How to Build a Support System as a Single Parent

This is a guest post.

The life of a single parent is full of twists and turns. Getting every responsibility done can be challenging, especially when juggling it with full-time work and other errands. Stressful and lonely moments can feel overwhelming, but there’s one way to create a life you thrive in — a solid support system.

Here are ways you can build your own support system.

Acknowledge That You’ll Need Support

The first step in building your support system requires embracing the fact that you need assistance. You may sometimes feel you need to do things alone if you’ve relied on yourself for the longest time. However, you must understand that you are not an island, and reaching out to friends and loved ones is healthy.

Related: Help for When You’re Waiting on God for an Answer

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness — in fact, it brings many advantages to your health, including:

  • Reduced stress: Spending time with loved ones helps decrease anxiety and boost mood.
  • Improved overall health: Having people you can turn to for support can help improve your physical and emotional well-being. 
  • Improved self-esteem: You feel better about yourself when you have people rooting for you by your side.

Identify the Support You Need

According to The Annie E. Casey Foundation, transitioning to a single-parent household can interrupt a child’s routine and education, which may intensify parental stress and conflict. These shifts can be challenging and even traumatic to kids.

To mitigate these adverse effects, identify your parental growth points. Here are some different reasons why you might need additional support: 

  • You might be home late because of work, so you can’t make dinner.
  • Your work requires you to do weekend shifts.
  • You’re sick and can’t perform house and parental responsibilities well.
  • You want a child-free Friday night.

A solid understanding of the support you need will allow you to build a stable support system that fits your family’s needs.

Who Should Be In Your Support System?

A robust support system should be diverse enough to cover the various phases of your life but small enough that all relationships are adequately maintained. Here are the people you need on your side.

Related: 7 Ways to Make Amazing Friendships as a Single Mom

Family

Your blood should be your prime consideration when it comes to building your support system. Every family is different, so only talk to members you’re comfortable reaching out to. If you need financial support, they’re the ideal people to approach — reach out to a trusted sister or parent, work out a repayment plan, and express your gratitude. Ensure to offer your support if they ever need it soon.

Friends

Your friends are people you confide in, have fun with, and talk to whenever you need help. For instance, you can ask them to take your little one for a sleepover if you need to pull an all-nighter at work.

Babysitters

Sometimes, life gets tough. However, when you hire a babysitter or a nanny for child care support, every day becomes more manageable. Your child’s safety is a priority, so skimping on quality care shouldn’t be an option when things get tough.

Neighbors

A trusted neighbor could be a helpful savior in emergencies. You’ll want to be cautious about leaving your children alone with neighbors, but start by seeking out other families. You can ask neighbors for help with tasks unrelated to childcare, as well, such as paying a teenager to mow your lawn.   

Related: Eight Fall Cleaning Tips for Working Moms

Online Communities

There are a lot of online groups that provide a safe space. Here, you can meet fellow single parents with whom you can share your highs and lows of parenting. Some popular online support groups include Parents Helping Parents, Parents Without Partners, and Circles.

Extracurricular Leaders

Signing your child up for extracurricular activities is a great way to keep them busy after school if you need to work or run errands. Other adults like coaches, camp leaders, or music teachers will be positive role models who can shape your children’s lives in ways you may not be able to. 

Additionally, these hobbies and outdoor activities will prevent your children from relying on TV or video games for entertainment – as too much screen time can have negative effects on mental health.  

How to Reach Out?

Here are a few ways to ask for and accept help from your support network.

Remember That People Like to Help

Your loved ones would appreciate it if you asked them to help you. Supporting you is a sign of their love and care for you.

Start Small

If you find it challenging to ask for help, start small and see where it’ll go. For instance, you can request a family member take care of your child for a few hours while you go grocery shopping.

Rely on Your Most Trusted Loved Ones

Have an honest conversation with your trusted family members and friends and see if they are willing to lend a hand. You’ll be surprised how they are eager to alternate babysitting time.

Seek Advice Online

You can contact online groups if you need advice from fellow single parents. Search for local Facebook groups, and feel free to vent your frustrations.

Help in Return 

Support is a two-way street, and there are many ways you can reciprocate people’s efforts. It could be as simple as inviting them to dinner at home or lending a listening ear. The more you show you value a relationship, the more likely people will support you.

Ask for Support Today

Sometimes, there are people just waiting for the opportunity to help you. Build your support network today so you’ll never hesitate to ask for help again.

Author Bio

Cora Gold is a motherhood and wellness blogger and the Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine, Revivalist. Follow Cora on Pinterest and LinkedIn