Christian encouragement for single moms

The “Moms with Grace” series takes a look at modern Christian moms and how they handle daily life with raising children. You’ll find monthly posts from married and single moms with older kids, younger kids and all those in between. Let real-life moms encourage and uplift you!

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A couple of months ago, I first connected with Dr. Real N. Kunene in a social media group for Christian mompreneurs. I was honored to participate as a speaker in her recent summit on successful parenting. As we connected, I knew Dr. Kunene would be a perfect fit for the Moms with Grace series.

Dr. Kunene’s background

Dr. Kunene is a single mom (since 2016) of two kiddos who are 8 and 10. She’s also an international human rights policy analyst and a diplomacy and protocol specialist who consults on policies and procedures related to protocol, diplomacy and human rights compliance.

Moms with Grace with Dr. Real N. Kunene: Christian encouragement for single moms

This passionate leader holds a Ph.D. with a discipline in leadership and business. She is also a highly sought after, energetic, certified Les Brown international speaker. Dr. Kunene empowers motivated professionals and entrepreneurs with the tools they need to rise to greater heights as they start, grow and scale their business. Her vision is to motivate and empower audiences with a fresh perspective while inspiring them to pursue success and drive sustainable outcomes, in a seriously funny way.

Dr. Kunene is an award-winning, international bestselling author with 10 number one books on Amazon. Her bestselling book “Rise to Greater Heights” has inspired and empowered many to pursue their personal and professional passion to become go-getters.

As a trainer, diplomacy protocol officer and strategist, Dr. Kunene believes we are in full control of our choices. Her mission is to meet the needs and transform lives of her clients and her audience. This change-maker, trailblazer and revolutionary is pushing boundaries and creating a real change worldwide. Like a phoenix that never accepted defeat and rose from its own ashes, she wants to challenge you to unleash your greatness and rise to greater heights.

Dr. Kunene is inspired by Hebrews 11, Psalms 27 and Psalms 40 to stay motivated and continue pursuing her dreams. She took time out of her busy schedule to share profound words of wisdom for single moms, especially. But no matter your marital status or phase of parenthood, I know you’ll be blessed and encouraged to rise to greater heights!

How have you changed from the beginning of your mom journey until now?

Motherhood has been such an adventurous journey. I so wish I could still sleep in on weekends and wake up at 11a.m.! From the beginning of my mom journey until now I’ve learnt how to let go of things by establishing limits and boundaries between family and work.

We must create boundaries of protection between our work and family, which will give us space for other thoughts and ideas to emerge. Trying to be everything to everyone only ensures failure; but, cutting ties with the outside world occasionally allows us to recover from weekly stress. Boundaries hold the line to protect your work from the distraction of family. Taking time to unwind is critical to success and will help you feel more energized when you’re on the clock.

Cut out the things in your life that are stressing you out. Then also protect your family involvement from the obligations at work. With clear boundaries, we often find the weight lifted was heavier than we realized. We are also able to have clearer discernment in both our work and personal lives.

How do you find balance day to day?

Daily I remain open to redirect and assess my needs in order to find balance. Sometimes I have to let things go because taking on more work when I’m already stressed out has a negative effect. If we do not make the conscious decision to achieve balance, we will most likely fail along the way because we are not clear on what we expect ourselves to accomplish. We must make an effort to provide ourselves the opportunity for balance, so when we leave the office, we avoid thinking about upcoming projects.

With my struggle to attain the perfect balance between work and family, I’ve learnt that those who do maintain a successful balance often have flexible work schedules. The dilemma of balancing family and work has no easy solution. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Employers must make it a priority to grant employees access to a wider variety of benefits, because balance is a very personal thing, and only you can decide the lifestyle that suits you best.

Work-life balance will mean different things to different people because, after all, every person and family must find specific solutions to their issues depending on their own preferences and needs. There is nothing wrong with working hard to gain some of the finer things in life, because we all have different life commitments that fit our individual needs and improve our health and well-being.

What are some challenges you’ve faced as a mother? How have you worked to overcome them?

After my divorce in 2016, I found myself inundated by financial demands and my added responsibility posed an even steeper challenge. The main struggle I had was juggling a lot and working long hours trying to find the time and the energy to do all that I needed to do. For me, I used to worry about money constantly, asking myself how anyone can start a business when broke.

The concept of hustling is not a new one. So all the single mothers who are holding down the fort and raising a family by themselves, can start and sustain multi-million dollar organizations given the opportunity.

Raising kids alone is exhausting, as I juggle work while trying to spend as much time with my kids as possible. Lack of support was a reality for me and seeking a balance between finding a babysitter or doing something myself has become an intrinsic part of my life.

The quest for the perfect work-life balance is what hindered me from starting my business. I was terrified. The first few weeks I became a single mom, I felt like I was pulled in a trillion different directions. Trying to do everything on my own left my spirit totally depleted and my nerves on edge. My children and I were having daily meltdowns, and I realized that being a single parent can make the most patient person lose their entire jar of marbles!

Becoming a single mom wasn’t an easy journey, but I had to learn to guide and shepherd my children’s hearts. I know we all make mistakes. I couldn’t survive without the supernatural peace and strength of Jesus. It’s important for me to every day entrust my children’s care to the Lord. And I know I can trust in God to keep His promises and encourage me when I am feeling low.

What business lessons have you learned as a single mom?

