Is the “whether” depressing you?


UncertainI imagine when you read the title you thought I misspelled “whether.” You probably thought I was going to talk about the weather.

The weather can be depressing. Having to keep kids inside all day can be a challenge. Grey skies and gloomy days during long winter months can get you down. But that’s not what I want to discuss today.

Today I want to talk about “whether.” Kids of divorce can get depressed thinking about what is going to happen. You might say their lives are filled with the “whethers.”

They wonder

  • Whether they are going to get to see dad this weekend
  • Whether they will get to spend time with mom next Friday night
  • Whether they will get to see their step siblings
  • Whether they will get to see the new that new baby who is their half brother
  • Whether they might see their grandparents ever again
  • Whether they will get to go to church at dads or at mom’s church
  • Whether they are going to get back to mom’s on Sunday evening in time to go to DC4K
  • Whether they are going to get back from mom’s in time to go to school in the morning

In many cases the weather outside complicates the whethers in their lives.

  • If there is a weather advisory warning of a snowstorm, schools might be closed the next day. What does a single mom do when she has to work but the schools are closed and there is no childcare available? Late that night she is up wondering whether she is going to make it to work in the morning and what she is going to do with the kids.
  • If a child is supposed to go to the other parent’s home in a couple of days but the roads are icy the child is wondering whether the road conditions are going to clear up so he or she can visit dad.
  • The child may worry all day about mom driving on the icy roads and whether she’ll be safe driving home after dark.
  • A non-custodial parent may worry about the power being out in the home where his or her kids live. They wonder whether the kids are warm or if they have anything to eat.

While the weather affects everyone, in single parent homes inclement weather can cause a lot of stress to an already stressful situation.

Personal story

When my son was about ten and my daughter was fourteen we had one of those crazy snowstorms in Oklahoma. I had to go to work the next morning; there was no choice. The kids and I had a long talk and decided they could stay home the next day. The next morning I left my house at 5:00 a.m. I worried all day about my children. I was stressed having to drive in those conditions and I was stressed about leaving my kids alone. And to top it off it continued to snow the entire day.

When I drove up late that afternoon I saw a huge snow fort on the side of the driveway. About the time I saw the snow fort, a head popped up inside the fort. My son had spent the entire day building his snow fort. He also spent the day trying to coax some of the mothers in the neighborhood to let their children come out and play. I seemed to be the only mother that allowed her children to play outside in snowy weather.

The whethers that day

  • Were my kids going to be safe at home all day
  • Would they get bored
  • I was going to slide on the treacherous roads and go off in a ditch on the way home
  • The electrical power might go off in our neighborhood
  • The other mothers in the neighborhood were going to label me “that crazy divorced single mom who lets her kids play outside all day in the cold.” Okay I’ll admit they probably already had labeled me as a little crazy anyway. 🙂

The problem is in a single parent home there is no one to share these burdens with you. You question yourself as a parent. Are you really doing the best you can? Should you handle things differently? What is really best for your kids and you? Will the other parent give you a hard time about a decision you made? The list is endless.

What can church leaders do when the weather outside is frightful?

  • Have someone call and check on the single parent and kids.
  • Pair up the single parent with another couple from your church that lives close by.
  • Make sure they have enough to eat if they lose electrical power.
  • Provide some homes for them to go to if the power is lost for a lengthy time. Any idea how frightening it can be to be a single mom without electricity all night and have no way to heat the home?

To a child of divorce or a child in a single parent home the whethers in their minds can be just as depressing as the weather outside. What can you do to lighten and brighten their days?





4 thoughts on “Is the “whether” depressing you?

  1. never thought about all that – I will have to keep a look-out for single moms in my church that may live in my area or it may be in my power to help them

    • Thank you Debbie. Your comment makes it all worthwhile. I always wonder how a post will impact people to help the single parent and kids. You’ve stated it very well.

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