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Single Mother Holding Her DaughterBecoming a single parent can be incredibly overwhelming. It can be even harder if the other parent was lost suddenly and unexpectedly. Things are further complicated if there are children involved. Having a child lose a mother or father can lead to many feelings that children aren't able to fully understand or express. Perhaps you know someone who has recently lost his or her spouse. You may be wondering how you can help that person and any children. Your friend or family member may be feeling overwhelmed and burdened with all of the new emotions and responsibilities. There are a few things you may be able to do to help.

Be Specific

If you have ever experienced a loss, then you may have had multiple people come up to you to express their condolences. They may have said to let them know if there's anything they can do. If you're like most people, you didn't take them up on their offers. When most people hear this offer, they don't know how to approach the person who offered help. Being more specific with what you can do can make it more likely that the person is going to accept your help.

Help With the Kids

See how you can help with the kids. Perhaps you can take them out for an ice cream cone so your friend can have a little while to catch up on housework, run some errands, or take a nice bubble bath. Maybe you can watch them once a week while he or she is at work. See how you can help take the kids off his or her hands for a while. This is not only good for the kids, but it will also help give your friend a break from the noise of everyday life.

Take the Person Out

Don't forget to take your friend out, too. It can be something as simple as going out to coffee or to see a movie.

  • Ask the person what it is he or she would like to do.
  • Be open to talk, but don't pressure if the person doesn't feel like it.
  • Offer to pay; funds might be tighter now that he or she is a single parent.

This can give the person a much-needed break from life, which can make your friend feel refreshed and encouraged. See if you can make this a weekly or bi-monthly tradition so he or she always has that to look forward to.

Cook and Clean

Things like housework and laundry can be overwhelming when it's all up to one person. If you are a parent, you know how quickly things get dirty and how fast laundry can pile up when children are involved. Offer to come over and straighten up the house, or take some of the laundry back to your house to wash.

Another thing you can do is offer to bring some meals. Better yet, set up a meal train. This will give people the opportunity to sign up for one night to bring a meal. Maybe they can commit to just one night, or perhaps they will be able to bring a meal once a week. Knowing that dinner is taken care of every night can relieve a big burden off of your friend.

Do the Grocery Shopping

Offer to run to the grocery store for the newly single parent. You can either grab a few items that you know he or she could use and leave them on the doorstep, or you could give the person a call and let him or her know you are running to the grocery store and ask if there's anything you can get.

While your friend may need some help on an emotional level, sometimes practical help can be even more important, especially if children are involved. Taking care of things like cleaning, laundry, and meals can help give him or her time to adjust to a new life. Just remember the person may need space sometimes too, so respect their space and don't take things personally if he or she doesn't accept your offer every time. The sentiment will be apprepciated regardless.

Category: Loss

grief communication self care

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