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Getting the Support You Need as a Single Mum

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 25 Oct 2023 | comments*Discuss
Getting The Support You Need As A Single Mum

There are times in our lives when we all need a little help. Nobody is completely self-sufficient, and when we have children we find ourselves relying on people more than ever before. For single mums in particular, getting the support you need from family, friends, your children's school and your workplace is vital.

Understanding from Work

If you are a new single mum, it often makes sense to explain your predicament to your boss. In the past there were two of you if a child or childminder became ill, now everything most likely will fall on your plate.

You may have to change your hours to accommodate your children's schedule, and you may have to give up trips out of town, at least in the near future. You may even have to move into new accommodation, which could make it difficult for you to get to work on time.

Family-friendly workplaces are the ideal, but unfortunately they're not all that common. If your employer starts giving you a hard time when you need some understanding, contact your local Citizen's Advice office for legal advice. You may be entitled to more care than you're getting.

Assistance from School

While you don't want to involve your child's school into your personal life, sometimes they need to know a little bit about what's going on. If you're finding it hard to make ends meet, for example, they may tell you how to get free uniforms or school lunches. They also might be a bit more understanding if you cannot donate to the cost of school trips.

Schools can help in other ways as well. That may mean providing you with practical support such as getting your children into the Breakfast Club or After-School Club on short notice, or enrolling them in a holiday playscheme run by the school. You never know until you ask.

Relying on Family

Don't be afraid to ask your family for help. Sometimes that can be difficult, especially if you may be facing an “I told you so” attitude from certain relatives. But swallow your pride and get the help you need. It might come a lot more easily than you think.

Families can be great when it comes to babysitting, looking after children for the weekend, or doing either end of the school run. Hopefully, they can also be relied on to do favours on short notice, if they live close enough, without making you feeling too guilty. Take advantage of it if you're lucky enough to have relatives on hand. A family support network is worth its weight in gold.

Help from Friends

When you become single, it's inevitable that some friends seem to fall by the wayside. Luckily, there are others who will stick with you through thick and thin. Value them and don't be embarrassed to ask for help or support. The old cliché is true: that's what friends are for.

Remember, it's always a good idea to offer to do a bit of free babysitting or childminding for friends who have helped you out in the past. Then you won't feel bad when you ask them for a favour in future!

The Kindness of Strangers

Sometimes you need someone who is in the same situation to really understand what you are going through. There are several lone parents networks out there which offer help for single mums coping alone, as well as organisations that provide practical, emotional and legal advice. Ask for support when you need it.

A Survival Guide that Works

Many single mums find it difficult to cope on their own, and who wouldn't? It can be hard enough to have children when there are two parents around to look after their every needs. But while many single mums want to do it all, in reality that's not possible.

Getting the support you need from the right people is crucial to keeping everything running smoothly – both for your sake, and the sake of your children. Surviving is possible if you make use of all the resources you have, and that means making use of the help that is out there. It's there for a reason. Use it.

