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Helping the single mom

Helping the Single Mom

September 27, 2019 Adrienne Brown 2 Comments

Helping the single mom who often stands alone.

I can remember one day In my life when I was a single mother. I had to go into a local Giant food market, to get food for my two little boys.

 I had just gotten off work and my day had been long, hot, and hard. After, picking up my kids from daycare, I had to go into a grocery store.

We were all exhausted, and hungry and I was on the verge of break down. Yet, I had to be strong and courageous.

After all, these little boys depended upon me to feed them, to care for them and to protect them.

So, I had to be in that store. After getting all the food that I could afford we made our way to the long checkout line.
This is when my real shame and pain started.
My then 7 years old began to beg me for candy that was on the shelves in the aisle.
Quietly I tried to redirect him, and I told him no that he could not have the candy.

The good single mom knows what’s best for her children

“Mommy, how much is that candy in the vending machine?’, Shush, it doesn’t matter, we are not getting candy!

Of course, I knew what my son wanted. He had already been bugging me constantly & persistently since we had entered the store.
No one walked alongside us as I endured this bombardment of his whining. No one heard our conversation.
Neither did anyone hear me tell him a hundred times already that he could not have candy.
But, at this point of the conversation, we were standing in line waiting to be checked out. So, now someone was listening to our little tug of war of will powers.

The single mom is not heartless 

Isn’t it funny how every receptive nerve in your body is activated when you are under extreme stress?
I felt every beep of the register as the cashier scanned my items.
I could feel her breathing and detect her irritation as she rang me up. Instincts warned me what was about to happen.
The cashier asked my son “What are you talking about babes?” I stood there frozen from the shock of her intrusion upon my disciplining moment with my son.
He began to tell this woman what he wanted, so she went on to explain to him what was in the machine and how much the candy cost.
After, hearing her explanation, my son looks up at me with begging eyes.
To which I responded, “You are still not going to get anything from that machine! Period.

I worked hard to be a good mom!

What she didn’t know was the previous conversation. She also didn’t know that I had candy at home.

She didn’t know that this was a teachable moment for me to help my son. To teach him how to prolong his desire and not have to have everything that he saw.

I was actually empowering my son. Besides, I was not about to put my hard-earned money into those machines.

This may seem petty for some, and uncalled for too many. But the fact is, I was a single mom raising two boys all by myself.
I was living on the East coast with no family members nearby and I didn’t have close friends in my neighborhood to call upon for help.

Training future men

I realized that I needed to train my sons in a way that will keep them sane and safe.
Everyone knows that training starts young and training happens everywhere.
You can’t wait until you get home or wait for your child to grow up, and then try to train them.
If you do, most of the time it will be too late.
so to have this woman, run interference into my methods of training my son made me feel erased.

Let me tell you what you should never do to a single mom

  • Never comment on the back end of a single moms conversation with her childYour advice may be the best thing since God created the universe, but you don’t know her from Eve. So approach her with caution, and ask if she needs help. Instead of sizing her up from snippets of conversation that you might overhear.
  • Never assume that the single mom is being mean:  A good mom, wants to give her child the world, and she will do whatever she can to provide that thing. Yet, a good mom also knows when to say no to her child. She knows what is best for that child at that present time.
  • Never judge her parenting skills based on her singleness: In a matter of seconds, that cashier had sized me up, checked me out, and passed judgment. Why else would she have felt so confident to give information to my son, when I was so obviously withholding it from him?
Mom carrying her baby boy
Photo by Zach Vessels


I felt that she had already decided that I was wrong or too harsh, so she took it upon herself to give my child information that I had clearly denied him. This part is the most disheartening for me because I was good to my children.

I cared for them wholeheartedly and did not neglect them at all. Yet I felt that she had judged me as neglectful all to fast.

  • Never assume you know all that a single mom has endured: This is the real problem here. I do think that many people look at single parents and make all sorts of wild accusations.

I walked into that store with guilt and shame heavy on my shoulders. I already felt the piercing eyes of your scornful comments. Therefore, as a single mom, I already had pre-formulated answers to your unnecessary probing.

Believe me, I hated being a single mom, and never did I think that I would be one. So before you offer your assistance, be sensitive, not judgmental.

How to help her be an even better single mom

It has been quite some time since that incident, but the memories of that day still bring up serious heartfelt sadness. I can remember just wanting to cry, scream, swoop my two sons up and running for shelter into my home. I feared judgement, misunderstanding and insensitivity.

If I could teach every person in the world, who encounters a single mom in the grocery line, how to help her. This is what I would tell them:

mom with baby
  • Speak to her with a tone of respect in your voice. The most important thing in my life at that time were my sons, I would have laid my life down for them. So for this woman to step over my decision, treated me like a nobody. she dismissed my decision as if it didn’t count.
  • Remember that she needs grace. She may sound a little impatient to you or even rough, but she just may be holding it all together with every ounce of tenacity that she has left.
  • Her children are a gift from God, too!  No matter what you may think about her or how you have already prejudged her. Those children were given life by the same God that gives you breathe.

That single mom is a precious one who just may need a sympathetic ear or need to look into a compassionate face as she strives to get it right.

  • Ask her permission before you speak to her child. The single mom may not appreciate you talking to her child. Don’t just assume that you can. I was very protective and didn’t like strangers talking to my kids, especially when I was clearly in a teachable moment with them. Get that mom’s OK, before proceeding.

The moral of this story

Being a single mom was the hardest thing I had ever had to do. I didn’t like it at all. There are many women today who are doing the single mom thing, and who are doing an excellent job.

Some are doing it by choice, but many are forced into it.  Being a single mom is a very difficult task to have to do on your own. So, irritating intrusions from others just makes it that much worse.

So help a single mom out by simply remembering these few tips from one who has been there, done that!

If you would like to read more about my early journey as a single mom and how things changed for me here is a link to my book!


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  1. Kate Murray
    October 1, 2019 - 5:00 pm

    These are important suggestions for any person to consider before interrupting a mom’s teachable moment…even the moms who are not single!

    • Adrienne Brown
      October 5, 2019 - 7:03 am

      That’s my point Kate, we must be careful not to diminish a moms authority. Particularly right in front of her children!Thanks for your input!

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