“Am I the only single mom feeling lonely out there?” asks Kelly B. Her words underscore a common plight for Circle of Moms members who are single parents. Danielle explains the feelings: “It is not getting any easier,” she says, adding that she has been alone with her daughter since the one-year-old was six months old. “I have two best friends who help by coming to see us, and we get together with my Dad every week. It's just at night time when Arianna falls asleep I get extremely sad, lonely and emotional. Please help.”
Loneliness is one of the most common emotions shared by single moms, especially following a divorce, as we struggle to rebuild a social life. It’s hard not to feel isolated when you sense that your coupled friends are busy. You even start blaming yourself for your circumstances. But there's reason to be hopeful. Here, Circle of Moms members share several ways to help alleviate the feelings of isolation and start building new relationships.
1. Remember, You are Not Alone
Understanding that you are not alone helps single moms recover from the feeling that something is wrong with them or that they are not normal, say Circle of Moms members. It’s a first step to rebuilding your confidence and knowing that it’s not just happening to you, says Sol A. She explains: "Raising a kid alone is really hard, but probably the best thing you can do is make yourself better. We single moms should not dwell on sadness or depression at times and the feeling that we are alone in this world. We are not. In fact, we have friends and families. You can study more, or open up a business that you are really interested in. Or take the time to teach your baby and show her the world. . . . take each day as it comes but do not forget to make plans for you and your baby. That's the most important thing.”
2. Lean on Your Support Network
Finding yourself suddenly alone as a single mom is when it is most important to take your friends and family up on offers for support, say Circle of Moms members like Cheryl H. “After a while I kind of got used to being lonely but then I started to make a few friends around my house and it got less lonely,” she shares. “I also called some of my friends, both [some] who are parents and [some] who are not, and [got] together with them a few times a week. Make sure to make time with friends and family when you can, and just go day by day."
Candice C. has taken the edge off the loneliness by spending time with family. “I know the feeling,” she says. “It comes and goes for me. Some days are lonelier than others. I also spend a lot of time with my parents, just visiting, because they are close.”
3. Stay Busy
When your normal life routine is interrupted by divorce, keeping yourself busy can ease the initial sting of being and feeling alone, Circle of Moms members agree. "The only way I keep my sanity is by never sitting still,” says Sue S. "I go to play groups four days a week, swimming, [the] park, long walks, anything so I don't have time to sit and think. Then bedtime for the children arrives and if there is nothing good on TV, I clean the house, iron clothes, and do crosswords. Again, anything to stop me thinking. Then, when I know I am that tired that I will fall straight asleep, I go to bed.”
Mandi C. also finds that staying busy staves off the loneliness. “At night I try and do things that keep my mind off of not having a boyfriend by reading, watching a movie or [doing] chores around the house,” she says.
4. Focus on the Positive
While she says it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the loneliness that comes from being a single mom, Candice C. has tried to overcome these feelings by focusing on what is going on that is positive in her life and imagining what lies ahead. And, if all else fails, she heads to the mall to ease the isolation. “I live at the mall just to get out of being in the house alone,” she says about the weekends her children are at their father’s.
“Having no one to share the joys and sorrows with can be a lonely feeling. But, I try to think of the positive things and that is that I am providing a safe place for my children to fall. I know they will always reach out to me and they rely on [me] as the most special person in their world. In the end, I know I will be stronger for having survived all of this. It doesn’t change the loneliness but it helps [me] cope."
5. Put Your Energy into Your Kids
One strategy to block the pain of loneliness is to focus in on your children’s lives. “[Immerse] yourself in your kids,” says Maranda B. She suggests finding things to do with them, to let them know that they are the most important things in your life, and that this will help the loneliness pass. "When it is just you guys you will realize that. . . they need you and you need them.”
Rhiannon agrees, with a caveat: “I am recently separated from my husband and really miss being a couple,” she says. “Throw yourself into being a mommy, but don’t forget that you are a woman too, with your own needs. Sunday nights are ‘me’ nights. I do the whole beauty thing - bath, scrub moisturizing, things to make me feel good about myself."
6. Reach Out
Don’t wait for friends – new or old – to come looking for you, recommend several Circle of Moms members. Being a single mom is about being courageous on a number of fronts, explains Terri J.
Some specific suggestions include joining support groups for single moms, churches, book clubs and other activities you might be interested in. Terri, who has found joining single parent support groups to be a salve for loneliness, shares that, “It helps a lot when you become friends with single parents [who] are going through the same thing you are going through because you know that you are not the only one [who] is having a rough life."
Donna P. reaches out to online single parent support groups she finds on Facebook. “I tend to go on Facebook and talk to people and join single parent groups and make new Facebook friends and talk to them,” she shares. “I am looking for a hobby to do at night when my son sleeps, but I just don’t know what to do.”
7. Allow Yourself to Grow
Dealing with loneliness, and overcoming it can be a life-changing event that shows your children you have a lot of courage. To start, you have to learn how to take care of yourself and manage feelings that would otherwise drag you down, says Michelle F:
“My son is 17 months and I've been (basically) single since he was born,” she says. “It is super lonely, especially if you don't have friends. I moved to this tiny town after my ex and I separated because I had to live with my mom since I had no job/money/support. We rarely do stuff, it's super hard to fit in a small town, my son freaks out with babysitters and I've no spare time after work and school. But I have learned to take it one day at a time. That's how I do it. You can’t ignore your sadness but you can’t let it drag you down too often. Every so often let your self have a good cry, but then brush it off and push on. Remember, nothing lasts forever. I have realized that this time alone has changed me: I am stronger and more self-sufficient than I ever was before. I know I can do most anything on my own (whether or not I wanted to). Maybe look at this time as a chance to really get to know yourself without the influence of a partner."
How do you help fight off the loneliness?
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.