Climbing A Mountain of Self-Doubt During a Pandemic

There’s nothing like a global pandemic to raise anxiety levels and increase self-doubt. The challenges you face as a single mom are now multiplied by shelter-in-place orders, school closings, unusual work scenarios, and doomsday-like news.

From serious concerns over money to the stress of making decisions alone, it’s reasonable that you have heightened doubts and fears right now. Your current situation is best understood by other moms who are facing the same issues and have come up with creative solutions to stand up to their fears. 

Maybe you feel like Ivey, who has been a single mother since her ex-husband left when her now-six-year-old was just a baby. Like many single moms, she finds herself in a constant battle of self-doubt, wondering if she’s making the right choices and if she’s ruining her daughter’s future. Add in quarantine and a global pandemic, and she is full of even more considerable self-doubts and fears. 

“I’ve grown pretty comfortable with making all my child’s doctor appointments, attending school events and parent-teacher conferences alone, arranging playdates, and planning birthdays and holidays solo. But I am not used to preparing for and navigating a pandemic. As the single mom of a young child, my little family isn’t usually taken into consideration during these emergency scenarios. Decision-makers are most often thinking about the dominant family unit as a two-parents at home.”

Single mom, how can you stay well when you feel like you’re barely staying afloat?

While there is no magic formula we can offer, there are three tips our single mom tribe finds helpful.

Step 1: Don’t Face This Time Alone

Now is the perfect time to form alliances and develop a network of support. Shepherd’s Village recently started a Facebook group called It’s a Single Mom Thing as a safe place for single moms to connect. 

It’s so hard to know if you’re doing a good job. Having a supportive group of other single moms can help you see your positive parenting moments and encourage you when you fall short. 

Single motherhood comes with a unique set of emotional challenges that can, at times, feel overwhelming. It can feel like you’re climbing Mount Everest with too much weight and not enough oxygen. Stop for a moment. You cannot do this alone. You need a powerful partnership.  

Here’s a testimony I heard recently. Shannon’s husband passed away last spring, soon after their twins turned eight. 

“I learned the power of having a social network of support early into single motherhood journey,” Shannon shared. “I connected online with a group of women—strangers to me at the time—who got me through the darkest days. I remember dreading the beginning of the school year for the twins this year. I was standing in the office filling out a form and I froze when I got to the request for an emergency contact. There was another single mom there who I had met over the summer. She quietly whispered to me, ‘Put me down. I’ll be your emergency contact.’ That’s the kind of support I experienced before this health crisis hit, and I still have that kind of support from my network during this time.”

Single Mama, please don’t feel like you need to climb your mountain of self-doubts and fears without a support team who is willing to go with you—no matter how hard it gets.

Step 2: Unload the Burden

If your backpack feels extra heavy right now, it’s probably time to unpack your self-doubt and fears. 

Here are a few thoughts that may be weighing you down:  

  • I’m not enough.
  • I can’t do this.
  • If I’m honest, people will think less of me. 
  • People will use my weaknesses against me.
  • Everyone else is doing better than me.
  • Everyone else has more than I do.
  • No one understands.
  • I’m different than everyone else.
  • It’s someone else’s fault I’m acting this way.
  • I’m better than everyone else.

You may be surprised by that last one, but Brené Brown says it’s a short walk from “I’m not enough” to “I’m better than them.” 

Look at each self-doubt that is weighing you down right now. Speak kind words and truth to yourself about each one.

You may not be all that you want to be, but you have overcome a lot in your life, and you are stronger than you think. Your value and worth are based on WHO you are, not on how well you perform. Winning the battle of self-doubt is rooted in understanding the true essence of who you were created to be as a woman. 

As women, we are wired uniquely. We see to all the details and little things that help the world around us function better. Daily, we assume the jobs of chauffeur, heart-mender, party planner, chef, dishwasher, housekeeper, consultant, and fixer-of-boo-boo’ s—just to name a few. Those are all admirable roles when we hold them in a proper perspective. 

The danger comes when we allow those things to define us.

This is an important truth to understand when battling self-doubt. Our “doing” of laundry and homework and carpool and counseling our children cannot become what defines us. We will know when they do because they will crush us with feelings of inadequacy.

Why?

Because we’ve placed too much emphasis on our doing. 

Yes, doing is important, but so is simply resting in who God created you to be.

Through the free Shepherd’s Village University’s Spiritual Wisdom course #HelloBeautyFull, you can work through the feelings of “not-enough-ness” and begin on the path toward a more beautiful journey. 

Step 3: Breathe in Peace

Life is full of uncertainties and reasons for doubts and fear.

I was reading from a Bible study book recently, and the author was reflecting on the famous description of the godly woman in Proverbs 31. One phrase stuck out: “She laughs without fear of the future” (Proverbs 31:25 NLT).

The authors asked, Is that even possible? With all the things that can go wrong in a woman’s life, how can she face the future without worry or fear?

Can she laugh because she’s been wise with her money or because she’s in great shape and has the perfect body? You may think she is laughing without fear because she’s in the perfect marriage, has perfect kids, or has supportive friends who invest in her life. Or maybe she has no fear of the future because all the right politicians are in office, and everything seems to be trending in the right direction,

If any of that is your idea of what brings a fearless life, you will never find it.

The godly woman has no fear of the future because she knows a God bigger than anything that can threaten her, whose presence and power are with her no matter what happens—even in a global pandemic. She knows God’s promises can transform any of the things that scare her or make her feel small.

Romans 8:31 says, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

You may read that scripture verse and think, “I’ll tell you who can be against me! How about my overbearing boss? How about my abusive ex-husband? How about addiction to alcohol or pornography? Or a chronic health problem that leaves me with no energy and no hope? Or a mountain of debt? That’s who is against me.” 

And that is true.

God does not promise us that we will not experience opposition. But we can be confident that nothing that strikes us—from around us or within us—can stop the good purposes of God toward us.

Only one thing is eternal—our relationship with Jesus Christ. Beauty fades. Positions change. Titles come and go. Relationships sometimes fail. Friends and family pass away. Children grow up. 

Peace comes when we ask God to help us start defining ourselves by who he says we are. You are a daughter of the King! Rest in that position. Stop doubting every move you make, because “this isn’t how it’s supposed to be” or “I never expect to be here.”

You are not defined by what you do, but rather by what Jesus did on the cross when he died for you. You can never earn more love from our Lord. He loves you, infinitely. 

I encourage you to pray, and as you pray, let peace take over your mind. Don’t know where to start? We’ll pray with you! We have a 24/7 Prayer Hotline available for you, or you can fill out our “Need Prayer?” form on our website, and someone will be in touch to pray with you.

You are not alone. Join our Facebook group now and let us know how we can pray for you!