Being a single mom is a challenging balancing act. It's especially demanding for those of us in the labor force; attending to family and work frequently takes priority over socializing with friends or dating. Yet, finding me-time to connect with other grown-ups is critical to a single mom's overall well-being. A recent study in Women's Health Magazine suggested that having a pitiful social life is as bad or worse than being an alcoholic, smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being obese. In order to get a clear understanding of the social life of a single mother, dating site AYI.com, mom networking site mommeetmom.com and single mom community site kerrizane.com launched a joint consumer survey.
What the Statistics Say
The survey revealed nearly one-third of the over 7,500 single mother responders have not gone out in more than one year. Yet, when asked if social time is important to them, 86% said yes. And a whopping 90% say dating is very important to them. Unfortunately, the reality for these women is that 50% haven't been out on a date in over a year and 43% haven't had a girl's night out in the same period.
The Babysitter Factor
The overwhelming reasons single mothers lack social connection is not simply the lack of time. The high cost of childcare and the minimal pool of available trustworthy babysitting options also play a part in a single mothers nearly non-existent social life. When asked who cares for their children when they go out, 42% of single moms surveyed said they leave their child with a family member and 50% said it is difficult to find someone to watch their children.
The Most Important Thing: Building a Village
Mental health professionals overwhelmingly agree that in order to lower stress, taking time for oneself is critical. In fact, other recent research published on WebMD has shown that women today are less happy than they have been in the past 40 years. These women can remedy the stress inducing pace of single motherhood.
Here are a couple of low cost/no cost options:
1. Join a single mother networking group. Find resources on www.meetup.com
2. Connect with the other single moms at your children's school to form a single mom's club.
3. Create a profile on a social networking site like mommeetmom.com to connect with like-minded local moms
Once a single mom village is in place, shared babysitting pods can be formed. For example, if four moms are in a pod, each mom will take a turn being the designated babysitter every fourth Saturday. This allows the other three moms to have three Saturday nights free to go out on a date or have a girl's night out.
Are you a single mom who created a village? Share your success story!