Five Support Networks for Single Parent Entrepreneurs resources for single parents who need emotional support

Finding Emotional Support as a Single Parent Business Owner

Being a business owner can be hard at times. Not going to lie about that. But adding the element of trying to raise children without a life partner can feel daunting.

As a life coach for business owners, I know that it is essential for everyone, especially parents, to be able to find the support they need as they juggle the dual role of leader, entrepreneur, and parent. That is why in this article, we are going to talk about the importance of emotional support for you, the business owners, as well as for the children, and resources that will help you feel connected and understood.

First, let’s bust the myth that you can be a single parent business owner doing it all by yourself without emotional support.

We need community, support, and the ability to rest if we want to function and thrive not just as business owners, but as humans.

Solo Fight: Balancing Single Parenthood and Business Ownership

I love this gif of UFC fighter Lauren Murphy right before she got ready to fight. Don’t we all feel that way somehow? That if we hype ourselves up, we can tackle anything or anyone that appears challenging to us.

Here are some of the ways we feel confident:

  • Difficult customer satisfied (checked).
  • Naughty child warned about being rude (double-checked).
  • Nervous team members cheered up before a big launch (triple-checked).

And while we are all high fiving and smiling at the good deeds of the day, it can get exhausting if we feel as if the world would fall apart if we don’t swoop in and save the day.

To make it worse, we encourage everyone to be working at the best. This can be especially hard for as we consider single parents seemingly have all the energy to work 60+ hours per week while raising one or more children. But that is a myth.

We need community, support, and the ability to rest if we want to function and thrive not just as business owners, but as humans.

Battle of the hunter-gather biology against modern society 

There’s a huge mismatch between our evolutionary history and the demands of our modern society. Biologically, emotionally, and spiritually, we were not designed to navigate the intricate web of parenting all by ourselves.

Modern humanity has been around for about ~300,000 years, and about 99.5% of our time was spent in hunter-gatherer environments where there was a 4:1 ratio of adults to kids. This means that for every 1 child, there were at least parents, relatives, or other caretakers to help shoulder the burden of raising a child.

From a genetic standpoint, our ancestors thrived in tight-knit communities where the burden of raising children was shared across a network of caregivers. It wasn’t just the parents; aunts, uncles, grandparents, and other community members all played a role in the upbringing of a child. This communal approach was not just a convenience; it was a survival strategy, ensuring that the younger generation received the collective wisdom, care, and protection of the entire group.

If you don't have someone at home with you all the time, asking for help isn't showing that you're weak. It's understanding that taking care of kids is something everyone should help with. Getting support is like taking care of your feelings, so you don't feel overwhelmed by all the things you have to do.

Celebrating the struggle single parent

Fast forward to the present day, where societal structures have dramatically shifted. We celebrate and idolize single parents, particularly mothers, who bravely take on the herculean task of solo parenting. However, the reality is that the lack of a robust support system can take an immense toll, not just physically but also mentally and emotionally.

In our modern world, we have inadvertently stripped away the communal safety net that once surrounded families. The result is a generation of caregivers who bear the weight of parenting on their shoulders alone. 

We marvel at their resilience, but often fail to recognize the toll it takes on their health. Heart issues, cancers, dementia – these are not just random afflictions but potential consequences of the chronic stress and emotional strain experienced by caregivers.

End of the myth of the superhero parent

It’s important to realize that being a single parent isn’t about being a superhero, but it’s a situation where people need help and understanding. 

Instead of just praising moms or dads as superheroes, we need to start talking about creating a community to support parents. No one should have to deal with the difficulties of raising kids alone. It’s not just for their own happiness but also for their children’s mental health.

If you don’t have someone at home with you all the time, asking for help isn’t showing that you’re weak. It’s understanding that taking care of kids is something everyone should help with. 

Getting support is like important so you don’t feel overwhelmed by all the things you have to do. Plus, it’s like helping your kids have a good start in life by giving them a strong and happy foundation to grow on.

So far I’ve been talking about you, the business owner, but what about the children? What happens to children who are parented by overwhelmed and exhausted business owners? In the next section, we will talk about how a child can be affected by this type of parent.

Without someone to show a child a different way of dealing with things, they might end up acting just like his or her parents when they grow up. And if nobody breaks the cycle, it could continue on to the next generation, affecting their own children in the future.

What happens to the children of stressed-out parents?

So, what happens to kids who grow up with single parents who are really stressed out? Well, it turns out, a lot can go on in their minds. Even though we may think kids are strong, they actually have feelings that can easily get hurt. In other words, just because they act like everything is fine to make you feel better, it doesn’t mean everything is really okay.

