LET GO AND LET GOD
A question I’m often asked is “how did you manage to successfully raise 4 kids by yourself while working multiple jobs?”
I took it one day or one crisis at a time! I prayed A LOT! I learned to truly “let go and let God.”
They’re grown now and I can say with conviction that they are all amazing successful adults. I’m asked so often (by single parents and married parents alike) how I did it. How did I manage to raise 4 kids on my own with very little help from their father, no help from grandparents or other relatives, while working two jobs, one job full-time and another part-time?
The Short Answer
The short answer is that I absolutely had to learn to “let go and let God” (a mantra I learned while attending Al-Anon ~ support for spouses, family members of alcoholics.) By practicing that philosophy every day I developed a habit of praying about each and every situation. I learned to take one day at a time which translates to only handling one crisis at a time.
While every family has a need to plan ahead to a degree, we often spend so much time worrying about the future that we aren’t living in the present. With so much on my plate, retaining my sanity was dependent on me handling-thinking-worrying about only the crisis at hand, not the one that could happen tomorrow or next week or next year.
A Wide Variety Of Ages
Gaps of multiple years between pregnancies resulted in having a teenager, a middler schooler, a grade schooler and an infant. The variety of ages made life interesting to be sure. Sometimes I felt the age span made my life easier (the oldest could drive and therefore run errands for me and or deliver siblings to various activities). It also presented a set of challenges all it’s own. My infant literally grew up being carted from soccer field to baseball field to dance studio depending on which of the older 3 kids’ activity was scheduled for that particular day.
While my childrens’ father loves them without question he was, throughout their years of growing up, a full fledged card carrying alcoholic. For that reason he was never allowed to have them at his home (200+ miles away) for visitation. He came to their town to visit them and only saw them if I could verify that he was sober (or at least sober “enough” because at that time in his life, sober was a relative term). Because of this restriction I had 100% custody including every weekend of every year of the 18+ years that each of them lived at home.
He, however, never failed to fulfill his financial obligations to his children. His child support checks could be counted on like clockwork. We definitely were not sitting on easy street and I still had to work a full-time job plus a side job part-time but I didn’t experience the additional stress that so many single parents experience when the non-custodial parent fails to fulfill their financial obligations.
Let Go And Let God
Early in my days as a “divorced single mom” I heard the phrase, “let go and let God,” while attending an Al-Anon meeting. That phrase resonated with me at the time and still does today, 20 plus years later. While I had prayed over and with my kids since their birth, I immediately began consciously praying over them, their lives, their choices, our life situation, their alcoholic father, etc., multiple times each day. I reminded myself multiple times each day that God was the one in control. I could only do what was in my power trying to be the best parent I could be and after that I had to turn it over and trust that He “had this one.”
I look at my adult children now and realize the blessing that was in that little phrase, “Let Go and Let God.” I tried to be the best parent I could be but God was the reason. Those kids were literally “prayed up” as they were “raised up.” My only claim to fame is that I was smart enough to realize that it was so often out of my hands and I had to “let go and let God handle it.”