The Unseen Side of Parenting in a Divorced Home
We all know there are many issues a single parent has to deal with in a divorced home. However, there is also an unseen side of parenting alone and living in a single parent home. A friend of mine dealt with one of these unseen circumstances this week.
Since it is the beginning of summer, it is time for her daughter to visit her other parent. This is just like thousands of kids are going to do this summer. However, right before time to leave, her daughter got sick. Her daughter wanted to stay home and be in her own bed. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to visit the dad; she just wanted to be in her own bed when she didn’t feel well. Don’t most of us want to be in our own bed when we are sick?
For the single mom it was very hard to let her sick daughter leave for two weeks. As a mom, she was concerned and of course she wanted to take care of her daughter herself. Now her daughter was going to be seven hours away.
After the daughter got to the other home she texted her mom that she had survived the trip but she was in a lot of pain and wanted to be home. The mom said the daughter is not one to complain, so she knew her daughter must really be hurting. This mom agonized over her daughter. She felt so helpless.
The next morning the text messages started up again very early. The mom had sent instructions about what pain medicine to give the daughter; when and how much pain medicine to giver her, but evidently the instructions were ignored by the step mom.
The mom said,
“It’s very difficult as a mother not to be able to do anything to help with my child’s pain and to have a child that wants to come home and can’t. It’s going to be a long day. I am reminding myself that there are parents who have watched (or are watching) their child suffer more serious conditions and that the helplessness I feel is nothing compared to theirs. I cannot imagine their pain. I do, however, still wish I could take care of my sick child and she still wants to be home and I cannot make a move to get her.”
This was a wise mom in that she put out a message on Facebook asking her friends to pray for her daughter’s pain. This will speak volumes to her daughter about her mom’s concern for her. It also brought a lot of people to the prayer alter.
Many people who haven’t walked in the shoes of a single parent may not think about the issue of having to let a child leave when they are sick. Or how about the issue of knowing that someone who is a stranger to you is going to be responsible for taking care of your sick child.
These are huge issues. Whether you are a single mom or a single dad, it is hard to let your child leave for an extended amount of time and especially when the child is sick. Single parents need deep understanding during the summer months. The parent who gets to see their child for several weeks will have a hard time sending the child back home at the end of the visit. It is not a win-win for anyone.
If you are a church leader or volunteer, remember to pray for the children in single parent homes as they shuttle back and forth this summer. Many want to be with both parents. As a child gets adjusted and comfortable in one home it is time to pack up and move again.
These kids will need understanding and they will need your empathy this summer. What will you do to help them?For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.
This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on June 14, 2013.