They say it takes a village to raise a child, and that saying is even more relevant when you’re a single mama. From watching your kids on sick days to sharing a glass of wine after a week that kicked your butt, it’s integral to have a plethora of people in your tribe while you walk the balance beam of raising your kiddos solo. Whether you’re co-parenting or single-momming it full-time, here are seven people every single mama needs in her village:
1. The Fellow Single Mama
Single mamahood can be extremely isolating—especially if you’ve been through divorce. You don’t have someone there in the trenches (and the triumphs) of everyday life with you anymore. And as much as you can connect and bond with other friends, no one else is going to understand you quite like your fellow single mama. I happened to already know a few when I began this adventure, and also reached out to those I didn’t already have a close relationship with. It’s great to have a variety of single mamas in your tribe, especially those who are just a few steps further in their journey. I’m indebted to all my single mama friends who were there for me as I transitioned and had a million questions about divorce, childcare, career steps, and how to stay sane through it all. You can be there for each other in ways that no one else can.
2. The Single Girlfriend
I’m fortunate enough to have a co-parenting relationship with my kids’ dad, so that means shared visitation. It was really hard knowing what to do with myself on the days my kids were gone at first. I’d often stay at home, or occasionally do things solo, but as I made the effort to make the most of those times and take care of myself, I started to meet a lot of new friends, and most of the ones with free time on their hands were single. There have been times when I’ve spent those quiet evenings with groups of married mama girlfriends as well, but it could be really hard listening to them all relate to each other about their husbands and balancing things that were no longer a part of my life. It’s a strange dichotomy being single as a parent, not fitting in completely with my married or single girlfriends. But it only feels strange for a time, and soon you’re gliding your way effortlessly through both social groups. My single girlfriends are there whenever I need someone to hang with, and I’ve found myself meeting incredible people I would have never known had I not re-entered the singles world. Regardless of the fact that my ex is active in my kids’ lives, having single girlfriends has helped me find myself again outside of the realm of being a mother. They’ve helped remind me that I’m a woman and have given me the space to be unapologetically me.
3. Your Mom
There’s still no one else who loves you for you quite like your own mama. I’m blessed to have my mom here in town, and she is my right-hand man when it comes to taking care of my kids. As a full-time working mama (of four!), I wouldn’t be able to make it all float without her. From picking the kids up after school, to getting dinner started before I get home from work, to being there when I’m a blubbering mess, my mom is the one person who’s there to help with anything and everything without question. (A million thanks, Mom!)
4. The Therapist (and/or Spiritual Advisor)
There are some deeper and more intimate thoughts that are still hard to share with your mom and your girlfriends, though. And sometimes having professional insight into how the craziness of how the human mind works, is what you really need to dig and grow deeper. I have a therapist whom I see regularly and can think out loud about anything and everything I’m struggling with and going through. I also have a spiritual advisor whom I’ve worked with for years, and who has known me pre- and post-divorce. It’s truly been a gift to have her as a mentor in my life and to see myself more clearly in the mirror she holds up to my soul.
5. The Guy Friend
I have a couple of guy friends I’ve made in the last year or so who have become some of my best friends. Not only do they provide platonic comic relief in my life, but they’ve also helped me learn what it is to have healthy relationships with men in general—and to gain some really great male insight into the world of dating. Sometimes it’s good to hear that yes, I am completely over-analyzing that text (or lack of one) from my latest date. I think I’ve given a pretty good piece of advice or two from the female perspective as well. And some of my guy friends have become positive role models in my kids’ lives, too (a big thank you to all my swing dancing partners who are encouraging my oldest son’s mad dancing skills). It’s also nice to have guy friends you can call on to haul heavy stuff around—just sayin’.
6. The Phone-Call-Away Friend
Every mama knows how much of a juggling act having kids is, but it can be hard to have the flexibility we need as single mamas. Sometimes you need a friend who can drop everything and bring you a gallon of milk (or dinner) when you’re sick and can’t make it to the store with your kids in tow. And sometimes you just need someone you can call in the middle of the night when you’re lonely without your kids—or when they’ve pushed just about every single button you have. Single mamahood is a big lesson in self-reliance, but it’s OK to call for help when you need it. And having a rolodex of friends on your phone who can talk at all hours or stop, drop, and roll by with whatever you need from the grocery store—or even just give you a hug—is a blessing not to pass up.
7. The Married Mama Friend
Even though it can be a struggle to relate to my married mama friends at times, I’ve realized it’s just a part of mourning what I thought I was going to have in life. But these beautiful women, who are rocking it changing diapers, running the carpool, and generally knee-deep in the crazy of kids, are going to be some of your best allies. They know what it takes to keep your kids happy and alive every day, and they’re going to be some of your biggest fans championing you along during this marathon. I’m grateful to have a whole gaggle of married mama friends here at Alamo City Moms Blog!
You may or may not have all of these people in your life at any given time. And some will play a more critical role for you and your kids than others. Yes, single mamas may have fewer hands on deck when it comes to the day-to-day responsibilities of taking care of our kiddos, but having people that remind us to take care of ourselves is even more important. You’ve got to put your own oxygen mask on first, and it can be easy to forget and get caught up in being super single mama. That’s where your village comes in to lift you up. Don’t forget to be that village to others.