Solo parent

Week 1 – You Belong Here

We walk down the aisle full of good intentions. We start relationships and seek intimacy looking for connection, spark, and proof that we’re worthy.  We know some people divorce. We know others go through grief and loss.  We know that sometimes, feelings and good intentions aren’t reciprocated.  But none of us thought it would happen to us.

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch says: “If you can learn a simple trick,  Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really  understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. . .  until  you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

This group is that shortcut to getting along better. We’ve all been inside this skin. These losses, this continually unfolding drama. For some of us, it’s been years of shouldering resentment, guilt, and pain—ours, and that of our former partner. For some of us, it’s been only weeks or months.

Take a breath. Remember moments when you weren’t at your best.  Moments you wish you could take back. Remember the good days, too,  when you surprised yourself with your patience, optimism, and energy. We  gather here to assert what never changes from one day to the next:

● We are not only defined by our worst days.
● We restore the best of ourselves by asking for support, offering support, and connecting to each other.
● It is possible to find peace despite overwhelming circumstances.

At Solo Parent, we triage those in immediate distress. We process challenges that shift from day to day. Most of all we think of our kids. How can we keep our home from feeling like a sad home? How can we keep negative thoughts from bleeding into our parenting? What are our hopes and intentions from here on out? What kind of a mother do I want to be?  What will I give my kids as their father?

To make one thing abundantly clear: we’re not here to “fix” you. There’s nothing wrong with you. We have enormous respect for the burden you’re carrying—we know it. Solo Parent was created by single parents for single parents.

Robert Beeson found himself parenting alone after thirteen years of marriage. At the time, his three daughters were nine,  seven, and four years old. With full custody of his girls, Robert went in search of resources to help him navigate this unexpected path. He found none. That’s where our story began.

He wrote a book called Going Solo: Help and Healing for the Single Mom or  Dad. Then he founded Solo Parent.
Parenting was never meant to be done alone. But today, we are one-third of family households in the U.S. We are making it through. There’s as much to honor and celebrate as there is to support.

Here, we acknowledge the brokenness, but we challenge each other to be intentional through it. To not be reactive. To not get swallowed up by anger.  That is the difference: being intentional creates light at the end of every tunnel. Being reliably committed to our best. Spending our focus and attention where it counts, and spending it well. We practice in community.

Solo Parent Meetings: What to Expect

We start every meeting with simple introductions to check in with each other. Then we remember our purpose and review a few guidelines to ensure a safe and confidential environment. One important policy is our “no cross-talk” rule, which asks us all not to come back at people who’ve shared with advice or opinions. An old Turkish proverb says, “If speaking is silver, listening is gold.” That is the way we operate.

We follow our intro with leader-led discussion, each topic addressing a common issue we face. After that, we have a brief, silent reflection to collect your thoughts before open sharing.

Open share time provides an opportunity to speak freely about what is going on in your life, respond to the topic, or talk about anything else you’re facing. You may be amazed at what can happen simply by sharing your story with others in a safe space.

We close each meeting with prayer and a reading of Psalm 23.

Share Time:

Why are you here?
What are you hoping to get out of this?

Wherever you are, we’ll meet you there regardless of what you believe. Through it all, we have been inspired by how Jesus let go of pain to make space for love and healing, and we’ll share those reflections with you in the spirit of companionship.

If you attend regularly and share honestly each week, the outcomes of these groups can be profound. God works in us and through us when we show up and mean it, no matter how vulnerable we might feel. That’s how we think of it. And what does God working in us look like? We become better parents and people. We’re less likely to be thrown off course by our emotions. We restore our energy and focus. We’re more present with our kids.

Sometimes it takes community to remind us of God’s eternal truth: you are loved, accepted, and cherished. Right now, right where you are.

Share Time:

What is one of your most difficult struggles as a solo parent? What is one thing you feel good about?

God draws near to us when we’re at our worst, drowning in worry. Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (NIV) He takes shape in others who share the same worries. When we hear them and see ourselves in each other, we sleep a little easier. We feel the air clear. Some of us are further along in their healing, and they offer us new ways of showing up.

“Faith,” “confidence,” and “courage” are big words. Almost too big for any of us to embody 24/7. It’s the small things that add up. Little insights interrupt whatever replays on a loop inside your head: you are not your worst. You are more than sadness, and you are more than fear. You may always regret and grieve. But you’ll also find joy. It won’t always feel this way.

When God draws near to us, He only has one request. But it’s a big one. Surrender. At the beginning, this means softening. Loosening your grip. Being open. Right now, take an exhale. Feel the tension in your body—in your shoulders and neck, your back, or your chest. Try letting it release. In the beginning, to surrender is to be open to being comforted, and then to consider letting go of the way you think things should be. Easier said than done, we know. But the stakes are too high not to try.

Share Time:

What are you afraid to surrender?
What might shift for you if you did?

Further Action Step:
As you begin this journey with us, ask God to help you find a “Plus 1”—a mentor who is further along in their journey as a solo parent. Moms, seek out another single mom. Dads, find another single dad. This can be someone in your community, neighborhood, or church. Prayerfully reach out and ask if he or she might be willing to connect for a walk, a coffee or tea, or a check-in on a regular basis. None of us can heal alone. We need each other. Start there with the faith that someday soon, you’ll be a mentor for someone else.