One of the toughest adjustments that many newly-single parents face is learning how to attend activities and do things on their own. If the parent is used to having another to attend sporting events and concert, or even activities like church, neighborhood parties or family gatherings-learning how to feel confident and comfortable doing these things as a solo parent can take some time and effort. There are ways, however, that can help the single parent to not only tolerate and get used to doing things on his or her own, but to also get comfortable and have a good time.
The first step is to get over feeling self-conscious, guilty or insecure. It may seem like everyone in the world is coupled when you are in the midst of grief and self-pity but it is not remotely true. Start to notice other single parents and make friends with those who are or have been in your shoes and you will feel less isolated or unique. There is absolutely no reason to feel guilty and remind yourself that most people are so wrapped up in their own business, they are not paying very close attention to yours.
One of the key survival tips to getting used to doing things alone as a parent is to focus on the children and on how you can be supportive for them. The children may also feel a bit self-conscious about not appearing as a “family” or they might just be happy to have one parent in supportive attendance. It is amazing how much strength we can get from just being focused, concerned and involved parents. Of course, there are going to be other things-social engagement and business dinners and non-parenting activities that will require us to go without a partner and these can be events that are especially challenging. Consider inviting another single or unattached friend to go with you or you may be able to learn how to get yourself psyched up to go on your own. Promise yourself a reward for going to the dinner alone or taking yourself to the movies. It does get easier with time and you may even find that you enjoy having to only worry about yourself and your own appearance, behavior, etc. when you are out and about. You may discover that you actually LOVE going to the movies by yourself or that you mix and mingle more with others without having a partner to contend with. Again, no guilt! Have patience and be encouraging for yourself and don’t beat yourself up if you have a hard time getting motivated-it can take time. Focus on building relationships with other single parents and you’ll always have someone to go along with. Additionally, you won’t feel so obviously alone or self-conscious. Instead of pressuring yourself to “find a date,” focus on building a social network to help boost confidence and your comfort level.