Receiving Emotional Support as a Solo Parent

by | May 9, 2023 | Support network, Uncategorized

For many of us, deciding to become a solo parent is a massive decision for a variety of different reasons. One of those factors is often, questioning whether we’ll be able to cope solo.

There are a few different aspects of what being able to cope is made up of. Some of the most common considerations are:

  • Financially
  • Practically
  • Emotionally

In this blog post I will be focusing on the emotional side of things. How will I get enough emotional support if I don’t have a partner on the journey with me?

In society these days, there is an expectation that a romantic partner will provide us with all our different needs. We have a tendency to have extremely high expectations on what one partner will be able to offer us. We expect them to have all bases covered. In reality, this is very rarely the case. It is asking a lot for one person to be able to provide us with everything that we need in your life.

Where do I get my emotional support?

The most important part of exploring emotional support as a solo parent is that I don’t feel like anything is missing. I don’t feel the absence of having a partner, or any gaps that might bring.

For me personally, rather than looking for one person to provide everything that I need in my life, I look in 3 main places:

  • Myself
  • My support network
  • My solo parent friends

What do I mean I get it from myself?

Over the years I have really worked on becoming more reliant on myself. I can make decisions by myself, I can spend time by myself. I can rely on my own judgement. I am independent.

In the past I have needed more support from others than I do these days. Always asking for input and guidance at every stage. Over time, I have realised that although it can be reassuring to get the support of others, actually, I am more than capable of making my own decisions and journey in life.

Just because I can rely more on myself more than I have done in the past, doesn’t mean that I don’t need support from others at all, or that I don’t value receiving emotional support.

This is where my support network comes in.

My Support Network

My support network is made up of a number of different elements.

My key supporters are my mum, my dad, other family members, as well as my best friends. They are the first ones I’d call, who are there for me in a crisis and who are at the other end of a phone any time I need emotional support. I speak to my mum every day. She provides me considerable support in the day to day running of my life from an emotional point of view. She is my rock. She does help me practically too, but what I value the most is the emotional support I get from her. I’m lucky as she also feels invested in her granddaughter, so I feel she is someone I can absolutely rely upon to support me.

Most of the emotional support I find I need these days is about parenting, and the realities of parenting in general as well as the nuances of solo parenting.

I remember being in bed in the early days and really worrying about my daughter Daisy who was then a newborn baby. Was she breathing too fast? Was she too hot? Was she feeding enough? I had no clue what I was doing. No experience of parenting at all. I needed reassurance on an almost hourly basis. My antenatal class Whatsapp group was pinging all through the day and night at that point. We all had the same questions and concerns, needed the same reassurances. We provided each other loads of emotional support in those early days.

A good reminder for anyone who is worried about the lack of emotional support you may feel if you don’t have a partner is that my Antenatal group were also messaging our Whatsapp group none stop. Their partners didn’t have all the answers, they also didn’t have parenting experience, so most of the time I found we were messaging each other. Not saying they weren’t getting support from their partners, they absolutely were, but they were also reaching out, looking for it from our group.

I also have an amazing friendship group who I regularly reach out to and provide me support when I need it. They are there to listen at the end of the phone, to pop round for a brew and a pep talk or to send endless Whatsapp voice notes and messages. I’m very fortunate that I have a great group of friends around me, who I feel are really there for me.

At times, I’ve not been the easiest person to be friends with. I am complicated and haven’t always been the best at communicating my needs and feelings. Needs that vastly changed as I became a parent. This is something I have been working on. Getting better at being open, initiating the dialogue and also showing more vulnerability. Just because I decided to parent solo, doesn’t mean I have to pretend to have it all figured out and to show I have it all under control. I’m trying to get better at saying when I’m struggling.

Solo Parent Friends

Last but no means least, my solo parent friends. When I became a solo parent I had absolutely no idea what a crucial part of my support network they would become. After my mum, I’d say my solo parent friends are definitely my main source of emotional support. They are my friends who really get my situation and can empathise most with me. I speak to them virtually every day and still have a call once a week which is an amazing source of support. It makes me feel really understood and much less alone. They always have wise words to share or just an encouraging message.

If you don’t have a solo parent support network in place, I highly recommend changing that. One of my main missions with Thriving Solo is to connect Solo Parents with each other both virtually and face to face. Check out the events we have on here.

 

I’d love to hear where you get your emotional support from in the comments below and if you feel you have enough.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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