Recently I was interviewed by a writer from a West Palm Beach magazine about my book, The Step: One Woman’s Journey to Finding her Own Happiness and Success During the Apollo Space Program. She sent a long list of questions, including one specifically: How did you balance being a single mother with the job?
My answer: One word…organization! By the early part of the Apollo program I was divorced so I knew the girls had to chip in with help. I had a chore chart for my daughters. As I left the house every morning at 6:30, the oldest daughter was responsible for getting her sisters up and dressed for school. They rode their bikes the two blocks to school. After school, they were responsible for unloading and loading the dishwasher, and setting and clearing the table so that things were accomplished when I arrived home to cook dinner. I think these responsibilities helped carve my daughters’ strong, capable personalities. I am very proud of the women they are today.
Today, things are quite different from the 60’s when I was one of only a few single parents. As divorce or demise of a spouse compels a growing number of single parents to undertake the challenges of raising children alone, many wonder if it is possible to be an effective parent and create a healthy household as a single parent.
Even though my ex-husband remarried a month after our divorce was final, I knew it was absolutely necessary for my girls to have a continuing relationship with their dad. I had to put aside all self-righteousness and realize the importance of this bond.
It became clear to me that my expression of love as a mother had to be represented as both calm and tender but also have that element of discipline, or teaching, when the need arose.
I also had to cope with emotionalism and possessiveness, traits that sometimes are attached to mothers, masquerading as legitimate concerns of motherhood. These traits began to recede as my sense of purity of Love grew. I prayed daily to see God’s plan operating in our home.
When our family’s needs seemed beyond my ability to fulfill, I tried wholeheartedly to understand that God’s love rests on Principle. I learned that I could be relaxed without losing control. I was able to more insistently discern right solutions. Freedom and dominion began to characterize the discipline, and anguish and frustration gradually faded out.
At one point during those years working on the Apollo Program I returned home to find a beautiful piece of artwork plastered on the hall wall…embellished by every tube of lipstick that I owned.
My son-in-law, upon reading my book, asked me why I didn’t get mad at them because I just gently praised their skill as artists and thanked them for what was meant as a loving gesture.
Maybe I was just too tired, or maybe it was seeing their dancing eyes, so proud of their manifestation of love, that I just melted with love, instead of indignation.
How comforting it is to lean on the stability of God’s fathering and to feel tangibly the presence of God as the motivating force within family. Limitation of time, financial pressures, or human inadequacies can be resolved step by step when we rely on the wisdom of our heavenly Parent to govern every decision involving home.
The true concept of family is forever whole; it cannot be fragmented. This truth operates in human experience as a law of progress and harmony. It can silence the clamor of fractured families, adjust the heartaches and repair the fragmentation claiming to be so much a part of society.
We need to know that God’s children cannot be victimized. As we pray to understand the true nature of innocence, we realize the child of God could not be maladjusted, apathetic, disabled, or disobedient.
We can affirm that God’s child is motivated by good, and we can expect our children’s behavior and performance to be the reflection of Soul, the stability of Spirit, and the vitality of Life.