Being a single mom can be lonely regardless of your situation and circumstances - you can be recently divorced, widowed or never married and might be raising an only child or several children. Despite our differences, we all feel lonely at some point or another. It comes and goes.
You might be lonely even if you're surrounded by kids, and have supportive family and friends. You're not alone but you're still lonely.
Even with being surrounded by people, ultimately we're single momming on our own. We're making our own decisions where our kids are concerned. We're dealing with everyday life on our own - trips to the emergency room, tantrums, homework, and hardships our kids face. We're deciding on big life decisions on our own. We're providing for our family on our own.
We face the good times and the bad times on our own, and with every step we take, we hope so much that we're doing the right thing.
The support system you keep close to is always there to listen to you, give advice when needed, and help in any possible way they can, but it stops there.
The weight of your family is on your shoulders and yours alone. Some of us wish we had someone to share them with, and some of us are determined to buckle down and face life on our own.
The loneliness you feel is not something other people can help you with. It is yours to deal with.
I've been a single mom for 18 years and it is lonely, and absolutely terrifying at the same time.
You might feel lonely when you're away from your kids or especially at night when everyone's in bed and you're the only one left. The feeling of loneliness comes and goes and though it feels like it's easier to dwell on this loneliness and feel sorry for yourself, wishing you weren't so lonely, there are ways that you can overcome this.
It is important to recognise your lonely moments and fill them up.
After many years, I've learnt to deal with the bouts of loneliness that I experience every so often and here I'd like to share what you can do whenever you're feeling that way.
01. Call Someone For a Chat
If you have a close friend or family that you are close to, call them. Sometimes, we just crave some adult interaction, and conversation and a single call would fill that void that we have.
I normally call my sisters just to catch up and it often just hits the spot for me. It never is about unloading whatever issues I was having but more about connecting with someone else and talking about stuff other than myself or my child.
Remember that whenever you're feeling lonely you can always reach out to someone you can rely on knowing that they'll always be there to help you or take your mind off things and bring you back to some sense of normalcy.
02. Do Something You Like
Revisit those things that you once liked to do in your spare time that you haven't done in a long time.
Painting, baking, kayaking, hiking, jewellery making, pottery, window shopping or even something as simple as reading that book that you bought a long time ago but haven't touched.
Fill these moments of loneliness with what makes you happy!
03. Take Time for SelfCare
Self-care is not selfish. Taking care of yourself is of utmost importance. You've heard it time and time again, you have to take care of yourself first before you can take care of others. Not only that, your kids will appreciate the fact that you are taking care of yourself.
Self-care can mean a multitude of things. Whatever it is you choose to ensure you are physically, mentally and emotionally happy can be self-care.
Here are some suggestions:-
A long soak in the bath with a book or movie
Listening to music and dancing around the living room
An at-home facial
A movie marathon
Having coffee with friends
Sleeping in, if that's even possible
04. Go where people are
There is something about working on your laptop or reading a book in a cafe, a library or a park that's exhilarating and gives you a boost of motivation. You're amongst people but you have the freedom of doing your own thing without interacting with anybody, which I am a fan of.
Alternatively, should you feel a bit more social, feel free to connect and exchange smiles with the people at the next table and maybe strike up a conversation.
If you want to be left alone to do your own thing, then do exactly that, and once in a while, you can also take a break from whatever you're doing and people-watch for a few minutes.
You could also join a community. Whether it's online or face-to-face, it's a great way to connect with people with similar interests and experiences!
05. Write Down Your Thoughts
I was contemplating on whether or not I should put this one down because the process of writing down your thoughts can be emotionally draining - at first. But through my experience, reading back what I've written down helps me accept my emotions as someone looking in. I am aware of them, I accept them and somehow it allows me to let them go.
Regardless of my own experience and the benefits, I have gained from journaling, numerous studies have shown that journaling is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety whilst regulating your emotions and having perspective on them.
Try and make journaling part of your morning or nightly routine, or whenever that is convenient for you.
Taking those emotions and writing them on paper allows you to accept and release them, and gain perspective and clarity on them.
06. Take a Walk in Nature
There's some magic in taking a walk on your own. It can be early in the morning when the sun is just coming up or just when the sun is going down.
Instead of being stuck in your head with all your thoughts, observe what's around you - the trees, the colours in the sky, the shapes the clouds make, the sound of leaves rustling, the smell and feel of the air as you breathe in, how the hills in the distance are of different shades of green, the sound of birds chirping, or frogs croaking, or crickets doing whatever they do. Take a moment to just be present.
On the occasion when I do get a chance to go for a walk, I love walking as the sun is setting and observing all that is around me. It gives me the clarity and perspective that I sometimes need. It's really quite something.
And I get to get my steps in!
07. Go to bed early
For me, the time I feel the loneliest is at night when my son is asleep and the house is absolutely quiet.
I sometimes entertain myself with Netflix. I find that by watching Netflix, I can transport myself into someone else's life (even if it's fictional) which occupies my mind for that moment but I can get so absorbed that one movie turns into two and by the end of it, it's so late and I end up having trouble sleeping, and not having enough sleep!
Try going to be early. Create a nightly routine where you wind down, stay away from any screens, pick up that book, sit in bed, journal for a bit, relax and actually go to bed!
You might be thankful that you did it once you wake up.
08. Learn Something New
It's never too late to learn something new, even if you have only a couple of minutes a day to do this. There are platforms available online that offer a whole host of skills that you can learn depending on what you're interested in.
Pick up a skill that you've always wanted to. It's never been easier. Whether it's copywriting, photography, painting, web designing, graphic design, or even coding!
Not only that, but you could also learn how to rock climb, swim, bake, fly a plane - basically anything you've ever wanted to learn.
Don't stop learning!
09. Learn to Be Comfortable with your own Company
I don't necessarily feel the need to have another adult around whenever I feel lonely. Sometimes my loneliness stems from being just bored. But learning to be comfortable in my own company has helped in many ways. It has made me understand myself more. Being a mother has changed me. Being a single mother has had me revolving my life around my son.
Learning to be comfortable with my own company by being fine on my own and spending time with myself has been a liberating experience. I'm not afraid to be my own anymore. I actually enjoy it - a lot!
You should try taking yourself on a date, go watch a movie on your own and have a lovely dinner by yourself. You might initially feel uncomfortable or awkward because you might be fearful of being judged, but then again no one really cares.
Try it! You might just enjoy it and end up making it a regular to-do.
Remember that even when feeling lonely, you have your kids, family and that group of close friends that love you so very much.
Take a moment to practice gratitude for the people in your life, the love you feel and for what you have. Being grateful never fails to lift our spirits and fill our hearts.
Know that you can do something about it whenever you're feeling lonely. You don't have to feel stuck or give power to it. Try all or some of what I've suggested above and see how you feel.
What do you do when you're feeling lonely? Share them here!