Why do some single parents seem to be frazzled?


Stress-based illness in the workplace

Ever wonder why that kid who only comes every other week has a parent that never seems to know what is going on? They appear frazzled all the time. It is because there is just too much happening in his or her personal life. They are frazzled single parents.

Single parents are strong people. They have to be in order to survive. However, sometimes when you work with a divorcing single parent you may wonder if they live in a different world. Actually they do live in a different world. Many times it is a world caught up in stress with a terribly busy, frazzled and hectic schedule.

One time my son needed some boiled eggs for an Easter Egg Hunt. This was a big deal to him. He reminded me late the night before about boiling the eggs. It was late and I was tired so my plan was to boil the eggs the next morning.

Next morning I got up, put the eggs on to boil and went to get the kids up. Everything went according to planned, that is until I found myself peeling the boiled eggs. I realized it when I was on the last egg. Can’t very well hunt peeled boiled eggs. As usual I was running late and it was too late to boil more eggs. What happened you ask? My son was one of “those kids” of divorce who had one of “those moms”.

It’s one thing to know a single parent and think you understand but it’s something quite different when you can understand the situation enough to develop empathy and can appreciate the frustrations involved in living in a single parent home.

There is no one to help you. I mean NO ONE! You are on 24/7 and that’s not for just a day, a week, a month or this year but for many single parents it is for years.

Inside the brain of a single parent

I want to take you inside a single parent’s brain. This is a single mom sitting at a school concert.  She looks very calm on the outside but inside there is unbelievable turmoil.

“Okay let’s get this concert started people. I’ve got things to do. Now if Chase’s group will just perform in the next fifteen minutes then I can sneak out of  this concert and go across town, and if I don’t hit too many red lights, I can get there just in time to see Heather play soccer.  If I can just stay long enough to see one quarter, are they called quarters or what?  Oh well, I have to learn about soccer on another day, I don’t have time to worry about it now. 

Let’s see where was I?  Oh yes, I can come back here pick up Chase before the end of this performance and then we can rush back, get Heather, go home and make dinner.  Oh yeah, I’ve got to remember to pick up some milk for breakfast. Then while dinner is cooking I can start the laundry.  I hope those kids got the clothes sorted.

Did Chase say he needs tape for that science project?  Oh well, I might as well get some tape while I’m at the store. After dinner I’ll have to remember to set aside some time to help Chase with that project.

After I get the kids to bed I’ve got to remember to go online and pay the credit card bill. Oh God, please let my paycheck get to the bank before the credit card payment. I’m going to have to remember to check the date online on that bill and make sure I can pay it after 11:00 pm in our time zone and not get charged another late fee. I think there’s a three-hour difference in our time zones.

Honestly, I can’t keep up with when everything goes through the bank and I’ve got to remember that I used my debit card for the school fundraiser. Did I even give Heather that form yesterday morning? Then I’ll have to get my clothes ready for tomorrow.

I think I’ll wear that blue outfit but I have to remember to fix that tear.  Gee, I wonder how many more washings that outfit can take?  It must be five years old by now but I’ve got that important meeting at work tomorrow and I’ve got to wear something that looks half-way decent. 

Whew!   Maybe I can get to bed by midnight.  Oh well, that’s earlier than last night. Oh, shoot I was supposed to call my mom tonight. I’ll have to remember to try and find time tomorrow night. I sure wish she would get on Facebook. Would make my life easier. We could have chatted while I was waiting for the concert to start.”

This mom will be up by 5:00 a.m. to start the entire process all over again and she’ll do it alone every day for years.

Ever wonder why some single parents come to church frazzled? Or why you can’t get them to commit to anything? Maybe the above scenario will help you truly understand their plight. Most frazzled single parents really do want to do better by their children.

  • They want to raise healthy kids.
  • They want their kids to attend church and become spiritually healthy.
  • They appreciate all the church does but many times they simply forget to bring their child to the Fall Festival or the Christmas party.

Understanding and being tolerant of the family’s situation will go a long way in accepting the child of divorce and their parent into your ministry.

To give you a deeper understanding of the living in a single parent home, check out the articles in the DivorceCare for Kids ParentZone library.


DC4K blogs posts are great to use for training and they are free.  Subscribe to the DC4K blog here

3 thoughts on “Why do some single parents seem to be frazzled?

  1. Pingback: Single Parents Need Your Support | Single Moms S'more Support for You

  2. Pingback: How Can Churches Reach Single Parent Families | The ROCK St. Louis' New Christian RadioThe ROCK St. Louis' New Christian Radio

  3. Pingback: How Can Churches Reach Single Parent Families? | The ROCK St. Louis' New Christian RadioThe ROCK St. Louis' New Christian Radio

Leave a Reply