Do you know a single mom?
Have you ever thought about what the Holidays are like for her? What it might be like to awaken on Christmas morning and not have a single item under the tree that she didn’t pick out for herself, if she even thought to do that for herself? Maybe her family is far away. Maybe she is new in town and doesn’t know many people. Maybe she just wishes she had someone who cared enough to risk trying. Having been in that boat, I would like to offer some ideas for ways to help her at the holidays.
1) Take her kids shopping. Whether she provides the money or you choose to, giving her kids the chance to experience picking out and giving the mom they love so much a special present that they chose just for her is a memory they need. To be able to understand the giving aspect of the holidays begins with actually giving. This will, by necessity, include gift bags or wrapping the presents so mom doesn’t have to do it. Where would the surprise be then?
* a little note here: it is not the rare child that insists that a hamster would be an appropriate gift for mom. I urge you to guide them away from the giving of rodents, unless you know for absolute certain that she has been contemplating getting herself a hamster…
2) Take her kids for an afternoon so she can shop for them. An infant or even a toddler won’t remember what they saw you put in the basket, but an older child will remember, so shopping needs to be done without them.
* you can take them to a park or bake cookies with them or take them to a movie (one their mom would approve) with fast food afterwards. They will have a great memory and mom will get a chance to shop alone without feeling guilty or having to pay a babysitter.
3) Take the kids for a few hours so she can nap or take a bubble bath or even wrap their presents.
* same idea as above. Moms need breaks, even if they don’t think they do. Maybe give her some bubble bath to help her understand that she is supposed to enjoy this time.
4) Take the family out to dinner or cook one for them. You can invite them over for dinner or stop by and drop off dinner. When I had a terminally ill baby at home, we were adopted by a Sunday School class. One night a week, I knew I wouldn’t have to cook.
* It wasn’t always homemade food, either. One family dropped of a frozen lasagna, frozen garlic cheese bread, and bagged salad. I was still very thankful for the respite. I’d be willing to bet that the single mom in your life would be thankful as well.
5) If you have funds, offer to fill Her stocking. Chances are if you don’t do it, no one will. A trip to the dollar store or the dollar bins at Target can fill a stocking for not a lot of money and it’s the fact that someone thought enough about her to even try that will make her eyes and heart fill up.
* as much as we moms love to give and to watch our little one’s eyes light up as they see their gift for the first time, it is sometimes nice to know that someone cared, actually, really, cared enough to buy a little thing for *us*, something they honestly thought we’d like. I would suggest getting something she wouldn’t get for herself. And, in my opinion, it needs to be an actual gift, not a gift card, unless she has requested one. For me, a gift card screams: I didn’t care enough to try, but felt obligated to get something… but that’s me.
These are just a jumping off point of possible ideas to help out the single mom in your life. Do you have any additional ideas? I encourage you to leave a comment and tell us about them.