Jesus Before Tacos, and a note to my NOT single-parent friends.
Jesus Before Tacos (Even on Tuesdays). That's our family motto. I've created us a logo. I've secured the Instagram account name, although there's nothing posted there and I am the only follower. I've even seriously considered ordering us legit water bottle stickers and t-shirts so we can rep our crew on the go. I can't remember what was happening in our life at the moment we adopted these words as our motto, but it’s our reminder that Jesus is greater than even our favorite things!
I know it is sort of the norm for parents to pay their kiddos an allowance for chores around the house or for doing extra things to help out, but early on in my single mom journey I thought a lot about what that kind of thing might mean for us. I asked myself what kind of family we were going to be and what kind of kids I wanted to raise. The obvious things came to mind, of course. I wanted to raise kids who were kind, who knew their value, and loved to serve others. I wasn't convinced that paying them to do jobs for me really did any of that. It took a bit of time to figure out our groove, but it DID happen. I did raise those kids to be kind. I raised them to know their worth. And most importantly, I raised them to love serving Jesus in whatever capacity they can.
When you are the only adult in the house there comes a point when you realize that as much as you want to, you just cannot do it all. I can't work 40-50 hours a week and keep the house immaculate. I can't cook every single meal. So, when it came time for chores we did them together. Everyone has a job in the house that is just theirs and then on Sunday mornings before church we spend an hour together cleaning. No matter what the week has looked like or how big of a mess we have accumulated, we get in the mess together and knock it out. I'm not saying it's always rainbows and sunshine in the process. There's some arguing, some lazy moments that need a little nudge, and some weeks where I just call it and we skip the cleaning all together.
But there's also something to be said for the consistency of working together toward a common goal. And that is why I don't pay for chores. We are a team. We all live here. We all make messes here. We all do our part to be an active member of this family and there's so much more gained in that pursuit than just a clean home.
Today happens to actually be Taco Tuesday and since I'm spending my day at work, I'll probably have to pick up tacos on the way home. We did make fresh salsa out of our farmer's market haul over the weekend though, so it's not a total "I didn't make dinner from scratch" meal again. Some days I can totally pull off making dinner (and I'm a darn good cook), and some days it's just not going to happen. Some days I can barely muster up the energy to shower myself let alone make sure three other human beings do, too. Some days the weight of being the only adult comes down on me in ways I wish it didn't. I know that these same things are stressful for everyone to some degree, especially when both parents work, but what you don't know is that your single mom/ dad friends are silently suffering in ways you may not have considered.
When I get home from a long day there isn't another adult around to help me or even just listen to me while I try to figure out what to toss together for dinner. There is no one to bounce ideas off of or help me see another perspective when I need it. There's no one to tell me its not okay to have tacos more than just on Tuesday (although I would probably not let that slide if there were. Ha!). Know that your single parent friends are carrying a weight you cannot, even in your most sincere efforts, understand, and it's okay not to have the answers for them. It's okay to just be a present friend who sometimes drops of tacos on Tuesdays so they don't have to cook.
I know we single parents may not get much of a break, but I know this, too. Jesus gives us just what we need when we need it. And if raising these precious teens alone is my lot in life then it is enough. Jesus is enough. So, we will keep choosing to be kind, keep speaking life into each other, keep cleaning this house together most Sunday mornings and keep shouting from the rooftops that He is good.
JESUS BEFORE TACOS. Even on Tuesdays. GO TEAM!