Single Parent Support


#1

I posted this in Catholic Living > parenting as well, but thought I would also post here for anyone that is living the single life. I do still feel that marriage is my vocation but right now my primary vocation is motherhood and my state in single :slight_smile:

Hi all,

I’m a single mother- divorced 5 years with an annulment. I have struggled to find a place to “fit” and build fellowship with other Catholics. I am committed to my faith and am living chaste. To the secular world, I don’t fit because of my commitment to my faith and in the Catholic community I’m not discerning a religious vocation and I’m not married.
I am wondering for any other single parents out there, what have you done or found to be helpful for you? I’m grateful for the time to be able to really spend in private and family prayer, but I am feeling a deep desire to connect more with the Catholic community.

Thank you :slight_smile:


#2

:wave:

Welcome to CAF (Catholic Answers forums)!

I'm also a single mom -- divorced 10+ years and have an annulment.

At my parish I have been so blessed to make good friends among other parents and families. I don't really fit in with the non-parent singles, both because of my age (late 40s) and my ambivalence towards marriage as a future gift from God.

Getting involved in your parish is critical to developing relationships. Not all ministries are created equal in their capacity for meeting and getting to know people. But if you are committed to creating lasting community, take advantage of the opportunities the present themselves.

For example, if you become a lector, introduce yourself to the sacristan and to the parents of the altar servers -- complement their child on something (e.g., so dedicated, attentive, helpful).

Five years ago I got involved in the music ministry. Because I always leave the building after most people (we have to clean up the choir loft after mass), I ended up being around the people who linger outside to chat after mass. At my parish, that's a lot of the homeschooling families, some young families, some older folks with adult children. Some of the singers (there were only 5) introduced me to a couple people, who introduced me to others, and so on.

Incidentally, we have coffee and donuts after mass on Sundays, but sadly that is a terrible place to meet people! At my parish every family and group of friends keeps to themselves. :sad_yes:

Introductions take time to develop into relationships, of course, so be patient and persistent.

And linger after mass on Sunday. When the crowds have thinned, introduce yourself to someone.

Also, daily mass is a great place to meet faithful Catholics.

God bless you and help you find what you need!


#3

Hi

I'm not a parent so I don't know if I should be commenting but I am by myself and have recently moved to a new parish and made lot's of friends there. Oddly I felt I didn't fit cos I am not elderly (there is groups for that) and I am not young 18-35 (there are groups for that) so there was me with no family to be raising and just floating about..... in a sort of mid space.

I agree with the volunteering (if you have the time) as that's how I met the majority of people I now call friends... it is a slow process to ease your way in and it takes a bit of courage and pick the things you enjoy. I also agree with weekday mass if can as it is likely the same people again and again and is much easily to stay behind and chat than Sundays... at my parish anyway. Also your children my be an in if they get involved. My parish does film shows now and again, bring a plate parties, etc. so go to all of those if you can soon enough you'll find people to talk too. You have to be a bit brave! the first thing I went too ended up being a club full of ladies of a certain age (30 yrs my senior at least), I laugh now but it was a bit daunting, still I made the best of it at the time.... I didn't go back, lol. But one of them is my best friend now and she introduces me to everyone. My next breakfast meeting went better and I ended up becoming a CAFOD volunteer. Good luck!! and have fun


#4

I know exactly what you're going through. What was even more difficult for me was the fact that we had to leave our town with all my old friendships and settle into a new town to be nearer to family for help. It took me a while to finally break through that feeling of "different." I realized that no one else was really that aware of, or even cared whether I was married or not as far as friendships developed within groups and through volunteering at school. When I was able to get over that personal hump, I felt much better. I also started instigating a weekly morning coffee group, and this weekly commitment has made a big difference. It just takes a couple of women, and we've really grown close. The difficult sting is when I thumb through all the glossy family pictures and husband pictures I see in fb. And when couples don't include me in BBQ's or adult get-together on the weekends. I can understand their feelings of not wanting us to feel like third wheels. I've used some of these lonely weekend evenings to grow closer with my kids, because often, I'm running errands and catching up on business most school nights.

I try to view my cross as a gift to embrace. It is a strength, it strips us down and helps us to rely on Jesus's strength and help in an even more intimate way. Meditating on His presence, talking with Saint Joseph, and constant conversation with Our Blessed Mother, who was also set apart in a sense, has been the gift that has sprung from the difficult situation.


#5

Thank you everyone, it really helps to hear of everyone else's experiences. Yes, there has been some personal growth needed to get over my own insecurities and put myself out there. I too feel the sting of loneliness when I don't get invited to things even if I understand maybe they're trying to be sensitive of me being a non-coupled person. I can be grateful for how much (when I finally clued in to truly turn to God first) my relationship with Mary and the saints has grown and especially how much closer I feel to Christ in uniting my sufferings to his.
I still feel called to a vocation of marriage, so I remain hopeful, but trust in God's timing. I know my primary vocation right now is motherhood.
I do hope with the Fall that more groups will be available to join.


#6

I was a single parent for 17 years, so can relate to your struggles.
What I found most helpful was belonging to Bible study groups, for study but also for friendships.

What I found most difficult was finding male companionship/role models for my two sons. The church I was going to had a set up where couples would volunteer to be something like Big Brother/Big Sister to the children of single parents. It was a good idea but it never really worked, everyone was so busy.

As others have suggested, try to be active in the church.

After I gave up on remarrying, and turned it all over to God, I met my husband. But it took awhile. It helps to remember that our happiness doesn't depend on our marital status.

God bless.

.


