Going at it alone

Since becoming a mom, I have never had more respect or admiration for single moms and military wives. How these women manage to parent their children, run their households, earn a reasonable income (especially in the case of single moms), and maintain their sanity and well-being without the support of a loving husband is beyond me.

I’m completely baffled.

Obviously, the grace is there. Obviously there is a strength in women that lurks below the sometimes seemingly vulnerable surface. And obviously we are capable of far more than we often give ourselves credit for.

I just want to say this: I admire and respect these women who are going at it alone (all or most of the time) so much.

Being a mom on your own is hard. H.A.R.D.

despite missing ryan, levi and i had a
lovely easter together with friends

I’ve just passed the half-way mark of Ryan being away for nearly a month. I was glad to see him board a plane to Papua New Guinea where he would join teams of volunteer medical and aid workers on our organization’s Medical Ship. Knowing that he’s helping bring services and education to those who need it most is wonderful and satisfying. I whole-heartedly believe that it’s a privilege to be able to serve others in this way, and if it weren’t for the malaria risks associated with pregnancy (potential miscarriage or stillbirth to unborn babies), Levi and I would be right there along with him.

So yes, we are glad–and proud–to have Ryan away representing our family like this.

But I’d be joking if I said that having my husband sail up rivers into remote areas and villages of PNG is all fun and games. It’s not.

Not for him… or for me.

To serve is always a sacrifice which must be weighed. It looks different for those who are going as well as those who are left behind. And for us, the sacrifices associated with this outreach are worth it.

photo source: ywam medical ship

But the fact remains that it’s hard going at it alone.

Levi and I are doing fine. Of course we miss Ryan terribly–our incredibly kind-hearted husband and hands-on dad–but we will see him soon enough.

In the meantime, I’m seeing how tough I am and how resourceful I can be. I’m having a small taste of a new kind of perseverance and learning a tiny bit about life for the women who are my heros:

Single moms and military wives.

Seriously, these women should all be given medals. (Or starbucks gift cards?)

Being a mom is an incredible joy and honor that I would wish for anyone who desires to be one. But it’s also a tough gig in the best of times. And it’s even tougher when your support system is stripped back to the minimum.

Recently a friend of mine asked me why I thought it was such a big deal to have my husband gone for a month. “What’s so hard about it?” she earnestly asked me.

I almost fell off my chair. (Especially considering she is a mom herself.)

I guess we each have different standards and measuring sticks to determine what is difficult and what is not… and I’m ok with that. No need to get into comparisons. But let’s just say I have a million answers to that question. In fact, I’d be tempted to ask the question in return: “What’s not hard about having my husband away for so long?!”

But I knew she meant well and was just trying to lend a listening ear.

Like I said, Levi and I (and bubs) are doing well. (I can certainly feel the grace factor!) But that doesn’t mean we aren’t counting down the days until our family is reunited.

In the meantime, single moms and military wives – I salute you! You are amazing and your children should be so proud of you. (Same goes for single dads and military husbands.)

Dear friends, have you ever had a time where you’ve been a mom going at it alone? Maybe for a long time or maybe just for a “short” time like me? What did you find the hardest and how did you cope?

Glad to usually not be alone,

P.S. Do you have any friends who are single moms or military wives? When is the last time you offered some form of support to them or told them how much you admire all they do for their families?

About Author

Adriel Booker is an author, speaker, and advocate based in Sydney, Australia who believes storytelling, beauty, and the grace of God will change the world. Adriel has become a trusted voice in areas of motherhood and parenting, Christian spirituality, and global women's issues. She's also known for her work with the Love A Mama Collective—serving under-resourced women in developing nations through safe birth initiatives—as well as her years spent as a Bible teacher and leadership coach. Her latest book is Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss and she's made the companion grief journal available for free. Find Adriel across all social media platforms at @adrielbooker or sign up for LoveNotes, Adriel's 'secret posts' that aren't published anywhere else online. ✌️


  • alison
    30 April 2011 at 11:34 am

    i know just what you mean. even when austin is gone for a weekend…. and now he'll be leaving in june for a week to go back to guatemala. like you were saying, i'm so blessed that my husband is willing to go and serve others and i know that God will provide me with the grace i'll need to wrestle three kiddos as a "single" mom for a week, but i also know that it's gonna be HARD! and by the way….i have been trying to figure out for the longest time why you look so familiar. it hit me this morning….you look just like a girl who goes to my church! i am going to try and find a picture of her. i think she's gorgeous too, so i hope it's not one of those things where you are all like, "oh my….i HOPE i don't look like her!"

  • michaela
    30 April 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Being a mother, or even just a parent is hard end of story. Every dynamic comes with its own set of tests and trials but you deal with the hand you are dealt and use whatever you have to get you through it – whether it be God, friends or family. I am a 22 year old single mother, life is what you make of it. Any circumstance is up for interpretation.

