Supporting Single Mothers

 I love doing and having guest posts. It’s a chance to join together in blog-land and support each other in the endeavor in blogging. Also, I really do believe that one of the problems in our society is that we no longer care about other people. We are very slow to want to understand another person, much less ‘walk a mile in their shoes’. 

Today’s guest blogger is also fighting this trend. She is offering up the dark moments of her life for others to more fully understand and learn from: her divorce. It is admirable and I respect her for reaching out to others in this manner.

If you are a regular reader of Kay’s blog, you know that she’s a pretty spectacular lady. She has been a supporter of my blog, Single Mom in the South for some time, and was one of my biggest cheerleaders when I mentioned launching an “Ask Single Mom in the South” feature. When she asked me to write a guest post on how to be a better friend to single moms/friends going through divorce, how could I say no? Although it did end up taking me WEEKS! Hey, no sweat, life happens 😉

[blockquote align=”center” cite=”Kay asked”]How can I be a good friend to someone going through a divorce or facing being a single mom for the first time?[/blockquote]

 Helping a friend navigate through a divorce can be a tricky thing if you’ve never been through it yourself, ~Heck, it’s tricky even if you have, because everyone’s experience is so different~ but there are some things you can do in the way of offering support that are universal.

1. Lend an ear. Sometimes all one needs is someone to listen and that can be hard when your friend is in a bad spot, because you know it’s not going to be a positive conversation. She may need to whine and bash her ex and hash out the whole ordeal over and over and over again until you are ready to bang your head against the wall. It’s not always easy to listen to, but for many, it’s cathartic and a way of starting the healing process.

2. Offer to babysit. If you are close enough to this friend, offer her a break. Chances are, she is having to do a lot more all by herself without much support. Even if her spouse wasn’t particularly hands-on or helpful, he was most likely still a warm body so she could get things accomplished without having the children constantly underfoot. She’s probably exhausted. Offer to take her children so she can run errands, go see a counselor, or just take a nap!

3. Offer up your husband: If your friend owns her own home, she is probably responsible for some chores she never had to do before. If your husband has free time, see if he’s willing to go mow the lawn, change the oil in the car or any other thing he happens to be handy at. Even if her ex is doing it for her, give her the option. There is something powerful about being able to say, “Nope, I don’t need to depend on you for _____. I found someone else to do it!”

4. Get her out of the house. If her children are spending time with their dad and she finds herself alone for the first time, give her the option of getting out and force her if you need to. It’s emotionally harder to have them be away with their other parent, even if your friend has been without them before. Make sure she has something to do; dinner and a movie or something else those first few times she is without them because she is sharing custody.

5. Most importantly, take your cues from your friend. This can be hard, because she’s on an emotional roller coaster and she might not know exactly what she needs. Let her know your door is always open or you are only a phone call away. Continue to invite her to do things she used to enjoy, even if she says no over and over, because at some point, she will want to say yes. When she has her feet back underneath her, she’ll appreciate you for being the one she could always count on even when she didn’t have much to give back in return.

If you have questions that you would love Single Mom in the South to answer, please hop over to her blog and ask. She is delightfully sweet and honest at the same time.

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12 thoughts on “Supporting Single Mothers

    1. Grrr, WP put your comment in my spam folder 😦

      Thank you again for letting us in to a painful part of your past and teaching all of us how to be a loving friend during a very hard time. I am praying for you and am pretty excited for the good things that are happening in the future 🙂 No, seriously excited! Like the squealing, can’t wait for the posts and pictures type of excited 😉

  1. What a great post! Since over 50% of marriages end in divorce–sooner or later you’ll be a shoulder to cry on for someone who needs it. A couple of my family members were amazing supports, my new husband, and my therapist were also extremely helpful. Choose people who are psychologically healthy, positive, and empathetic. One thing I need to add–when single parents start complaining about how bad their ex is—please, please, please stop them if they are around their children! They need a place to vent, but not within earshot of the kids. Parental Alienation is insidious and without enough education, kids are becoming pawns in their parents’ divorce wars. I get it–there are some exes who are shmucks–but the kids don’t need to know that. That being said, going through a divorce is similar to going through a process of grief. Having a good support system is imperative.

    1. Very good point, this is a lot like grief and sometimes that takes a long time to heal. Good support is key to such a process. And the support team needs to remember that grief can rear its ugly head in strange places and at odd times. Patience with the process and the person you are loving through it 🙂

  2. Excellent response to that question. I wish I could have printed out the list when I was going through my first divorce. I didn’t have any children, but many of these things would have applied still. I remember during divorce I had friends who treated me like I was the plague… as if being near me would make them want a divorce! It was crazy.

  3. Couldn’t agree more with your advice! I would just add that people should offer specific things rather than “if you need anything, give me a call”. It’s better to say “What night can I watch the kids” or “what time can I bring you some cake”??

    1. That is a very good point. It is easy to wave off the desire to help, but if you pin point the question like that, they are more likely to agree.

  4. This is great advice. I needed a loaner husband more that once this year – and my friends who have watched my kids here and there – there is a special place in heaven for them. Seriously!

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