#7

[quote="thelilway4, post:1, topic:448316"]
I posted this in Catholic Living > parenting as well, but thought I would also post here for anyone that is living the single life. I do still feel that marriage is my vocation but right now my primary vocation is motherhood and my state in single :)

Hi all,

I'm a single mother- divorced 5 years with an annulment. I have struggled to find a place to "fit" and build fellowship with other Catholics. I am committed to my faith and am living chaste. To the secular world, I don't fit because of my commitment to my faith and in the Catholic community I'm not discerning a religious vocation and I'm not married.
I am wondering for any other single parents out there, what have you done or found to be helpful for you? I'm grateful for the time to be able to really spend in private and family prayer, but I am feeling a deep desire to connect more with the Catholic community.

Thank you :)

[/quote]

I confess (I mean that literally) to feeling somewhat chastened by your Post because I know that I have been guilty of feeling judgemental about single mothers, on the assumption that it was as a result of immorality not force of circumstances. Which is wholly wrong - and I am sorry, but I suspect that human weaknesses being as they are this is reflected in an unwillingness to welcome truly Godly mothers such as those here among many Catholic groups.

The comments made about women's groups, Bible study groups etc are all good ones.


#8

[quote="thelilway4, post:5, topic:448316"]
Thank you everyone, it really helps to hear of everyone else's experiences. Yes, there has been some personal growth needed to get over my own insecurities and put myself out there. I too feel the sting of loneliness when I don't get invited to things even if I understand maybe they're trying to be sensitive of me being a non-coupled person. I can be grateful for how much (when I finally clued in to truly turn to God first) my relationship with Mary and the saints has grown and especially how much closer I feel to Christ in uniting my sufferings to his.
I still feel called to a vocation of marriage, so I remain hopeful, but trust in God's timing. I know my primary vocation right now is motherhood.
I do hope with the Fall that more groups will be available to join.

[/quote]

Yes, there are times when the parish or individuals plan events that are for couples.

But once you've made some friends, you can start creating your own events.

Moms (married or single) are great friends because you can all relate to having children running around, interrupting your conversations and thoughts, and the kids can often entertain each other.

Suggest getting together -- if you can't offer your home, offer to bring something.

Arrange play dates for the kids.

Our parish has an adoration chapel. A few moms created a children's holy hour once a week. Great place to meet other moms! After adoration, the kids would play at the park next to the church while the moms socialized.

I found that I was always welcome with these women. They are married, devout Catholics, and homeschooling. I'm a single mom. They never cared about my past, only the fact that I was also striving to live my Catholic faith in the present.

Praying God creates some wonderful and supportive friendships in your life soon!


#9

[quote="SusanneT, post:7, topic:448316"]
I confess (I mean that literally) to feeling somewhat chastened by your Post because I know that I have been guilty of feeling judgmental about single mothers, on **the assumption that it was as a result of immorality not force of circumstances. **Which is wholly wrong - and I am sorry, but I suspect that human weaknesses being as they are this is reflected in an unwillingness to welcome truly Godly mothers such as those here among many Catholic groups.

[/quote]

It's excellent that you have noticed this in yourself, even if it's a bit painful.

I am not necessarily directing the following at you personally, just commenting on the part I highlighted above.

A single mother who arrived at motherhood through immoral actions is still a Child of God. If she has repented and received absolution, and is striving after holiness in the present, she may even be holier than the rest of us! Read about St Margaret of Cortona. :heart:

Regardless of whether or not she's repented, however, every human person not only deserves but NEEDS us to treat them with dignity, with respect, and with LOVE. If we Christians turn up our noses at those we consider sinners, how will they ever know the love of God and seek repentance?

Thanks for sharing your post.


#10

[quote="thelilway4, post:5, topic:448316"]
Thank you everyone, it really helps to hear of everyone else's experiences. Yes, there has been some personal growth needed to get over my own insecurities and put myself out there. I too feel the sting of loneliness when I don't get invited to things even if I understand maybe they're trying to be sensitive of me being a non-coupled person. I can be grateful for how much (when I finally clued in to truly turn to God first) my relationship with Mary and the saints has grown and especially how much closer I feel to Christ in uniting my sufferings to his.
I still feel called to a vocation of marriage, so I remain hopeful, but trust in God's timing. I know my primary vocation right now is motherhood.
I do hope with the Fall that more groups will be available to join.

[/quote]

Good luck :thumbsup: You may find you meet someone through the church too. try not to see it as coupled and non coupled.... my parish is mostly non coupled... ok in honestly that's the elderly and they are widows and widowers. But I am alone and no one has ever asked why, sure I don't have a child, but no one ever asked that either. We are called to love our neighbour as ourselves, many of us are really trying to do that. Incidentally, that's why weekday mass is fabulous, its full of singles... as often the other half is at work anyway.. Only the old's are ever there in couples... if there is still two of them. So perhaps it may help you to try that?

Not only groups to join but if you have a moment, service in the church even things that don't take long such as cleaning the church, arranging the flowers, welcoming at mass, serving tea after mass etc. these are regular things and help you know the 'locals' and so you'll find a way in and before you know it, it will be you people are chatting to outside mass and you'll be asked to help out at charity events and then you may well find your calling as well as make friends... and serve Our Lord


#11

Sometimes I forget to pray to the Lord for good things in my life to happen, or I feel guilty about asking Him. But don't forget to pray for Him to send you some good friends, and to pray for Saint Anne's intercession so a good man might come into your life someday. ;)
And I'll pray for you, too. :)

Someone was saying she assumed most single moms were unvirtuous, and I must be honest with myself and admit I had that same stereotype as well, which is why I struggled so much with insecurity and identity of fitting in when I became one too.

I think this is why I've really grown close to Saint Mary Magdalene. It seems to me that the Church has always had sort of an isolated relationship with her throughout history. She doesn't really fit in anywhere, and yet she is a very great Saint. She embodies the gospel message. I think of her when I'm struggling.


#12

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.