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[Add a Comment]
I'm a 20 year old single mum to be I'm due on 3rd November 2023 I'm having a little boy I've applied for universal credit and maternity grant not heard anything back yet I'm not getting a great deal of income from work both of my parents are off sick I'm trying to support them with what little wages I have I'm still living with both of my parents I don't know what I can do anymore I've barley got enough money for me and my child and trying to support my parents the best I can is even harder if there's anything that I can claim it would be much appreciated if there's anyone that can help or give advice it would be much appreciated many thanks
G - 25-Oct-23 @ 6:48 PM
Could you please update these links to new/lone parent (instead of Mum) My son is a lone parent for the foreseeable future of a gorgeous 2.5 year old. He is working pastime, struggling with childcare, there are issues with Mum. As you can see, it is not always mums
Wendy - 13-Oct-23 @ 9:35 AM
Hi there I would like advise. I am in the process of just seperating from my husband. He is a EU citizen. I am from another country and we immigrated to the uk in 1 June 2020. We got married in SA 2015. We do not have any kids together but he was the sole provider for me and my 14 year old son. He is working and I have been job hunting actively Since August. I made an application for universal credit and child benefit in 26 Oct 2020. And we are still living together but I want to seperate soon. What is my rights and am I still entitled to claim? For housing which we renting and for my child? Is there anything else I can claim for. Reason im still with him is because i an scared and have no money or work and would be able to survive and take care of my son. But its becoming too much. Please assist with advise and feedback urgently.
Abby - 7-Nov-20 @ 5:05 PM
I'm a single mother of an 8 month old, I need to return to work asap but not sure what hours are best as a single mother and what position I would be in. Also wondering what help I can get for childcare, my daughter doesn't seem ready for me to leave her yet and I'm scared about it.
Nire - 3-Feb-20 @ 12:34 AM
Hi my husband was convicted last November of cohesive and controlling behaviour he has a court order to stay away . When he left I i was three weeks pregnant now have a beautiful five week old girl also two beautiful boys 4 and 6 . My mum very supportive I don’t have any friends as he lost them all for me I just feel so lonely at Rome’s and wonder how to connect with other single mums in my area have tried gingerbread no one around here.
Betsy - 14-Jun-19 @ 8:22 AM
Jay - Your Question:
I am so scared just a few days ago became single parent two children 4 and 8. I don't really have any friends or family. His family helped with childcare while I worked. But now they won't so I had leave my job yesterday as have no one. I have no money and really unsure what I can do. Rent needs paid three weeks. Just feel so lost.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. You will need to take action pretty quickly, please see link here and here . If your partner is working, you can also claim child maintenance from him to help financially support your children here . The Turn2Us link here may also help if you need emergency help. The Gingerbread helpline may also be of use here. I hope this helps.
AWorkingMum - 9-Feb-18 @ 11:24 AM
I am so scared just a few days ago became single parent two children 4 and 8. I don't really have any friends or family. His family helped with childcare while I worked. But now they won't so I had leave my job yesterday as have no one. I have no money and really unsure what I can do. Rent needs paid three weeks. Just feel so lost.
Jay - 8-Feb-18 @ 5:33 PM
I was reading the comment from "h" I can completely sympathise with you . It's been a year for you now your separation I hope your Ina better place. I am a single mum , daughters 9 now her father left when she was just 2 half. The first few months was hard but I manage to get all help and assistance from local organisations egchild psychiatrist,go, midwife, some close friends. I received conselling and I feel so much happier and better the best thing I I've become so much stronger and in better place and my daughter is always getting good feedbacks from school so all in all happy. S
S - 19-Feb-16 @ 6:19 PM
@h - I am sorry to hear this. As specified in the article, many single mums find it difficult to cope on their own, and who wouldn't? It can be hard enough to have children when there are two parents around to look after their every needs. So, you are not alone. Such a separation can be a real blow to both self-esteem and confidence, therefore it is important that you try to build those connections and lifelines back up with people. You may want to give Gingerbread a call via the link here. There are plenty of things you can do to get involved, especially by speaking to like minded people who are suffering from similar issues. If you think you are feeling chronically depressed (sometimes it is hard to assess yourself as it can creep up on you) you may wish to talk to your GP. The best option you have is to reach out to others. You will find there are a lot more people in your situation than you think. I hope this helps and good luck.
AWorkingMum - 9-Jul-15 @ 11:19 AM
Im a single mum for the last 8 months.my daughter is 9 and doesn't want to see her dad,he hurt us so badly was cheating and lying to both of us for months.Im struggling feeling depressed and blaming myself and everyone has deserted me .I can go days without hearing from family .I cut all friends off when I was with my partner as my life revolved around him and our daughter .I just feel so scared and alone all the time
h - 6-Jul-15 @ 11:54 AM
Looking to go back to work I can only do 16 hrs I have 3 children age 18 11 an Want to know how much child tax credits and family tax credits amintitled to
deb - 1-Mar-15 @ 1:57 PM
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