Community Support Unorganized!

I’m back to being annoyed. There is so much support in Vancouver for every affliction/condition/situation you can name – except single parenting.

Oh, sure, there’s the Y. Only they make it clear on their web page that they’re for single mommies who aren’t financially independent, to get them off relying on crummy spousal support, low-wage jobs, or income assistance. So very much not me.  And a friend who is trying to get in with them says that she’s even talked with the director, and still is being pretty much ignored. So basically there’s no support for professional, career-oriented or successful single moms.

Every single mom I talk to complains of the lack of support groups, feeling isolated and judged in the new-mom groups too.

I’m back to the idea of setting up a group myself, if I get this job and wind up staying here. No point if I’m not staying here, of course. But it shouldn’t be too hard. Community centers have rooms available and might give us a break on rental. They advertise programs in their brochures if you get your ‘ad’ in on time. Word of mouth and posted signs can be spread through Family Places, Community Center drop-in tot gyms, Community Health Centers and Community Health Nurses, Social workers at the hospitals to ‘catch’ new moms, pediatricians offices.

I’m thinking single moms, not parents. I know, not fair. But what happens if both sides want to join? Great, extra drama is exactly what these things need. Frankly, child custody isn’t fair. The moms tend to get it, or at least primary residence. We’re the ones who don’t get a social life for the most part, and the ones who have the day-to-day responsibilities of job plus daycare dropoff/pickup plus meal prep plus laundry plus cleanup plus … all things kid related. And yes, I know, some dads do that too. Yes, I know, the dads have it rough too, they have to deal with not seeing their little loves as often as they want to, living in isolation from their family, all that. But that’s a different support group all together.

How often to meet? Honestly, I can’t see a weekly meeting. I can’t handle that, not when I’m working especially. If I can work it so that there’s a play area for kids so I don’t need to hire a sitter, then I could see every other week. Otherwise, monthly. Which I think might be ideal to start with.

It isn’t just about face-to-face meeting. It’s also that dreaded word: networking. Knowing that other single moms are out there. Helping when you can, being helped when you need it. Maybe a sitting cooperative could spring out of this, or at least referrals for sitters. So a lot of the ‘group’ could be an online thing.

Basically the gist of what I’ve heard is that there’s a need for this but no money. Well, there are the small projects grants at the neighbourhood level, plus I’m sure others. But even if not, if everyone who comes pitches in a couple of bucks we’d have enough. If not, we’d be a small enough group we could meet in a coffee place. Still, it’s annoying that nobody else will take the time to do this. Darnit. Something that’ll take a lot of energy, would look great on a resume, but I wouldn’t be able to use it because the specifics aren’t socially acceptable to put on a resume. Again, someone might judge me and not hire me because I’m a –gasp- single mommy.


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