Photo by: iStock

Finding Support as a Single Mom

by Kathryn Walsh of "Mamapedia"
Photo by: iStock



You keep your kids fed, clothed, warm and happy. You probably work a full-time job. No grocery fairy visits your fridge; that’s your job too. And just the simple act of taking an evening bubble bath or Saturday morning yoga class isn’t an option unless you have a sitter lined up. Being a single mom is often overwhelming and lonely, so it’s easy to forget that you’re actually far from alone.


Identify Empathetic Friends
Some friends are a blast to go dancing with, but aren’t great at lending an ear. Think about people you know who are warm, patient and make you feel happy, and make it a goal to spend more time seeing, talking to and texting with those friends.

And if you’re short on good friends, well, it’s time to make some new ones. “My suggestions for those who feel alone or overwhelmed is to surround yourself with those like you, the best you can,” says Alison Mitzner, MD, a pediatrician and single mom of two. "Find your tribe and love them hard.”

Finding that tribe might feel awkward at first. Ask trusted friends to set you up on “blind playdates” with other single moms and their kids. Meet at the playground and commiserate about your lives while the kids run around.


Join a Community
If meeting new people on your own feels impossible, make it easier by joining an organized group. Kelby Carr, a business coach and newly-single mom of three, suggests searching Facebook for mom groups in your area. “The Nextdoor app is another great way to connect with people in your neighborhood,” she says. You might even find (virtual) friends on a message board for single moms.

A support group for single parents is a great place to meet friends and talk openly about your challenges — especially if your relationship ended badly. “I’d been isolated from my friendships when my volatile marriage blew up when both my daughters were under the age of 3,” says author Lizbeth Meredith. “It was important to for me to attend a single parent support group and to eventually find a counselor so that as I resumed my friendships, it wasn’t all about me and my crisis and frustrations as a single mom.”


Get Paid Help
If you can afford to, paying for a weekly or monthly session with a therapist allows you to take a little time to focus on being the best person and mom that you can be. You don’t even have to leave home to do it. Thanks to the rise of tele-counseling services, you can chat with your therapist via video chat while your child naps.

Paying for grocery delivery and hiring a cleaning service to come in and handle some of the housework takes some of the burden off, too. If you can’t afford these luxuries, ask for gift cards toward them for your next birthday.

Even a teenaged neighbor can become an essential part of your support team. Alison stresses that finding a great babysitter is a must for any single mom. “Find someone you can count on and generally loves your kids and sees you as a family, and the babysitting not just [as] a job,” she says. “They are out there and they will cancel less and truly want to help you. I’m grateful for my sitter and tell her so!”

Above all, give yourself permission to lean on your support system. “Don’t be a martyr,” says Kelby. “Ask for help. This has been my biggest challenge. We moms tend to just keep on keeping on, when we really need to reach out.”



Kathryn Walsh is a freelance writer specializing in parenting and travel topics. Her work has appeared on mom.me, TheBump.com, and USAToday.com.

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