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Advice: Single Parents Need Single Parent Friends

Yesterday I did something important for JD and me. I hung out with my single mom friend, Mareesa and her 3-year-old son, Cristiano who JD calls, “Crissy-Na-No.” I met Mareesa when I was working in an NYC office on a 2-month freelance gig this past Spring. We shared a cubicle, but our backs were to each other. At the time, I was going on a two-year stretch of working from home, all alone. I was excited to be back in the office, around creative, BREATHING people. We didn’t really speak for the first few hours, but then I whirled around and complimented a picture on her desk. It was of a little boy in a Superman costume.

“Your son is so cute!” I said. “I have a son too.”

Mareesa turned around and smiled and we just started talking. I mentioned that the new gig was great, but it meant my family had to help out with JD because I couldn’t get home to NJ in time to get him from school. “I’m a single mom,” I said.

Next, I learned Mareesa was going through a divorce and was parenting completely solo, just like me. Wow! Up until then, I didn’t really know any other single moms in the flesh. Lots of single moms write me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, but I didn’t really have anyone to hang out with in real-life.

Well, we’ve been friends since that day at the office and it’s great, because we have each other to lean on. I don’t think anyone can fully understand single parenting, unless they’re a single parent. I have married mom friends I love and adore—who like me, primarily raise their child, but at the end of the day, their husbands come home. There is emotional and financial support there, that I just don’t have, so while I can certainly talk about potty-training strategies, fashion, books—you name it, with my married mom friends, sometimes I feel weird talking about other stuff because I don’t want to come off the wrong way. When I talk to Mareesa about how quiet my condo is after 8 P.M. at night, she gets it. Gets the fact that I’m not complaining and knows what it’s like to be alone. I can talk openly with her about my concerns and anxiety when it comes to JD and his father and while she doesn’t have answers—she’s in the same boat, so it’s nice to have a person in my corner. We talk about dating, too.

Our friendship is great for JD and Cristiano too. Yesterday in the car, I turned around at a red light and saw the boys, each with two Matchbox cars in each hand and I smiled.

“I love you,” I said to JD.

“I love my Mommy!” JD said. 

“And Crissy loves his Mommy!” I said. “Crissy lives with his Mommy, like you live with me! They’re a team JUST LIKE US!”

“Oh yeah!” JD cheered.

I’m glad I have the visual of Mareesa and Crissy for JD and I know Mareesa feels the same way. We’re like every, other family. Yesterday we drove out to the country, dined at a cute little café, went to a farm and picked fresh fruit and veggies. There is consistency. There is love. There is family. The most important stuff is there.

Here are some pictures from yesterday—enjoy!

Single parents, do you have any single parent friends? Are you in a single parent support group? Do you think it’s important to have a single parent friend in your life? I'll be your single parent Facebook and Twitter friend. XO