How to be a good friend to a newly-single mum

Splitting up with a long-term partner is really shit.  Whether it was her decision or his decision, on good terms or bad, it’s bound to be painful and upsetting.  Throw a kid or two (or more) into the mix, and things become even more difficult.  If you have a single mummy friend who has recently gone through a split from her husband or partner, here are some ways that you could be a good friend to her…

broken heart

1.  Let her know that she rocks

She will be feeling pretty crappy right now.  Let her know that you love her and that she is fabulous, and strong, and generally awesome.  Repeat.  You cannot overstate this or say it too often.  Don’t forget to continue to let her know how great she is over the coming months, too – not just in the first few days.

you rock

 

2.  Be there, check in.

She might be finding life extra busy now, what with juggling everything solo, and she may disappear off the radar a little.  Check in, once in a while, with a text or phone call, just to let her know you’re there – and don’t be offended if you don’t get too much back in return at the moment.

 

3.  Look out for the particularly tricky days.

If you know when their wedding anniversary was, bear it in mind – she might be feeling extra sad or emotional around that date.  Also other “hallmark” days – Valentine’s Day, Christmas, birthdays.  All days that previously would have been shared with her partner and therefore are bound to bring up memories and emotions – show her that whilst her partner isn’t around anymore to share those days with, she does have friends who love her and care about her.

beta alpha hug - Copy

 

4.  Help out if you can.

Being a single parent is hard, especially at the beginning when everything is still so raw, yet there are these little people to look after.  Getting used to the new rhythms and routines of everyday life – it takes a while to adjust to the new normal.  If you can help your newly-single friend in any practical way, please do.  She might not need or want to accept help, but knowing that she’s got someone she can call on to help out when needs must (school run emergency, illness, car breakdown), will be a big comfort.

 

5.  Don’t forget about weekends.

When you’re a single parent, weekends can be tricky, especially at first.  Whilst everyone else is having “family time” and fun days out, single parents are on their own – either with the kids, or completely on their own.  The latter can be desperately-needed and much-appreciated, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t miss her children so much it hurts.  The former can be feel a bit empty, and with all her friends tied up enjoying Daddy being off work, lonely.  Imagine not having a single adult conversation from Friday afternoon (at work) until Monday morning (back at work).  And big days out to Peppa Pig World or Legoland are difficult to achieve when you’re on your own with two toddlers who like to run in opposite directions and require a pack horse to carry the bags of spare clothes/snacks/drinks etc.  Two solid days entertaining little ones when you’re already exhausted from a week at work and could really do with just half an hour in which to have a bath in peace…well that will have to wait until next weekend.

I’m not saying you should forego your family time to babysit your single friend (or her kids), but if you have a spare couple of hours whilst Dad is out playing football – why not suggest a playdate or a cuppa?

 

6.  Wine, chocolate, cake.

Enough said.

giving cake

7.  Dating again – don’t judge.

There will come a time when your single friend decides she is ready to start over in the relationship stakes.  This might be after a couple of months, or it might take a couple of years.  Either way, don’t judge.  Let her find out for herself whether it’s too soon and whether or not she’s really ready.  And for goodness sake don’t keep pushing her to “get back on the horse”.

 

8.  She needs you long term, not just now.

Your friend is probably a bloody amazing human being.  You may well look at her and wonder how she does it, how she can be so strong and so capable at dealing with everything that life has thrown at her recently.  And over time you’ll probably start to assume that she’s ok now, that she’s “over it”.  Hopefully you’re right!  But whilst the initial shock and heartbreak settles down in time, everyone appreciates a good friend by their side ALL the time – to rant at, to moan to, to share news with, and to have a giggle with.  Never underestimate your importance!

mum dancing


The advice above: take it or leave it.  Clearly not all of these things are going to apply to all people.  I’m writing based on my own personal experience of both marriage break-up and of having my “wolf pack” of the most brilliant friends who got me through it.  Hopefully what I’ve written is helpful to somebody out there who wants to help a friend who is going through a similarly tough time. 

