Now I know that in the grand scheme of things, I am only a novice and I imagine as the time goes by I will discover more about life as a single parent, but for now here goes.
Here are a few things I would ask all my friends to do for their single mummy friends.
1) Invite us on play dates
Life as a mother of any kind can be hard work and lonely, but as a single mum I find there are certain places I avoid because going to the zoo or adventure park or swimming pool are just to terrifying to face on your own. Rightly or wrongly I think people around me know I’m a single mother and I’m sure they give me the pity look. So I always feel just a little bit more self-conscious and socially awkward at these places. Having a girly friend their to chat to, drink coffee with or dash from the changing rooms to the swimming pool helps, a lot!
It’s also really hard to watch families, by this I mean couples with kids, out together and not feel a bit sad about your own situation. Going out with other mummy friends is a great way to be distracted and helped me to feel just a little bit less lonely.
2) Invite us on grown-up nights out
I need to go out with my buddies and find the new me, I want adult conversations and dinners out. The more the merrier because lets be honest it’s not just single mummies who want to get out for the night.
Also remember, I might be single and ready to mingle
, but I’ve not been out on a date for a while, possibly decades, and I need practice getting dressed up, knowing where to go to meet people and remembering what it is like to flirt and let my hair down. Take me out, that’s an order! It’s also easy to assume I can’t get a babysitter or I won’t have any money or I have nothing to wear, as most of it’s a nice shade of snot these days. But, if you ask me I might surprise you and if I don’t have any money then invite yourself round to mine. It might look like a glitter bomb has gone off but a girly night in wearing my pj’s is as good as a night out. Like you, I crave grown-up conversation with my friends and now more than ever. Let’s be honest, no one wants to see a grown woman (okay, me) sat alone at a table in town on Friday night, possibly crying into a glass of Prosecco!
3) Listen to us talk about the ex
Okay this one is a tough one because it’s not easy to do. You’ve heard it all before, you heard it all before we broke up, you could see it coming, you heard it all when we were breaking up and now you’re here listening again to how much of a dick he still is. But bear with me. It might be that you’ve listened to me tell you we’re going to give it just one more go or talking about more broken promises. You know as well as I do that things are never going to change even if we do try again for the 100th time but letting go of the ex is bloody hard, especially when they are the father of your child or children and even if he is a total knob, it’s still hard to make the jump into single parent-doom. Trouble is, it’s hard not to keep going over and over again, especially in the early days but we will stop, eventually, I promise.
4) Tell me about how great your family is
Ladies, listen up because this one is really important. I want you to tell me about how wonderful your family is and how amazing your husband or partner has been and all the funny things you get up to. Please don’t avoid me or feel awkward about talking to me about how great your life is, even if I cry when you tell me. We are friends and friends should share in the good and bad bits, equally. Yes, okay, deep down in a very tiny spot about the size of a cake sprinkle, I might be jealous of you and sometimes I even worry that you might go through the same heartbreak I have but mostly, and honestly I need to hear how great your life is so that I can have some hope about mine.
5) Tell me you love me
I’m not asking you to get down on one knee or write me sonnets but love comes in different forms. Gifts and flowers are one way, but you can’t underestimate how powerful it is for one friend to say to another, ‘I love you buddy’. I’m fortunate that my family are open about their feelings but I need my friends to tell me they love me too, the way ‘sisters’ do and knowing you don’t have to because we’re not related, well that’s true love. I don’t have a man to say nice things to me either, to tell me I look beautiful or tell me how good I’m doing. So that’s why I need my friends to step it up. Let’s not go overboard with this one but telling your friend that you care about them and love them, well there’s nothing wrong with that!
I’ve written this particularly from my situation as a single mother but honestly I think it should be something we do for all our mummy friends! Mates before dates. #nomolofliessolo
Love this? Read more about Fiona’s life as a single mum here
About Fiona Holter
Fiona is a single mother to a 2 and a half year old daughter. She works full time as a nurse. She says ‘middle child syndrome’ is a real thing, and as a shift worker chocolate should be consumed at any time of the day.