When my divorce happened, it was a whirlwind. The proceedings alone were enough to send me into a center for the insane. Splitting household items, determining visitation schedules for the kid’s father, dealing with the questions from the children.
These were all things that occupied my days – and most nights – as a tornado of chaos in my head. As things settled and the routine was established, I began picking up the pieces of the fairy tale that imploded. I was not prepared for the depression, the loneliness, the constant question of ‘What could I have done better to save the marriage.’
The truth is, now that I look back, I think a single parent support group would have been a huge help! But did I really need one and if so, how do I find one that fits with me?
Is there too much ‘drama’?
My friends were my rock and have remained so years later. But even they need a break from the constant drama that can come from a divorce. I have a dear friend that is happily – truly happily- married that has been through half of my life with me. When she gently said one day that my whole life was full of ‘drama’, I knew it was time to take the burden off of my friends.
Being 1 of 2 single mothers in my group of friends is hard. Women that are in a marriage and have never been single moms just don’t have that life experience to draw on. So finding a place that I can go that offers only people with the same experience is valuable to me.
Are you taking longer to recover than you think you should?
A divorce is a loss. There is no optimum recovery time. But when you are sitting in the dark two years later while your children are at their dads, crying at romantic comedies and wishing you could move on, it might be time to talk to some people who have.
Just as marriage and parenting did not come with ‘How To’ manuals, neither does divorced. We can read all day long about how to recover and heal but, aside from paying a sitter to watch the kids while we pay a professional to listen to us, we have little options to move forward in the real world if we get stuck.
Finding a group that makes us get out, especially if there is a trade off childcare program in place, can be so beneficial to single parents!
Do you have a support system in place already?
Aside from my one single mom friend who is across the country half the year, all of my friends are married. My parents live in another city so it is hard to have them here helping me. So I don’t see them very often. My friends love me and want to help but we are all very busy and trying to make it work in our own lives.
The benefits of a single parent support group can be vitally important when you are lacking that solid support system within your family and current friend group. As I have pushed in this article, people with your own life experience are important to making it through with an understanding perspective!
I, personally, feel like any single parent would benefit from a support group. But how do you find them? How do you join?
Though there are online groups like MeetUp.com, there is more of a comfort for me if I find one through word of mouth, a church or even a recreational center in my neighborhood.
You can also look on local Facebook groups for your community or check the bulletin boards at local fire stations. Finding one close, hopefully that offers childcare or child included activities, is ideal. Getting up and going to more than one will help you find the one that fits your needs best!
If you are a single parent, leave comments below with your ideas for finding and joining single parent support groups! I would love to hear your ideas and experience!