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Coping with loneliness as a single parent

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Meeting the needs of a family alone can leave single parents feeling both exhausted and isolated with little time to think about their own needs and interests.Coping with loneliness as a single parent is really hard sometimes. It is easy to fill every waking hour working, looking after a home and caring for children, yet it is just as important to find time to meet your own social and emotional needs as an adult. After all, a happy person makes a better parent as the time you spend with your children will be better quality than if you feel miserable.

What do I want?

Think about what you want to gain from your social life and invest some time and effort in achieving that goal. You may feel that you need time away from the children to be able to feel like an individual as well as being a parent. Alternatively, you may want to find opportunities to socialise with other families so that your children can be involved in your social life too. You may have moved areas or lost friends through relationship breakdown – finding some new friends can be a great way to make a fresh start in your new life. Either way, friends don’t just appear on your doorstep so you will have to put some effort in.

Be happy with yourself

Although being single can make you feel insecure and lonely, remember that you do not have to be defined by the person you are in a relationship with. It is ok to be on your own! Desperately searching for the new ‘other half’ can lead you to make decisions that are not the best for you or your family. The best romantic relationships are those you are not expecting to find so just enjoy making new friends and you may find a new relationship takes you by surprise.

As a family

  • If you have pre-school children, try going to some local toddler groups. Church halls, community centres and children’s centres often offer these sessions. Some children’s centres run regular sessions (often at weekends to accommodate working parents) specifically for single parents to socialise.
  • Look on parenting websites such as Mumsnet or Netmums for coffee mornings or meets arranged locally. You may also find parents groups on networking sites such as Facebook. These groups often arrange meetings at local parks or play centres, but do be careful and keep your family safe by only attending meets in public places and by keeping your personal information secure.
  • Find out if Gingerbread have a local group. If not, start one up! You can find out more and get support here: http://www.gingerbread.org.uk/groupmaps.aspx

coping with loneliness as a single parent

By yourself:

Join a club or class in an activity of interest to you.
Find a local singles club.
Meet up with some old friends – they may introduce you to some new people too.
Make an effort to socialise with people you see regularly (such as at work, or other parents dropping children off at school).

Who will look after my children?

Being a single parent can mean childcare is a problem. You could try asking family members to help out, but if that is not possible, do not give up! Perhaps you and a friend could arrange to take turns babysitting to give you both a night out occasionally. Some childminders will look after children over night or for an evening. If you would rather not leave your children, why not invite friends to your home after bedtime to allow yourself some adult time whilst remaining in the house.

 

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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