Inspired by a comedy movie about a single parents’ club, Rehana Farmer, of Kuils River, put a post on Facebook testing the waters on whether something similar existed closer to home.
“Watching The Single Moms Club,” Ms Farmer said on the Kuils River community page. “Lovely movie! Does anyone know of anything like that around?”
The response, she said, was “insane”.
“I’m blown away. It’s a little overwhelming.”
Within a few hours, nearly 70 people had commented on the post, and they were all saying the same thing: please start one.
“I’m going through a divorce and need to make new friends,” one woman said. Another said: “I am interested in a single mom’s club for sure. As a single parent, we face a lot of triumphs and different issues alone.”
“A single moms’ club would be amazingly awesome,” a third person said.
So responding to the nearly 70 people who posted comments, Ms Farmer started the group.
Ms Farmer is a 35-year-old single mother of a toddler, Samuel. All her family are living in the UK.
“I am sitting with no social life. I don’t know what it’s like anymore,” she said.
“I have two best friends, but I don’t have the support structure that I need. For me to go out and socialise is impossible.”
In the movie, the single mothers support each other through friendship and shared baby-sitting. This struck a chord with Ms Farmer, but she wasn’t the only one.
After being inundated with requests to start the club, Ms Farmer took the plunge and launched the Solo Mama Tribe Facebook page.
“More and more people are asking to join,” she said.
On the Facebook page, Ms Farmer said: “My vision for the club is to have a safe place for single moms to help each other with issues that affect women within single parenthood and to help each other get back something resembling a social life.”
Ms Farmer told Northern News she had opted not to open the tribe to single dads because, among other things, she had not wanted it to become a “hot spot for picking up single moms”.
“If you disagree, then you are welcome to start a single parents’ dating group, as I’m sure there will be lots of interest.”
The idea behind the group, she said, was to create a friendship and support network, similar to the one set up by the mothers in the movie.
Realising that single fathers also needed support, Ms Farmer asked a friend to start a separate Facebook group, The Single Papa Tribe, for dads.
Ms Farmer hopes the group will grow to not only offer moral support and friendship but also provide a network of professionals who can give sound advice on tough issues such as parental custody and maintenance.She has invited professionals who are able to help to contact her.
For instance, a local business offered the club the use of its premises for social gatherings.
“I have a friend who is a lawyer who has already offered to help,” Ms Farmer said.
“A lot of women don’t know their rights and they sit and suffer in silence.”
Despite this, Ms Farmer has laid down the rules on the page and is being very strict about who gets in.
This is to protect the “vulnerability” of some single mothers, she said.
“I do not want to create a platform for random, bored married men (or women) or single guys or girls out to check out and try to score with single mummies or daddies as a sport. I am very wary of vultures and of the fact that not everyone has good intentions,” she said on the Facebook thread.
“Also, as a single mum, having unfortunately been through some pretty awful stuff, I am very aware of how vulnerable (and sometimes gullible) we can be, despite the strength inside us that has pushed us into survival mode and seen us overcome certain things. I want it to be a safe place to grow together, learn from one another and have each other’s best interests at heart. All while trying to resurrect something resembling a social life again.”