Overcoming isolation and loneliness as a single primary parent

When a relationship ends, it can be devastating and a time of uncertainty. This is further challenging if your family don’t understand what you are going through and either don’t (or are unable to) support you emotionally or financially. Sometimes, this is a period of time where they feel rejected by friends, feel like they don’t fit in with their married friends or some friends are too scared to talk with a separated person. Overcoming the emotional turmoil, isolation and loneliness while juggling finances, parenting, work and domestic duties can feel almost impossible. “Being single and a primary parent means that much of your time isn’t yours and unless you can afford help, getting time to yourself can be difficult, ” explains Rachael Scharrer, divorce expert, coach and founder of DivorceAnswered.com.au

At this time, everyone does their best to keep afloat and some people seem to do better than others. For me, I became obsessed with having a tidy home and vacuumed three times each day which was ridiculous! I felt like I had to look like I was coping while inside all I wanted to do was break-down and cry. As a single primary parent with a tiny income or financial support, I didn’t have this luxury.


Maintaining a social life on a limited budget and with children becomes difficult. Instead:

  1. Have phone dates with your friends once the kids are in bed. This will not only give you something to look forward to but also offer you some company (on the other end of a phone) in the evening
  2. Arrange a ‘divide and conquer’ dinner with other friends and their kids. This is a meal where each family brings a contribution towards dinner for everyone attending
  3. Take the children to the park. Parents are always happy to talk to other parents, just like children enjoy making new friends
  4. Find some online support groups. Support groups are great for just support. Be mindful of taking legal advice from these groups. Online support groups are a great place to find some other single parents in your area
  5. Get involved with the school, local community or local charity. Meeting people is only possible if you get out of your comfort zone and get into the community. School and community organisations are a great place to start
  6. Swap and share children. Take turns with another friend to take their children one afternoon and on another date, they can take your kids. This earns you some child-free time. Or if you are swapping children (the friend takes the older children and you take the younger children), often they amuse and entertain each other so you can be busy doing other things
  7. Exercise in the small spaces of the day. If working, join a lunch-time running/walking or cycling group or attend a quick yoga class

Over time it does get easier. The emotional strain has its ebbs and flows. You will settle into a routine and the daily grind will become more manageable. Fortunately, children are resilient and even though they may resist change, they will adjust. As long as you continue to keep a positive attitude and model positive


This is general advice only and is not provided as legal advice. If you have a legal issue, you should contact a lawyer and/or accountant before making a decision about what to do or applying to the Court. DivorceAnswered.com.au cannot provide legal advice. If you have an emergency situation, please contact Emergency '000'. © Divorce Pty Ltd