Asking for help as a single parent can be difficult, but it is a sign of inner strength. Only you will know when you need help, what kind of help is needed, and who is the best person to provide that help to you. It is the asking that is hard. This is because of a mindset that we have developed about asking for help or fear of the need for help being relayed back to the other parent, especially when there was a custody battle in the divorce. But there are some places you can try first.
One place to turn for help is friends before family. Often asking friends for help is less complicated and emotional than asking family members. If dad or mom is not exercising their parenting time, ask a close friend to step up and attend events in lieu of the other parent. It will help your children feel connected to their classmates and not worry about not being able to attend special events, such as Daddy-Daughter or Mother-Son dances. I know how important this was to my oldest daughter as a young child when a couple I was friends with took her out to buy the special outfit and shoes, did her hair, the photos and the husband escort her to the Daddy-Daughter dance with a corsage. It made her feel special, and she was able to attend with all her friends from school.
Friends who know car repair are another place to ask for help with basic car maintenance. These friends can even accompany you to the mechanic to ensure that you are not being taken advantage of or merely provide you the ride to and from the mechanic’s shop.
Local people that you know at your child’s day care or classroom. Establish a babysitting co-operative where each member agrees to babysit in exchange for equal time with their children. This is a great way to be able to run errands or go to appointments without your children and scheduling play dates for them. In return, you can give back to other parents, even if they are not single.
Colleagues from work or study groups. Be able to spend time with other adults is critical for your sense of well-being and developing new friendships. When you have young children, a lot of your day being spent around child-centered activities. Be able to go and hang out with other adults will balance out your days between being a parent and being human.
Therapists and other professionals are good resources for when you need expert or specialized help. Therapists can help you process your emotions as you transition from a two-parent household to a one-parent household. They can help you evaluate how you are dealing with different situations as a single parent. A family therapist is also a great place to discuss different parenting techniques, especially when you have multiple children who can often times try to tag-team on their newly divorced parent.
Knowing when to reach out to an attorney to assist in post-judgment matters can save frustration in the future. We have seen clients who have tried to handle post-judgment issues themselves only to be tricked by the ex-spouse or the attorney for the ex-spouse. It is wise to have someone who is not emotionally invested in the outcome be your voice of reason.
If you find yourself needing to know who to reach out to in your local community for help, then call our office to inquire who we have on our Team 100 community referral list. We will introduce you to a professional we know, like, and trust who can help you