Raising kids solo is so much easier if these people have your back
Does it take a village to raise a child? Maybe not, but the more help you have, the better. It’s not always about practical support (although the value of on-call babysitters should never be underestimated). Certain types of people can make the Solo Mom journey easier, more rewarding, and a lot more fun. And if you have someone in your life who answers to more than one of the following descriptions, consider yourself blessed!
1. The type A mom
Stuck at the office and need someone to pick up the kids from soccer practice? Head hurting from trying to figure out a plan for the endless half-days at school? Can’t remember what you promised to do for the PTA fundraiser? The type A mom is your go-to for all of the above and so much more. Her organized brain is there for the picking, and she loves nothing more than tackling a challenging project. So let her share her top scheduling tips and introduce some spreadsheet love into your life.
2. The cheerleader
If you’ve had a bad day (or date), the cheerleader is the person who’ll yank you out of your pity party and remind you exactly what you’re doing right. She’s the person who’ll give you a pep talk when you need to remember how awesome you are because we all have crises of confidence, and it can be tough when there isn’t someone else there to help when your kid is projectile vomiting at 3:00 a.m. Your cheerleader could be another mom, your own mom, your sister, or your oldest friend—it doesn’t matter.
“My cheerleader is my cousin Nikki,” says New York City Solo Mom Jessica. “She’s the one I call at 2:00 a.m. when I’ve decided I’m going to die alone, old, sad, and surrounded by cats. She knows just what to say to boost my mood—and she promises to outlive me and rescue me from the cats.”
3. The sidekick
Whatever your circumstances are, you need someone who’s right there, too. Only someone who can relate to your situation on a personal level can really understand what you’re going through and help you work out the answers and bounce back from your mistakes. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a few sidekicks (the going-through-a-divorce friend, the newly single friend, the just-found-out-I’m-pregnant-and-alone friend).
Join forces, and you’re a veritable Solo Mom superhero squad.
“My sidekick is Michelle,” says Chicago Solo Mom Grace. “We met at a mommy-and-me class when our sons were two months old and bonded over our shared experience of going through fertility treatment, pregnancy, and childbirth as single women by choice. She’s the closest thing to a coparent I have because she understands everything.”
4. The single girlfriend
Whether your kids are with their other parent, or you have a free pass for the night thanks to the aforementioned babysitter, you need someone with whom you can share that precious free time. The social life of a Solo Mom can be a strange thing. A lot of the time, we can’t do any adult stuff because we’re home alone with our kids. If we coparent, it’s all or nothing: either we’re with the kids 24-7 or we’re faced with hours or days stretching ahead of us. We don’t all have lots of Solo Mom friends (and if we do, coparenting schedules won’t always be compatible), so we need a playmate.
Step forward the single girlfriend. With no kids, no significant other, and no responsibilities, she’s the perfect wing woman when you need to remember—over a cocktail or two, perhaps—that you’re more than just a mom.
5. The mentor
It’s always handy to know a woman who went through what you’re going through now and survived, someone who can say, “I know how you feel,” and actually mean it. She might have become a Solo Mom by choice. She might have worked for years to reach a great coparenting scenario. She might have gone through divorce hell and come out the other side happier, stronger, and more successful than ever. You can learn so much from someone you admire who’s been where you are now.
“My mentor is my old boss, Jana,” says Columbus, Ohio, Solo Mom Kristen. “She went through divorce while she was pregnant with twins. She’s had really tough times, but she’s now running a hugely successful company and raising two incredible teenagers. I think of her when I’m struggling to juggle part-time work with bringing up my preschooler.”
6. The guy friend
A single dad friend (who really is just a friend) can give you so many valuable male perspectives on parenting, dating, and relationships. Basically, he’s you with a penis. You can do the same for him from a female point of view, of course, making this a mutually beneficial relationship. If you’re not on great terms with your ex, the guy friend can remind you what it’s like to have a healthy relationship with men in general (and can also be a really positive male role model for your kids).
7. The matchmaker
Swiping right and left on Tinder isn’t the only dating option for a Solo Mom. If you prefer your Saturday-night date to come with a stamp of approval, you need a matchmaker in your life. This person knows everyone and can always come up with an eligible date if you don’t want to be the only Solo Mom at the dinner party. A good matchmaker has skills that go way beyond affairs of the heart. He or she will hook you up with the best version of whatever is lacking in your life, whether it’s a yoga teacher or a childminder.
The pressures on Solo Moms are similar to those that weigh on couples: paying bills, coping with sleepless nights, finding child care, and helping kids navigate all life’s little and big dramas. But the difference is that Solo Moms are coping largely on their own. So let these people in your life ease the pressure a little.
Who’s in your squad?
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