Vicki Yarrow lives in County Durham and works as a Teaching Assistant at a Primary School. Originally from Scotland, Vicki balances being a hard working teaching assistant alongside being a single parent to three sons aged 27, 20 and 18. Her youngest son has autism and additional needs.
She has been a single parent for 13 years. With all of her sons now grown up, Vicki believes single parents are certainly open to feelings of loneliness, especially now her sons have flown the nest.
She said: “If you have a close family or friends then I think you will be okay. However I moved to a new area following my divorce and I have neither, so in my case yes I have felt lonely.”
Vicki’s experiences show that parents can be lonely due to a number factors – including moving to a new area and not knowing anyone to confide in.
The charity for single parents, Gingerbread, provide support to single parents who have been through a divorce or separation and advise them on the next steps they can take.
Personally to her, Vicki has certainly felt lonely being a single parent.
She said: “After the kids had gone to bed there was no one to talk to. No one to share your triumphs or disasters of the day with.”
For many parents, night time can be the loneliest as for single parents especially, they only have themselves as company if they are estranged from family. Something which can certainly affect mental health and the well being of an individual.
For someone like Vicki, she expresses the importance of combating her loneliness in a variety of different ways which could also help others in a similar situation to her.
She said: “Try and get a support network around you and make time for adult activities. For example going out with friends for a drink or going out for a meal.”
Parenting is no doubt the biggest responsibility in the world, but it is also for parents to spend time on themselves regardless of what that activity is.
Loneliness can affect parents of all different backgrounds and circumstances.
For a parent like Vicki who struggles with loneliness, charities such as Gingerbread are active in helping people combating their isolation and help them get the support they need.
If you know someone who suffers from loneliness and needs help, visit the Gingerbread website linked below.