Easy ways you can help out a single mom if you know a single mom. Single moms are overwhelmed but usually won’t ask for help, here are some ideas that anyone can do to help out.
When I first became a single mom
When I first became a single mom, I lived in a neighborhood that consisted of all different lifestyles. I took for granted the help I received as a single parent.
My next-door neighbor told me I didn’t have to worry about my lawn. While he said it may not always be done immediately, I wouldn’t have to mow, rake, or shovel. That was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.
My kids were too young to leave inside the house alone while I went outside long enough to take care of these chores. Not to mention I didn’t own a mower after my divorce.
An elderly couple down the street welcomed my kids into their homes and always enjoyed them coming around.
The family across the street had an open invitation for my kids to stay for dinner. It was so welcoming that my children and theirs were back and forth, so often I always either had four or zero children.
A younger man directly across from me watched for anything that looked suspicious at night. He came over more than once to remind me to close my garage door or alert me of anything happening in the neighborhood. It wasn’t the safest neighborhood.
Which is why we moved
Our new neighborhood is super safe. But it’s also full of nuclear families with mostly stay at home moms.
Here I’m expected to keep my leaves picked up and the grass mowed. I tried paying a teenager for the first year, but I bought a mower in the end. The trash can can’t sit out on the curb overnight.
Neighbors don’t bring it up for you. Families sit down for dinner, and the neighborhood grows quiet at dark. There are definite advantages to a safer place to raise your children. But sometimes, you lose the community.
Thankfully my kids are older, and it’s easier for me to keep a house now.
But I remember very clearly those early years the help I received as a single mom and what a lifeline it was to my children and me.
ways to support single moms in your life
How to Help a Single Mom
My biggest advice for helping a single mom is for you to think about what overwhelms you about being a parent?
Think of the times you were so glad you had a partner to help you with the kids. Or when were you thankful you had help around the house or help with the car?
- Return her trash can to the side of the house when you are returning yours
- Lawn Maintenance: anything lawn related can be a huge help, such as mowing her lawn, raking leaves, cleaning gutters, planting flowers, shoveling her walkway, putting ice down when it snows.
- If your children are friends, offer to do the carpooling or take her child for an afternoon.
- If you live next to or near a single mom, make sure she knows you are available & willing. One of the biggest problems for single parents is that there isn’t another adult in the house, so they can’t leave for ten minutes to get a child’s medicine, for example.
- Bring her a meal. If you work with a single parent that you know is sick or going through a rough time, a meal can be a godsend. But really, a meal she doesn’t have to cook is always appreciated.
- Invite them over for the holidays. Especially with custody agreements, many single parents can be alone on holidays if it isn’t their holiday this year.
- Car Help: If you’re mechanically inclined, then helping with car issues or offering to take her car to the shop for her is a big help. Having another person who understands cars takes the pressure off of a single parent.
- A certificate for a free house cleaning or offer to help clean up yourself.
- Be her friend. Single Moms often feel isolated and like they don’t belong. She needs someone to reach out to her and let her know she’s not alone.
- Encourage her by sending her a text or buying her a cup of coffee. Not everything has to be a huge show of support. Small words and acts can have a significant impact.
How to NOT Help a Single Mom
Single moms don’t want pity.
Our single mom status isn’t what defines us. But since we find ourselves in a new life where we are both mom and dad, it’s hard for single moms to think of much else.
The amount of load we are carrying is tremendous, and when someone recognizes this, even with a small gesture, it has a significant impact.
Think about your intention when offering help. Although she will be extremely thankful, please don’t expect her to repay you in any way. Make sure you’re offering help entirely out of the kindness of your own heart.
One day, when life gets more manageable, the single mom you helped will pass it on.