Monday, December 17, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Young, Single Mom

Can you imagine living by this schedule every day or even for one?

*Get yourself, a 2-month-old and 16-month-old fed, dressed (warmly), and out the door to walk a block to the nearest bus stop by 9am.

*Take the bus to the pediatrician's office

*After the appointment, take the bus to drop off your kids at daycare

*Take the bus to H-E-B.  Work from 12pm-8:30pm.

*Take the bus back to the daycare center to pick up your children

*Take the bus home

*Bathe kids and put them to bed

*Repeat tomorrow morning
This past Friday, I picked up this mother and her two kids at the bus stop because they were waiting in the cold.  In the short time between the bus stop and the doctor's office, I learned that she was from Kansas City, MO and moved here to find work.  She moved here with nothing, but her daughter, and lived in a women's shelter upon her arrival.  After moving here, she learned she was pregnant.  She said she has plans to begin school soon.  I didn't ask when or how that would come to pass.

I dropped them off and headed home to my cozy little house to work on sorting some things for the Good Samaritan project.  I couldn't stop thinking about how wonderfully simple and easy my life was compared to this young mother's!  The only things on my schedule for that day were things I volunteered to do!  A few hours later, I visited an elderly friend for lunch.  We were seated around a table with 6 elderly widows.  I relayed my encounter with the young mother.  A lady in a Santa hat quickly replied from across the table, "After you have the first one, you know where they come from after that!"

I was so wrapped up in trying to imagine living that young mother's life, that I didn't have time to blame her for her circumstances.  It hadn't occurred to me that her life didn't have to be so hard.  But, it is.  The choices have been made and they are being "paid for" daily. 

As a mother who unintentionally had 2 children less than a year apart, I know how ignorance works.  I also know how those ignorant and unintentional choices can add beauty and love to the world, beyond all imagination.

I have often thought that if the Lord were to bless me with a vast amount of time and money, I would pour myself into a ministry for single mothers.  No matter the path they took to get there, they are there.  They are trying to do singly, what I sometimes struggle to do with help; help from another who is equally responsible for my children.

Christ continually comes to us in the middle of our self-made messes.  He never says, "You know, it didn't have to be so hard."  "You made your bed.  Now, lie in it."  "Peter, I'm not going to pull you out of the water.  You shouldn't have looked down."

God is a just and merciful God.  His mercy prevails over His Justice!!

"Oh, how much I am hurt by a soul's distrust!  Such a soul professes that I am Holy and Just, but does not believe I am Mercy and does not trust in My Goodness.  Even the devils glorify My Justice but do not believe in My Goodness.  My heart rejoices in this title of mercy...the greatest attribute of God."  ~Diary of Sister Faustina 

Help me, O Lord, that my eyes may be merciful, so that I may never suspect or judge from appearances, but look for what is beautiful in my neighbor's souls and come to their rescue.

Help me, that my ears may be merciful, so that I may give heed to my neighbor's needs an not be indifferent to their pains and moanings.

Help me, O Lord, that my tongue may be merciful, so that I should never speak negatively of my neighbor, but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all...

(Sr. Faustina's prayer)


  1. First I just want to say that I love your blog! You always have such wonderful things to say. I am just curious what you meant when you say in this post "As a mother who unintentionally had 2 children less than a year apart, I know how ignorance works."

    1. Hi Cailin! Thanks for reading! I think you're my only reader that I don't know personally! :)I would love to know how you found my blog.

      To answer your question, I conceived my second son 2 months after having my first and was dumbfounded to learn I was pregnant again. I found myself eating Doritos at 10 in the morning and thought, "No...This is strangely familiar. Is it possible?" Sure enough! Positive pregnancy test. Basically, I pumped for a month and my cycle hadn't returned, so I thought I was in an infertile time. My husband teases me to this day (that I was so wrong)!

  2. That is kind of funny. I was just curious, because as I was reading it caught me a little off guard. It sort of sounded like having a second child was ignorant on your part but I think I understand what you meant.

    Elizabeth Beardsley is an old friend and I saw her post your blog on Facebook one day and I have been reading ever since! It was just the kind of reading I was looking for. :-)

    1. I just became friends with E on FB and thanked her. I love that you asked for clarification and welcome your continued input. Have a great night, Cailin.

  3. Wow this is great stuff Heidi. I rediscovered your blog after telling Becky about it-when she shared with me the booklet of Catalina Rivas' Marian apparitions concerning the Holy Mass--man, that little book convicted me! I'm guilty of every shortcoming pointed out by our Mother to Catalina. Thank you for sharing and helping us grow. We love it and our indebted to you.
    I love this blog on the young single mother. It's easy for all of us to criticize and blame the unfortunate for their seemingly careless decisions. We never know, however, about their background and upbringing. Maybe she too was a child of a single unwed mother and never knew or was never taught any differently. God affords us countless opportunities each day to receive his grace through selfless acts of kindness to those less fortunate. We're not to question why they did what they've done. God gives us grace regardless. Mt 25 (I was hungry and you gave me food; naked and you clothed me...). Never pass up an opportunity to give money or aid to the man holding a "will work for food" sign on the street corner. God's grace is not conditioned on what that man does or how he uses the help we give.
    Thank you for all you do Heidi and for your outreach on this blog. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Jeff P

    1. Thanks, Jeff! I'm with you about being convicted by Catalina's revelations on the Holy Mass! It was originally emailed to me. I started to hand-copy all of the prayers I wanted to pray during Mass, and realized I could just order the booklet. So, I ordered one for myself and 49 others to give away. :)

      As for social justice (mercy) thank you for being such a visible and tangible part of the solution. Inherently, I know being a single parent is hard, but rarely get to see the particulars. I am reminded of something Charles Spurgeon said once, "You are what you are by His grace. Though you are not what you wish to be, remember you are not what - if strict justice were carried out - you would be..."

      Merry Christmas and all His best to you and Yours.