Are you a single mom who longs to build a support system after your divorce? One of the hardest things after divorce is the loss of emotional support and companionship. When you have so many things to take care of as a single mom, it is easy to neglect self-care. When you build a tribe after divorce, this allows you to take care of yourself. Your kids also need you to have a support system so you do not fall into the trap of living through them.
With divorce, you lose your husband, the person who loves your kids as much as you do and wants to hear about all of the cute things they do. You also lose friends. You may no longer fit in with your single friends without children or with your married friends.
Friends often feel they must choose one of you, and it is uncomfortable if you and your ex are at the same get-together. You need to rebuild your tribe after divorce. It will be a different tribe than when you were married, but there will be some overlap.
Family is Part of Your Tribe After Divorce
After or even during a divorce is a great time to strengthen your bonds with extended family. They will probably enjoy hearing anecdotes about your children. Look beyond your parents and connect with siblings.
If you have drifted away from siblings due to the busyness of life, take time to reconnect. My siblings all live in a different state, but I regularly call one of them when I need company during a walk or we chat when one of us has a long drive. There are also grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles to connect with. You won’t want to share your woes with all of your extended family, but a quick text, an interesting quote, or a phone call just to say hello are all part of rebuilding your tribe.
Social Media and Your Tribe After Divorce
Social media can be a great place for building your tribe. However, you must be intentional about how you use it. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have lives of their own. There are certainly things NOT TO DO, like airing your dirty laundry and engaging in drama with your ex. Remember that your children will grow up, so you do not want to post anything that will be too embarrassing when they get older. Also, stop believing other people’s real lives are the same as their Facebook lives.
That said, there are uses for Facebook. For instance, you can share cute photos with your friends and family. When you do not have another adult in the house, it’s nice to get some feedback from Facebook friends, even if it’s just to start a conversation. Ask about a good book to read, a podcast to listen to, or if the latest movie is worth going to.
Social media is a good place to connect with people who have similar interests. For instance, if you have kids with special needs, you can probably find a private group with other parents whose kids have similar issues. Groups offer connections with other people who really understand. Sometimes, being able to talk to a person going through the same thing, even if they live across the country, is easier than talking to your local friend who does not face the same challenges.
Join my private Facebook group, Single Mom Tribe here. I just started it and would love to have you be one of the first members.
Business Networking Can Enhance Your Tribe
After divorce, you usually move from being a two-income family to a being a one-income family. There are several options for business networking, including Facebook groups for your business niche. (If you are looking to expand the social media presence of your business, Facebook groups are an excellent resource.)
Networking in person has many benefits too, far beyond merely building your referral network. The greatest benefit of the first business networking group I joined after my divorce was an unexpected one.
I had just bought a house and was able to develop a network of people to call on when something went wrong. For instance, as a single mom with a new business, I could not afford to sit home for half a day waiting for a repair person.
In my networking group, I developed relationships with a plumber, an HVAC specialist, and an appliance repair person. When I needed an electrician, I got three referrals to the same company. These are all men I trust to be in my house while I am working. They fix stuff, are trustworthy and honest. I also met a mechanic who fixed my old vehicle. Even better, he told me when it was time to let go of that vehicle and gave me input on choosing my next vehicle. None of these men helped my business, but they all made my life much easier.
Business networking groups offer a wonderful opportunity to be around creative people with great ideas. We tend to take on the characteristics of the five people we spend the most time with. If you want to be more positive and creative, spend time with positive and creative people. I find it helpful to bounce ideas off of people in different fields because their ability to see things from a different perspective keeps me from getting tunnel vision.
Make Friends While Building Your Business
Business networking groups are good places to make new friends. Many networking groups encourage members to get together one-on-one between meetings to get to know each other’s businesses better. Be sure to take advantage of these opportunities to deepen your connections with other members. If you meet with people outside of the regular meetings, it is more likely that you will identify ways to collaborate and develop friendships.
Attend the group’s social events. Some or most members attend these without their partners, so you will be more comfortable going alone. In fact, it is usually easier to meet people when you go to an event alone. If you are uncomfortable going to social events by yourself, make a deal with yourself that you only need to stay for 30 or 45 minutes. See what happens.
Be a Joiner to Build Your Tribe After Divorce
It is easiest to make connections with people we see on a regular basis. It is easiest to show up and be social when someone else is counting on us.
It is also easier to show up than to call around and find someone else to do something with. To arrange going out, you have to deal with conflicting schedules. Instead, join something, put it on your schedule, and show up. Some ideas are: book study, Bible study, a hiking club, bowling league, volleyball league, pool league, dart league, a fishing club, or a softball team.
Date to Build Your Tribe After Divorce
Dating is another great way to meet new people. First take time to heal (a guideline is one to two years after your divorce is legally final). You do not want to repeat the same difficulties that you had in the marriage you just left. Figure out your part and what you want to be different. Then you are ready to give dating a try.
In dating, be clear what you are looking for and understand what the other person has to offer. It is easy to assume the other person thinks and feels the same way you do. They do not. There is more information on dating in Sensible Guide to Dating for Single Moms and Dating as a Single Parent.
We all need other people in our lives. As a single parent, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to do everything yourself, but that is impossible and unhealthy. Family bonds are ready to be renewed and new friends await. With a post-divorce tribe, you will share your joys and setbacks, have great conversations, and get help with things you can’t do by yourself. As part of a strong tribe, you will be able to provide support as well.
What has helped you rebuild your tribe?