One of the realities of many a single parent’s life is a tendency toward isolation. We get up early and get our kids off to school or day care, go to work and work a full day, run errands, attend our children’s extracurricular activities, make dinner and do chores, and then collapse into bed at night—only to do it all over again on the next day. It easy to get our lives into such a routine that we start to feel really isolated from anything outside of our little tract. For healthy selves and healthy families, however, we need to fight that tendency to become isolated.
I’ve admitted before that I am definitely guilty of letting the social life fall through the cracks! It is partly about time, partly about energy level, and probably partly about the challenges in finding compatible friends and places to socialize. My social circle has changed over the years—after my divorce, a lot of those “couple friends” just drifted away and while I did make a few single parent friends, I also made some single-no-kids friends and as I got even older and my kids became unpleasant teenagers—those single-no-kids friends and I couldn’t really connect. I’m no longer into bars and I’m definitely not into shopping. Meanwhile, people move, interests change and before a person knows it—she’s feeling a bit of an isolation period has set in!
It seems to take constant effort and a determination not to give in to that isolation tendency for single parents. That effort, of course takes energy but I do believe it is worth it. Even if you are just getting out one day a week, it will help you to feel more connected and help your life feel more balanced. If you can’t get together with friends, consider going to a reading, gallery opening, play or performance, or other public event—preferably one where you will have the opportunity to visit and mingle (movies don’t count). Even if you chat with strangers, at least you will be out amongst other adults and doing something that is of personal interest to you. This is healthy, this is important, and it will keep your life as a single parent more in balance.