“Single mom is not your identity,” said PeggySue Wells. “Single is your experience at the moment, a relationship status,” she continued. “Being a mom is perpetual. You are always going to be a mom.”
When author PeggySue Wells said, “I do,” she never imagined that her marriage would end, leaving her to raise seven children. Nevertheless, after 20 years, Wells has witnessed the goodness of the Lord throughout her journey of single motherhood. Now her mission is to help encourage moms facing similar situations.
In her most recent book, The 10 Best Decisions a Single Mom Can Make, Wells and her co-author Pam Farrell discuss how single motherhood shaped their lives. But instead of dwelling on overwhelming circumstances, Wells and Farrell offer hope, practical advice, and biblical encouragement to single moms unsure of what to do next.
When it comes to single parenthood, there is often a stigma associated with judgment and condemnation. In reality, most moms, such as Wells, never dreamed they would walk this path. Today, according to singlemomcircle.com, one in four homes are single-parent-led, and 50% of those parents have experienced divorce or separation.
Care for the hurting
After Wells’ divorce, she recalled her daughter saying, “Everything I thought was true about my family was a lie.”
When divorce rattles the foundation of a once-stable family, both children and parents are forced to learn a new normal. Their world has turned upside down, and everything that once was true no longer is. More times than not, moms are left alone caring for children, helping with homework, doing household maintenance, shopping, cooking, cleaning, scheduling medical check-ups, which leaves little to no time to care for themselves. Often, this bleeds into the lives of their children.
“When we go through a huge trauma and break up what was supposed to be a lifetime relationship,” Wells continued, “we face trauma.”
Wells also explained that in the face of the trauma, “Single moms are often perceived as making totally dumb decisions, and sometimes they do. They are not thinking; they can’t.”
Church is for the broken
When it comes to resources and a good place for these families to find support, the church should be the leader. Unfortunately, few needy single moms darken the doors.
“Eighty-five percent of single moms and their families do not attend church,” Wells continued, “because we feel alone, isolated, and judged, particularly in the church setting.”
By not reaching out, the church is missing one of the largest mission opportunities.
Wells believes one of the first things the church can do is understand that single motherhood and divorce are not automatically sinful. She also listed counseling, mentorship, and safe childcare as ways to encourage these families to come to church.
“Welcoming single-parent families does not mean the church endorses divorce any more than hospitals helping patients is endorsing illness,” she said. “The church introduces people to Jesus, and we all need a Savior.”
The church should be a label-free zone where single moms can find help, hope, and deep healing. After all, they are worth more than a shallow relationship.
Statistics on single moms
- 40% of single mothers are over 40 years old.
- More than three-fourths have full-time careers.
- Less than half receive child support.
- One-third of single-parent families live at or below the poverty level.
- The average yearly child support to single moms is $6,000.
(Editor's Note: This article was published first in the September edition of the AFA Journal and was posted online HERE)