonna be able to be far more successful as a single-parent family.

RR: I love that. Can you give us some examples of some of the trials that single moms face?  You mentioned, them not wanting it to be their identity. I can imagine there’s a lot actually, I know personally that there are women who actually stay in a marriage because they don’t want that identity.

PeggySue: Yeah, there’s a stigma still with that. We’ve gotten better and the reason we’ve gotten better, and there’s not as much stigma around it, is because one in every four homes is now single parent-led. 85% of those are single moms and 85% of those single-parent homes are unchurched they do not go to church. The single mom and her children have felt judged.

And so it’s been a very isolating experience. People that have been in single mom situations have, for the most part, been staying out of the church. Now that is shifting, we have generations that have grown up in single-parent homes that are in the church and that have stayed. And so now the church is a lot more open to that because again this is like the third generation of some people that have been experiencing single-parent families.

So we’re more welcome in churches than we had been.

But the studies show that 50% of all children in the United States will live in a single-parent home, prior to reaching age 18. So you can’t open a car door without running into someone who is either in a single parent home or has.

Again you take four people and put them together, one of them in there has either been in a single home or is in a single-parent home. And when I pitched this idea to a publisher, we had this group call where it was my agent and my co-author Pam Farrell’s.

She was on, and I was on, and then we had our acquisitions editor. And so there were five of us on the phone talking about this idea. Three of us were single-parent families. And so, you know, that was kind of a large majority of us on just that call which, again, years ago that wouldn’t have been a possibility.

There’s a reason why single moms and children, a lot of times, don’t make great decisions. A lot of times we’ll look around with single moms, at kids that come from a single parent home, and we’re going, what are they thinking? Why are they doing that?

Here’s the thing, they’re not thinking.

And this is why a lot of times when we wind up as a single mom. There is a trauma that somehow triggered that decision. A lot of times comes from the breakup of a relationship that comes from a betrayal, it comes from different things, a loss it comes from a death.

Anything that is going to be really negative, it wasn’t what we wanted to have happen. So there’s a trauma.

And when we experienced trauma, the front part of our brain goes offline, and instead, our brains adjust to that place buried deeper inside that says, either to fight, flight or freeze. And so that’s where a single mom goes through during that time of trauma, that’s where the children go to during that time of trauma and then moving forward.

A lot of times we stay off balance, we kind of move from trauma to trauma to trauma because there’s perhaps the break in a relationship, then there may be a relocation. There may be, you know, new jobs, there’s a falling out of relationships and friends and relatives. Everything changes and it just starts this domino effect. And so there’s this trauma after trauma after trauma and so the ability to come back online and make smart reasonable decisions is not plugged in. That’s why we are looking at sometimes choices that people are making and it’s like, ah, you know.

And so when we wrote The 10 Best Decisions a Single Mom Can Make, the plan was to start at the beginning. Let’s see where you are now. What is the next best decision? What is the next right thing to do? And so by walking moms and families through that, we help them take a look at it.

Where’s your safety. How’re your finances? Do you need to do something career-wise? It’s just walking them through those decisions. How do you plug into community? How do you find a healthy community? How do you find healthy peers and mentors?

So we’re giving them the next right choice the next right decision so that they can get their feet back under them and start making their own decisions. Because if things start to settle, then they can get their thinking part of their brain back on track.

Order your copy of The 10 Best Decisions a Single Mom Can Make: A Biblical Guide for Navigating Family Life on Your Own