When people heard I was a single mom, they thought I could not be successful. These toxic influences are people who tell you that business is hard and you can’t build anything worthwhile. Toxic influences are those people who always remind you that you are a single mom. They assume because you’re a single parent, you must be struggling. I couldn’t change the fact that I was a single mom. However, I could get of all toxic influences out of my life — those people who thought the only thing I should do was take care of my kids without telling me how.

Moms with Grace: Dr. Real N. Kuene Christian encouragement for single moms Pinterest image 6

For this reason, I am on a quest to break the stereotype of a single parent and all the negative connotations associated with it, instead of spending time with toxic people who invade my confidence and bring me down.

I showcase to the world that I can be a single mom and still have it all by setting goals for my business and for my life. I was convinced that there are numerous single moms with great experiences, so I decided to wear the hustler hat and created work that is profitable but not visible. The truth is, yes, you can be a single parent and make millions whilst raising your little ones. One essential tool for success in business is confidence and people can smell a lack of it on you.

It wasn’t always easy, but I started strong and self funded by being a certified hustler, and I operated on a budget.

In what ways you have and do you share your faith with your children?

While raising children alone can be a struggle at times, I hold on to God’s Word, which gives me the strength I need to keep going. Being a single mom is not a handicap. Instead of fighting my circumstances, I had to learn to accept it. The Lord is a helper to give wisdom and insight on ministering to our children. He’s available all the time to hear our prayers and act on our behalf.

My children know that prayer is our weapon of warfare. We put God first in everything. They’ve learnt to give and expect nothing in return as we feed the homeless on a quarterly basis. The Lord had always met all of our needs. I learned to find joy through Christ in the midst of a difficult situation.

The Lord embraces the single mother with His incredible love. Through the Holy Spirit, I hear words of truth from the Bible to help me keep pushing ahead. My heavenly Father is lovingly keeping an eye on my children to accomplish great things for the kingdom of God. Thus, my strength in the present is the investment in my children that will reap a beautiful return in the future.  

What are some of your favorite parts of motherhood?

As a single mom entrepreneur, I encouraged myself not to be marginalized by society and looked down on. Very rarely do we see positive images of single parents who are self-sufficient, successful contributors to society. In fact, being a single mom comes with an inbuilt capacity for business success. Because being a single mother is not an easy task, you discover inner strengths and capabilities you never knew you had.

Life is all about learning. Being a single parent is twice the work, which makes you stronger than ever before. Don’t get me wrong, I know raising a child on your own can be difficult. However, don’t let the perception of this lifestyle count you out before you even count yourself in.

Overall, being a single parent comes with a wealth of skills that do well in entrepreneurship, and success means being the best parent your kids can have and living your dreams while at it. Through my determination and preservation, I took all my pains and the difficult times to learn and grow stronger. In my kids’ eyes, I turned into a superhero. Being a single parent is not a setback. You have to own your single parent status, find what you love and do it.

What advice do you have for a single mom who wants to start her own business?

Normally, being an entrepreneur is a daunting task, but many men and women are incredibly successful while still looking after their own children by themselves. They’ve learned that when you have an unusual goal, you need an unusual way of thinking. That way of thinking takes you outside your comfort zone, especially when you are broke.

Use the wisdom of other people to help you. Make note of all the things that frustrate you in your daily life, then research creative ways to address those inefficiencies.

Also, look for inspiration everywhere: business coaches, people in networking groups or whoever has knowledge you might need. All it takes is an idea to create a product that changes the world.  

How does grace play a role in your daily life? Do you have any tips or advice for how moms can show more grace to their families?

Life is not about always being spic and span and perfect. I appreciate myself and give myself credit for the way I am bringing up your children. I am happy and content in life. The imperfections of life give life character and show your children your love. They can see what efforts you are putting in for them. Take time to realize how amazing your children have turned out to be and give yourself a pat on the back.

Of course you will have your highs and lows. Just take a look at the way you have brought up your children and remember your children have you and you are more than enough.

Our words have so much power over how our children see themselves, so I lean into the Word and apply it to my everyday life to guide me. Without a doubt raising kids on your own requires an unbelievable amount of strength and courage. But, that single parents can function just as fine or even better than whole families is an accomplishment of itself.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:12-13

What are you most proud of as a mom?

I’m raising God fearing children.

How have you grown from your failures?

At the end of the day, failure should not be our undertaker. Instead failure is an opportunity to begin again, as long as you learn from it. Single mom, you must know what you want from life because you are solely responsible for your success and your failure. Remember that your dreams are valid and all you need to do is fight for them. Beware that the way you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. Focus instead the actions needed to be taken and fail fast so you learn what not to do.

And the sooner you realize that failure is a temporary detour, you’ll keep on trying and build the right attitude. Blaming others of not reaching your goals in life can paralyze you and make your dreams become impossible. Please handle failure with dignity because you will not succeed in life without first failing.

Connect with other Christian moms for support and encouragement in the private Facebook group, Moms with Grace!

Read more in the series:

Rachael Belle

Linda Mendible

Mandy Farmer

About the Author: Stacey A. Shannon

Stacey A. Shannon is a freelance journalist and blogger who has been published internationally. She's also a Christian, a wife and a mom of two school-aged children. She started Families with Grace in 2019 to encourage Christian moms as they create homes filled with grace, love and faith.

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