Having friends and family in your life

Some of my friends just stopped contacting me when I had my daughter because none of them had children. Suddenly the things we wanted to do at weekends became really different. I hated the thought of going to mums groups or anything like that because I get really anxious about meeting new people. When I finally built up the courage to go to a group, I soon realised that I wasn’t alone and there were lots of other people in the same boat as me. It’s good being able to have a laugh about things and share our experiences. Now I make a point of always being there for my friends, and they’re always at the end of the phone if I’m having a hard day and need a moan. It’s difficult to meet up with friends when you don’t have anyone to help out with looking after your kids but you just have to make the most of it. Even if it’s just cooking dinner together while the kids play, or going for a walk or a drive, or having a big chat while our kids are sleeping.

When you’re in sole charge of children, plus looking after the house, and maybe going out to work, life can be a juggle and a struggle. Having family and friends around you means that there are other adults who can help you out, prop you up and keep you going. Of course, having good friends and family is a two-way thing: you have to be one too.

Having close relationships

When you’re bringing up children on your own, it can change your relationships with family and friends, for better or worse. Breaking up with, or the death of, your partner can change relationships with others too.

  • Everyone’s situation is different but you may feel cut off from others, for a time anyway.
  • If your life has changed, your friends and family will be adjusting to how things are for you now. Try to see things from their point of view as well as your own.
  • Try to explain to them how you are and what you need from them (if anything) as they may not be sure what to do.
  • You might not be able to do the same things you used to do. Explain to your friends why you can’t do these things anymore. They may not understand how life is for you.
  • Keep in touch with your friends and family and try to keep some space for them in your life even if you are short of time and energy, as this will keep you connected and they could be a great help.

Useful links

For everyone

Making friends

If you feel lonely a lot of the time, it helps to take charge and to try to change this, whether online, by going to groups or joining in with what’s going on around you. You can find out more in our pages on ‘loneliness’ and ‘connections’.

  • If it’s not easy or affordable for you to get out to meet your friends and family, can you meet online or speak by phone? Connecting with them is important as it keep the relationships going. Put regular phone and Zoom dates in your diary just like you would if you were meeting in person.
  • Even if your friends and family live far away, you can still put the dates in the diary, so you know that you’ll speak to them every so often.
  • There are loads of activities and classes you can do with others online. You might not make close friends like this, but you’ll open up the possibilities.
  • And if you just want to talk, there are lots of places online to speak to like-minded people who are dealing with similar issues and feelings. With the internet, we’re never alone.
  • Just keep in mind about not confusing popularity on social media with real friendship. You might have lots of followers and get lots of ‘likes’ but don’t go looking for those. It will stress you out, and you’ll feel rejected if you don’t get the numbers.
  • It’s the same with physical friends. It’s not so much about having lots of friends. It’s about having good friends who you care about and can trust and vice versa. There’s no magic number: one good friend might be enough for you.

Useful links

Try our tips on for connecting with others. This has lots of ideas and links to help you find social groups, activities, hobbies and just getting out there more – as well as advice that might help if you’re not feeling that confident.

Accepting support

You don’t have to do it all alone. It’s fine to ask for help from friends and family. You might find that other single parents are a good source of support too, and that you can help each other out.

  • Accept offers of help from trusted relatives and friends who could give you some time to yourself, babysit, help with shopping.
  • Do swaps with other single parents, like taking it in turns to look after each other’s children, doing the shopping or whatever helps.
  • If there’s no-one nearby, ask around to see if there are any groups you could join or any support from the community. A health visitor might have this information or check on Facebook or posters in shops.
  • If you’re in Dundee, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Glasgow or Lanarkshire, you could attend one of our local groups or one-to-one support. Our local teams can tell you about what’s going on.

Useful links

  • This NHS site has information about bringing up a child on your own.
  • Some of the parents we work with find mumsnet useful for getting support and advice from other women.
  • Dads Rock in Edinburgh runs activities for fathers – and some for mothers too. They could be a good way for meeting other parents who are dealing with similar things.
  • You can also find other groups around Scotland aimed at fathers through Fathers Network Scotland.
  • If you’re a carer for your child or someone else in your family, you might find it hard to get time for yourself and to spend time with friends and family. Carers Trust has some info on tackling loneliness and managing relationships with a partner, family or friends. This includes links to local carers centres, which can help you meet people in a similar boat.