Listen, divorce sucks. On top of a very stressful down right awful life change, now you have a completely different friends list than prior to signing those divorce papers. Some of those friends will no longer be your friend and that is ok. Some of those friends are married couples with or without kids or single without kids. You may feel like you are short on friends that share your struggles. I know I sure did.
HERE’S MY EXTENSIVE GUIDE TO MAKING FRINEDS AFTER DIVORCE WHEN YOU HAVE KIDS.
What kind of friend are you looking for?
I want friends that inspire me, make me a better person, and in their own way make me feel I am enough the way I am.
Maybe she is your oldest friend who has heard every story and been through every obstacle with you and has never once judged you (Hi Melanie).
Perhaps she understands some of your life becasue she is living right along with you (long story) but she is your voice of reason when you need it (Erin, I am looking at you).
Maybe it is a group of women who are inspiring because they too are single mothers who have the same struggles as you (I’m looking at you, Amy, Kathy, Rachael and Stephanie).
Maybe she has the same “type” of family as you do and just understands you, loves your children like you do and is completely selfless with everything she does (Kristen, this is you!)
Maybe she’s a relative that supports you 100% and loves you unconditionally (Hugs and kisses Aunt Mary).
So think about the type of people you want in your life. This is the moment you will get to choose who you want to be part of your life. Don’t think everyone will be your friend or should be your friend. Maybe you need a friend with whom will gladly trade parenting horror stories with you or a girlfriend who will stay up late bar hoping. As long as they make you happy, they are who you need!
Christian Moms, I have a Few Groups for You.
Join divorce care or single and parenting groups. Both of these groups make you feel comfortable and accepted. You will discover that there are others who have the same kind of feelings you do, and they understand the hurt and pain you are going through.
Most people will tell you that parenting is difficult, which is true but parenting while divorced is even harder. Joining a group where you are walked through problems and solutions is a bonus. In a group, separated from the single fathers, other single moms can discuss their feelings, concerns and solutions.
Most people will agree and say that separation and divorce are very painful experiences. You may feel isolated and think no one understands. Divorce care is a great way to help face these challenges and start rebuilding your life.
I have a family of friends now due to the single and parenting that I took at my local church.
This should be easy to figure out. Get those kids out and involved in sports. You can go to the local YMCA or rec center and see what is offered. Also, there are gymnastics centers, baseball leagues and karate dojos that may spark interest in your children.
Once these kids are signed up, go to the practices and do not sit alone. Sit next to other parents. Do not close yourself off. When its game time or meet time sit next to those same parents and start talking.
My daughter does volleyball and my son does basketball at the local YMCA and I have met many good people, some of which have turned out to be friends I will have for a lifetime.
Your local library or book store probably has story time. This is great because you sit on the carpet with the littlest children or plop your slightly older ones on the carpet and you sit in the back while a book is read to them. After, you get to wander the shelves for some books to take home and read together.
Let you child sit and “read” a bit on their own while you talk to the other moms.
Your Child's school
What better location to find other parents your child’s age than at school? Time to get that volunteer application complete and background check done. Start volunteering for everything.
If your child is in grade school, reach out to the teacher and see what volunteer opportunities are available. You might be able to chaperone field trips or even parties at school.
If your kiddo is in middle school or high school, they will have multiple teachers and this gives you plenty of volunteer experiences. Band, choir and theater have many opportunities due to the many performances those students will have. National junior honor society, robotics and math all have events as well that need parent volunteers. I have met many parents volunteering and have actually made plans with a few to get together outside of school events!
Just get involved!
MOPS-Mothers of Preschoolers
This is an international organization started in 1973 by a group of moms who got together and shared their parenting journey together. What a wonderful way to live life, helping each other through motherhood.
Usually the group is formed in your city or town giving you a chance to meet other moms in your own community.
Your child doesn’t have to be a preschooler though so don’t let that discourage you, the groups now include moms of older children as well.
Situation Specific Groups
Homeschoolers groups, Moms of Twins groups, special needs groups and adoption groups are all great groups. Since each of these groups are situation specific, the challenges you face each day will mirror some of the challenges other parents of these groups have.
How wonderful a feeling have someone who understands your challenges completely!
Weed Out the Bad Ones
Of course over time, people and circumstances will change leaving you to evaluate the friendships and if they are still of value to you. If you are working very hard at the friendship or you feel drained or even insecure then maybe that friendship isn’t right for you.
Only focus on the healthy relationships and nurture those, water those flowers and get rid of the weeds.