Women raising children alone are often referred to as a single mom. Rarely is the term widow-mom used by people on the outside looking in. Even though there are many similarities to their season in life, there’s a big difference in the two—a husband that’s no longer on this earth. Please know, I understand the fact that both meet the description of a widow—a woman left alone. Death knocked on the door for these women, just in a different way. There is death to a marriage and then there is actual physical death.
It is important to understand the differences and similarities when providing care for the single mom versus the widow-mom.
Differences between the widow-mom and single mom:
Death separates. The important subject of eternal life is introduced when a husband passes away. The widow-mom is forced to consider the eternal destination of her husband. Did he trust in the blood of Jesus Christ to save him from his sins? This can be a scary time for some widows. If her children are young, they are presented with the uncomfortable subject of death, separating them from a father figure and having to go through grief earlier than they might have the maturity to handle.
Grief will look different. The husband/father is not there and is not coming back. The reality of this absence is a process to work through.
There is only one parent.For the widow-mom, there is a void where there once were hopes to raise a family with her husband. Along with the absence is the overwhelming responsibility of raising children alone. Not only is she caring for the practical, emotional, and spiritual needs of her children, she is also managing all aspects of the home including maintenance, provision, and making major decisions. Pray for God to send mentors to walk alongside of both mother and child.
Similarities between the widowed-mom and a single mom:
There is not a man in the home on a consistent basis.Fathers are important! God designed children to have both a mom and a dad. The absence a physical man—daddy in the lives of children—creates the need to direct mother and child to God as Father.
Grief over the loss of this important person will take place. Loss upon loss is experienced through the reality of crushed dreams and ongoing disappointments. Pray for God to bind up their broken hearts and comfort as only He can. God’s investment into their lives in this way will teach lessons of compassion that will be used to encourage others at another time. God does not waste sorrow.
The mom is left alone. That’s the definition of a widow—a woman left alone by death, divorce or desertion. She has the responsibility to oversee many things on a daily basis. Pray that she places her trust in God who will never leave or forsake her.
Practical ways to care for both:
- Set up a Support Squad to help her carry her load.
- Care for her children. This might include trustworthy babysitters or a mother’s helper.
- Send gift cards. Food, gas, and clothes are always needed.
- Deliver meals during busy seasons, stock her freezer during the winter, or set up a meal train just because.
- Pamper her. Let her know she is loved with a manicure, Starbuck’s, or massage.
- Provide camp scholarships or help pay for extra-curricular activities for her children.
- Assist with tutoring or pay for this need.
- Pay for house cleaning or a summer lawn services.
- Run errands for her.
- Assist with laundry.
- Give her the gift of time away. During these physically exhausting years, the opportunity for the widow to have quiet retreat will energize her to continue with the task she has been given.
- Mentor her and her children. A mentor provides guidance with decision making and is a vessel God uses for His fathering.