My confidence-boosting trick when I’m the only single mom at family events


Being the only single mom family at an event can be really, really hard.

The reality of which is especially relevant this time of year, when social and school holiday events mean dressing up the kids (and self), covering a Pyrex dish in foil and heading out into the cold, trying very hard not to drink too much, especially if you are the only single-mom family in the mix and you need to numb the very real judgement you feel from everyone else there with their spouses.

I felt that awkwardness acutely in the first year after my divorce. I was unsure how to relate with coupled-up families. I was sure I was the social pariah, the oddity at best, loser and scored outcast at worse, and it was stressful and shame-making. They think I’m such a loser, I’d think. I have nothing in common with these people, I’d tell myself.

I hated these events, even skipped a few.

Now? Could. Not. Care. Less. Literally, I never even think about it.

Here is what I remember when entering a room full of in-tact families:

  • “Most of their marriages are meh at best, and likely pretty crappy.”
  • “He’s thinking filthy thoughts about me.”
  • “She’s jealous. She wishes she has the balls to leave.”
  • “People think about me way, way less than I worry they do.”
  • “I have great sex more or less whenever I want. They probably don’t.”

And … truth bomb:

  • “Sooner or later half of you will be in exactly my position. Call me when you get there!”

I suggest you text yourself these missives, and read them when at the cookie hour after the holiday show, or while standing in the corner at the neighborhood New Years potluck.

Then read them again.

Accept them as truth.

You may have to fake it till you make it, but by next December you will have relaxed into acceptance. And you will know that your family life is just as awesome and challenging as every family at the festivities.

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