In my experience, most kids who don’t get enough emotional support can grow up to be suspicious and negative adults. Let’s look at why this happens.

How a child becomes a suspicious and negative adult

Many of these kids of stressed out parent or parents, without even realizing it, end up learning not to trust easily. Why? Because their parent, who was doing the best they could but lacked the emotional support they needed, started to feel like people couldn’t be relied upon and the world was a bit scary.

Let’s talk about through a common way this shows up. In the next section, we will talk about Tommy (not real name) and his family, and how Tommy became suspicious and paranoid.

Tommy and his workaholic parents 

Let’s say there’s a kid named Tommy. Tommy’s dad works long hours at his lawn care company, and Tommy’s mom is always busy taking care of whatever emergency pops up in her new Bed and Breakfast. And because they are divorced, they’re both overwhelmed and rarely have time to spend with Tommy.

As Tommy grows up, he notices that his parents seem tense and worried all the time. They often talk about how hard it is to trust others because they’ve been let down in the past. Tommy starts to feel like the world is a scary place where people can’t be relied upon.

Nobody to trust…again

To protect themselves from feeling disappointed again, Tommy’s parents become guarded and distant. They don’t show much affection or trust towards others, including Tommy.

Growing up in this environment, Tommy learns to be suspicious, paranoid, and overly critical of others. He thinks it’s normal to question people’s motives and always expect the worst.

Trained to mistrust

Living with constant stress at home, Tommy’s brain adapts by developing automatic responses to cope with the pressure. But these responses, like being suspicious and negative, aren’t very helpful in the long run.

Without someone to show him a different way of dealing with things, Tommy might end up acting just like his parents when he grows up. And if nobody breaks the cycle, it could continue on to the next generation, affecting Tommy’s own children in the future.

You deserve support as a single parent

I hope I painted the picture that there is no good that can come from an overwhelmed, exhausted, and suspicious parent trying to raise their children without support. That being said, I want to support you. In the next section, we will talk about resources single parent business owners can reach for emotional help. 

And if you are reading the list and think, ‘I’ve tried that before,’ my response is, ‘Keep trying until you find the person or group that works for you.’ One setback is not worth not obtaining what you and your child need to be emotionally healthy.

As you start to reach out and make connections with others, it's important to know that feeling scared and resistant is completely normal. It's just part of being human! Change can be tough for all of us.

Five Support Networks for Single Parent Entrepreneurs

Single parents are heroes, and they truly are amazing, but even heroes need a team. Imagine if superheroes had to save the day all by themselves every single time – that would be tough!

Here are five places to help you find the support that you deserve and need.

1) Friends and/or Family:

You don’t have to do everything differently right away. Start by talking to someone you trust, like a friend or family member. Share your feelings little by little. Sometimes, they already sense that you’re having a hard time but didn’t know if you wanted their help. Since they know you well, they might give you new ideas about how to deal with tough situations.

2) Professional Emotional Help:

Think about getting help from a professional. It’s interesting how we’re fast to visit a doctor when we’re physically sick but hesitate when we’re feeling emotionally down. Therapists or coaches, like me, know how to guide people through tough emotions. We can offer a safe and private place for you to talk about how you feel.

3) Divorce Groups:

Join local or online parenting groups where you can connect with other single parents. Hearing about their experiences and strategies might help change your perspective and offer practical advice. DivorceCare is a non-profit group for those navigating the challenges of being single.

4) Community Centers or Local Events

Try to find places in your neighborhood where parents gather, like community centers or events. Doing things together can help you make friends without feeling forced. Check out meetup.com which often features free or low cost events for single parents.

5) Online Support Groups:

Check out online forums or support groups where you can talk about your feelings without sharing your name. Sometimes, it’s easier to open up online. Here’s a list of some good online support groups:

Change is scary and normal!

As you start to reach out and make connections with others, it’s important to know that feeling scared and resistant is completely normal. It’s just part of being human! Change can be tough for all of us.

But remember, for your own well-being and for the sake of your children, don’t let fear hold you back. Many parents have been where you are now, and they want to help you on your own journey of parenthood. The image below summarizes my tips. Next, I’ll share my final thoughts. 

Five Support Networks for Single Parent Entrepreneurs resources for single parents who need emotional support

Final Thoughts 

Nobody wants to admit they need help. We fear disappointment, criticism, or rejection. These feelings are understandable if you’ve relied on people who were insensitive or uncaring. But things can change now. You can choose who supports you and your children. This is your opportunity to seek the help you need.

And if you’re looking at these suggestions and thinking, “Denise! I can’t do that because I struggle with trust,” I understand that too. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Dive deeper into building your trust and confidence by listening to this episode from my podcast.