Petite Pudding

16 Comments

  • Mummy in a Tutu 08/10/2016 at 11:08 am

    Oh bless you sweet. As a fellow single mummy I agree. People just don’t get it. People ask what are your plans this weekend is quite gut wrenching sometimes. Much love #triballove

    Reply
  • Fran @ Whinge Whinge Wine 08/10/2016 at 11:24 am

    I’ve never known you as anything but, and you seem to be rocking it to me x

    Reply
  • Mother of Many 08/10/2016 at 11:39 am

    Spot on as ever …… the loneliness of those weekends where daddy has the little ones is impossible to explain, especially when the previous weekend all you craved were 5 minutes to chill (ok, drink wine!). And it’s even harder to explain that on days out ( when you pluck up the courage to go) at busy bustling places a single parent can feel so alone amongst all those people. And all those people appear to be so happy and together, even though some of them probably aren’t.
    Bank Holidays were always my killer…..
    It does get better though, with time and rocking friends xxxx

    Reply
  • Mouse Moo Me Too 08/10/2016 at 11:42 am

    One of your best posts to date, IMO. Love you xxx

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  • Sarah 08/10/2016 at 11:42 am

    What Fran said. I think you are bloody awesome. Xx

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  • Soph 08/10/2016 at 11:48 am

    I get this completely 8 years down the line and it’s still tricky and lonely 🙂
    You are a totally awesome Mum .. and apologies for being such a lousy correspondent
    Much love xx

    Reply
  • Single Mum Speaks 08/10/2016 at 11:02 pm

    Love this. Some of this applies to me too, as a fellow single parent, but a lot doesn’t. I can’t imagine having to hand the child over to an ex, for example, or generally deal with the shitness of a break up when everyone around you seems to be in a two parent family. You’re doing brilliantly, and I would hang out with you at the weekend if I lived closer! #tribe

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  • Jemma 09/10/2016 at 9:25 am

    Love this! Thanks for writing about what it’s like. Its a comfort to hear others feeling the same as I do xx

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  • Kelly 09/10/2016 at 9:10 pm

    Just perfect, had I had this blog when I were newly single (as opposed to now 8 yrs on.. and still need the love of a kids away weekend) I’d have sent it to all my friends! !

    Reply
  • Squirmy Popple 09/10/2016 at 9:11 pm

    I love the mum dancing pic! Thanks for sharing your advice – I think we underestimate sometimes how much a bit of support (or cake!) would be appreciated by a mum who is getting used to handling things on her own.

    Reply
  • An imperfect mum (Catie) 10/10/2016 at 6:38 am

    Absolutely brilliant advice Hun! I do like to check in with all my friends but it can be hard to juggle and accept that some people are very busy and don’t always reply as soon as. Also liked no.3 ! Great post! 🌟 Thank you for linking up to #EatSleepBlogRT 🎉

    Reply
  • hester nguyen 10/10/2016 at 9:09 am

    Good advice not only for mummy friends who find themselves single again, but for all our mummy friends. Lets not forget military wives who are often “single” for stretches of time. There is strength in numbers and taking care of each other always.

    Reply
  • Cara Devaney 10/10/2016 at 11:06 am

    Weekends must be very hard for single mums on their weekends without the kids. I hadn’t thought about that until now, everyone else is off doing things with their families, it must be very sharply lonely. Really good post x #EatSleepBlogRT

    Reply
  • TessyChappers 12/10/2016 at 7:16 pm

    Just remember some single parents are widows too. All of this applies to them too and it’s is a great post! Thank you

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    • Beta Mummy 12/10/2016 at 7:21 pm

      Thank you for your comment – and yes you are absolutely right, although I can only imagine it comes with a whole host of other emotions and difficulties, too. xx

      Reply
  • Roxanne 09/01/2017 at 5:06 pm

    This post is amazing. I can relate to it lots, when I became a single mum I am so lucky most of my friends were there for me and did most things in this post! X

    Reply

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