    I hope that the days until your family are reunited slip away quickly 🙂

  • Cari
    30 April 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Adriel, thanks for this post. I especially loved the p.s.:) I've been a full-time single Mommy for going on 2 years now. I'm so blessed to have a great support system around me. The toughest thing for ANY Mommy is the realization that they are not Super Mom and need to ask for help when they need it. I credit my faith for getting me through. Besides, Mommy's just do what needs to be done, enough said. Besides, I don't have to share, I get all the cuddles, hugs and kisses to myself!

    Hoping time passes quickly for you and Levi!

  • amanda
    30 April 2011 at 2:26 pm

    I totally know where you are coming from in this post. I am fully grateful for my mister and could not imagine doing it by myself. My mom became a single parent when I was 11-ish and I totally respect and admire everything she did for us when I was growing up. She is my example and I aspire to be half the mother she is. I traveled to visit her over winter, just me and my little girl. Airports, and flying are HARD by yourself. Single parents and military wives totally get my respect and admiration. Bravo on this sentiment 🙂

  • Branson @ Reflection of Something
    30 April 2011 at 6:00 pm

    I have thought the same thing about single moms many times. My husband and I spend very little time apart, and when I moved up here a month before him it felt like an ETERNITY! And that was before we had Aiden… I can't imagine doing it now. Glad you are past your halfway point! 🙂

  • Casey Martinez
    30 April 2011 at 9:04 pm

    I understand all to well what the going at it alone seasons feel like as a mommy and wife and yes, they are most definitely hard. Somehow we do chug through them because we know we have to but, it isn't easy. No breaks, no one to snuggle with after a long day with the kiddo. My hubs has been pretty checked out for longer than I care to share and it often feels like single parenting though I'm sure it could always be worse. I def. find my strength in the Lord during these times and I'm sure you do too! You dress is GORGEOUS!!! Seriously, you are such a beautiful momma!! Thank you for linking up friend and such a darling picture of you two!! Hope your hubby is home soon…I wanna know what baby 2 is!! hehe

  • Emily - faliLV
    1 May 2011 at 8:35 am

    Okay – well, I had this whole response typed out – and blogger just re-loaded on me. POO!
    My hubs deploys every 3-5 months for 3-5 months at a time. He will miss both Squishy's 2nd bday and Christmas this year.
    We get through it by valuing our communication when we can, enjoying our time when he is here, and when he is gone, I forget perfect. Sometimes the house gets left a mess, and dishes get left in the sink, but my kid is happy, and I am hanging in. And that is what matters.
    You look to be handling this well, and hanging in. Don't forget to ask for help if you need it. If you don't take care of you – you can't do much else.
    Hugs, love, and much respect. Great post mama!

  • Nessa
    1 May 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I hear you on the single parenting… I get a taste of is sometimes. The husband works such long hours and many nights over night that I know that it would be SO tough to be alone all of the time. 1/2 way there!

  • Kerry McCullough
    2 May 2011 at 1:20 am

    I couldn't agree more. I must say this two or three times a week: "How do single moms do it?" I am operating solo from 6am to 7pm most days, so I live for the weekends when Matt helps me out. I'm so grateful for those times when I want to pop out on Saturday or Sunday while Niall is napping to get some errands done. So I salute single and military moms, too!

  • Getrealmommy
    2 May 2011 at 4:11 am

    My husband used to travel a lot for his job, and those times were exhausting for me. I don't know how single parents do it. All I can say is I hope they have a support network. You just can't do it ALL on your own!

  • Katherine
    2 May 2011 at 6:37 pm

    I just got back from a weekend away (sans hubby and kids) and my husband remarked that "there's a reason it takes two people to make a baby." He was exhausted! Single parents- I don't know how you do it.

  • Dana
    3 May 2011 at 5:17 pm

    During the winter, Michael got stuck in an airport for three days….three days I was not planning or expecting to be alone with my 4 month old. Seriously…hardest three days ever. and I thought the same thing…how do they do this? Hardest job ever!

  • Laura
    4 May 2011 at 6:16 pm

    As a military spouse I appreciate it so much when the response to being without my husband is one like yours!! When my husband is gone for months at a time the lst thing I want to hear is "You signed up for this" or "At least you get to talk to him."

    Military, single mommy or without Daddy for a month, it is hard! Thank goodness for the support of good friends, church and most importantly the grace of God! I hope the time goes fast for you, you are able to communicate and the Lord helps you grow even closer while you are apart!

  • brooke
    6 May 2011 at 2:57 pm

    I just linked to you from Bo's blog and was skimming through. I think this was excellent. I have five children and went through this last fall when my husband went for 33 days on a mission trip. I definitely needed all that grace you spoke about! And I had the same thought the entire time, "So THIS is what military wives and single moms do!" I already go 2-3 days at a time alone since my husband is a fire fighter. And those can be hard … but the 33 … that was a long haul with a baby all the way through an 11 year old going through one of the toughest times of his life right then! I look back and knew I was held by prayer.

  • […] One of my hardest stints as a mom was around this time last year. I was in that I’m-so-tired-I-might-die part of early pregnancy. My toddler was teething molars and consequently not sleeping well (hello overtired, overactive bundle of fire!). It was Melt Down City around here. My husband was away on a work trip in Papua New Guinea for four weeks and I was feeling overwhelmed by going at it alone. […]


Leave a Reply