Many years ago, when I separated from my ex, I went through various emotional coping stages:
- Liberation when I first left.
- Isolation when the dust settled.
I would have done anything to stumble across some single parent support groups.
Until a couple of years ago, I felt like I was walking through an empty desert where no one understood me. Most people within my circle were either dating, single without kids, or married with kids. This made things particularly hard during my ‘isolation days.’.
Don’t get me wrong, my life was (and still is) great, but I had days where I desperately craved support from people who were in a similar situation to me, that understood me and reminded me that I wasn’t alone. Basically, I needed friends.
There was a sense of relief and comfort in knowing I could connect with like-minded women who understood my journey and could provide support and wisdom depending on the stage of their journey.
I surveyed single mothers from multiple social, economic, relational, and career backgrounds through the Single Mum Vine Facebook group. I wanted to see what they looked for and how their experiences as single parents had changed since joining the Facebook group.
Based on responses, personal experiences, and research from the resources, here are some excellent reasons to consider joining a single parent resource group.
Feel less lonely amongst like-minded single parents
It wasn’t surprising the number of single mothers who admitted to feeling isolated before joining a single parent support group.
Nearly every single person surveyed selected this option.
Once connected with a group of like-minded people in a similar situation, a sense of empowerment comes with knowing others are walking a similar journey and have created significant opportunities along the way.
Get great advice from single parent support groups
I believe experience and wisdom have terrific weight and value.
As a single parent, I appreciate connecting with other single parents who have gone through similar experiences. Because let’s face it, some weeks the money is tight, the alone time is rare, the kids are being pains in the backside and it feels like everything is stacking up at a rapid rate.
Getting advice from other single mums with the same challenges is invaluable.
You will be able to cope better
Single parenting can be a demanding and stressful experience, and it’s not always easy to know how to manage the challenges that come with it. Joining a single parent support group can provide a valuable opportunity to learn from the experiences of others facing similar challenges. This, in turn, will help you develop better coping skills and provide practical strategies for managing the challenges of single parenthood.
In a support group, you may be able to share your own experiences and hear from others who have faced similar situations. This can help you gain new insights and perspectives on how to approach the challenges you are facing.
They are safe spaces where you can share
Life happens, situations happen, and there are usually tough times along the way. There are moments when single parents experience complex family, personal and/or financial issues. It can be daunting and distressing to air such matters to someone who doesn’t understand the situation.
Depending on the nature of the support group, individuals going through these situations can seek some essential advice anonymously or even referrals to necessary support from others who have gone through similar experiences. Single parent support groups can provide a stepping stone to get the assistance needed without the possible embarrassment of people knowing the individual behind the circumstance.
Single parent support groups are non-judgemental
Through the survey, many single mothers felt more confident in their parenting ability after joining a support group.
It’s pretty empowering to see the change in someone when others are willing to reach out and provide praise and support where needed. Single parents appreciate being told they are doing okay and providing the best they can for their children. They have faced enough judgment and issues, so the last thing they need is to be made to believe that their status has negative connotations.
Thankfully, as support groups develop, the amount of positive support for single parents is rising.
Being in a group can lower stress levels
Research has shown that social support can be an effective way to reduce stress levels. A study published in the Journal of Health Psychology found that social support can buffer the adverse effects of stress and improve mental health outcomes. This means having a supportive network of people around you can help you manage stress better and reduce its negative impact on your overall well-being.
When you join a single parent support group, you are surrounded by people who understand what you are going through and can provide empathy, validation, and encouragement. This, in turn, will lower your stress levels and make you feel calmer in your everyday life.