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jimmyjazz

Austin activities for single parents

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So, I fully expect the usual surly responses to this post, but I'm hoping for some real help, too.  My stepdaughter (28) has a 5 YO son.  They live with my wife and I, along with two of our other three kids, both of whom are teenagers, and both of whom are my biological children.  My stepdaughter is single.  The dad is completely out of the picture, which is good, because he's a trash gang member who lives in LA.  

She is an introvert, and much of her time is consumed with her work, which doesn't pay very well, and which surrounds her with some pretty snarky women, most near her age, but not people she wants to hang out with.  Think "beauty industry".  Even though she only provides us a very modest monthly stipend to help cover utilities and her car insurance, by the end of the month she's pretty strapped, what with her other expenses (preschool, etc.).  She could do better with money, and her career path isn't pointing her towards future riches, either.

She has chronic health issues that so far have eluded diagnosis.  I wouldn't be surprised if she has some sort of autoimmune disorder.

To make a long story short, she's depressed, exhausted, and lonely.  Her situation makes it difficult to find the time and money to get out and meet people, and given her shyness, it's not likely anyway, even though it's what she wants.

I'm hoping people can suggest activities she might undertake on weekends and some evenings, perhaps with her son, that don't cost much money but allow her to socialize in low-pressure environments.  Things at Zilker Park, or community get togethers, or charitable activities, or ???  I don't know.  It doesn't have to be for the express purpose of finding a boyfriend -- she needs friends, too, and so does her son.  They spend a lot of time together, isolated from others, which is terribly unhealthy for him.  A trip to HEB or Starbucks highlights his week.  A movie outing is a thrill.

Any suggestions?  I'm all ears.

 

Edited by jimmyjazz

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Church. Try not to find one that's not the hellfire brimstone type. It's free, there's a bunch of people there (mostly for social reasons), most of them will be decent people. 

Unless she's not into that sort of thing. 

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She's not Christian -- her father is a non-practicing Muslim from Bangladesh, my wife and I are slowly fading Protestants -- but yeah, she did attend an evening service with a young lady my wife introduced her to from the preschool my wife works at (and where our grandson attends).  We are going to push her to stay in contact with that gal.

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I briefly scanned the First Unitarian Universalist web page. I didn't see any mention of any particular religious denomination. I don't think they will push any religion on her and it seems to have a full social schedule as well as some "classes" that may help her. Don't be spooked by the word "church". 

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Were you trying to hit every Surly-approved buzzword to get her some attention? 

  • Single
  • Depressed
  • Lonely 

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2 hours ago, Not that Bob said:

I briefly scanned the First Unitarian Universalist web page. I didn't see any mention of any particular religious denomination. I don't think they will push any religion on her and it seems to have a full social schedule as well as some "classes" that may help her. Don't be spooked by the word "church". 

This.

There are many UU churches in major cities.    Check the link below for more info on the organization.   I am not a member of UU but have heard of the organization.   UU churches are popular with her age group. 

 

https://www.uua.org/ 

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Google some single mom support groups in Austin, there seems to be some options for kid playdates and other activities. The kid is 5? Look for seem rec league t-ball or soccer or any other kind of sport. Maybe music lessons too. Although it sucks how inaccessible sports & fine arts are becoming for a lot of kids and families, $$$ wise.
 

No idea how often kids just play outside with their neighbors anymore. I think back, it was daily unstructured physical & social activity for me, all for free. Can’t beat it.

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18 minutes ago, Helobious said:

The kid is 5? Look for seem rec league t-ball or soccer or any other kind of sport. Maybe music lessons too. Although it sucks how inaccessible sports & fine arts are becoming for a lot of kids and families, $$$ wise.

Yep, he's done Soccer Shots and some kind of kiddie parkour thing.  She's thinking t-ball.  It's not as inexpensive as one might think.

She quit her own voice lessons because of cost.  I help out when I can, but one of the other two kids at home is about to go to college, and the other plays select travel soccer.  It's not fair to dial back those costs which have been in place since before the grandson was born, especially with his mom working full time and living virtually rent free.  I want her to work her way through the priorities correctly.

I'll look into the Unitarian churches to see about kid-centric activities.

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4 hours ago, Not that Bob said:

First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin.

Image result for simpsons unitarians

 

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Find some live music - nothing like music to lift the soul.  Doesn't have to be fancy or costly.  Central Market used to have a playground outside and musicians would play nearby on the patio on the weekends.

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if she was a chunky latina I would have just the guy for you....but then again he might not know the difference between different browner skinned people if you can teach her a little bit of Spanish and how to make tacos

other than that you are a good step dad for helping put and caring

also on a more serious note I would try and push her to go to ACC and get a CNA or something similar that can bump up her pay (even if only slightly) and get her out of the hair salon that will always be a younger, bitchy, catty, girls game

I would imagine getting some additional education under her belt would give her confidence and I would bet she would meet some people there even if for a short time here and there.....and as a CNA she would be in a better (if only slightly) working environment both to meet people and to be around slightly less crazy people

and remember this is probably not going to happen over night you are playing the long game and anything positive is a benefit....be it better employment for her or her meeting people at school or both.....one class here and there at night (or even two) can add up over several years....again long game

keep her away from the student loans and try and use any and all available FREE financial aid and see where it goes from there

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There’s a singles social sports league. Not competitive. It’s like kickball and stuff. Just a bunch of 25-35 singles having fun. I can find out the actual name if you want. Several of my coworkers participate and say it’s a great way to meet people.

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7 minutes ago, CooterBrown said:

There’s a singles social sports league. Not competitive. It’s like kickball and stuff. Just a bunch of 25-35 singles having fun. I can find out the actual name if you want. Several of my coworkers participate and say it’s a great way to meet people.

That sounds exactly like the kind of thing that might work out.  Please let me know if you find the name.

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Too bad she isn't overcoming a drinking problem, if she did I could introduce her to all sorts of interesting people.

I chortled at "slowly fading Protestants" cause ain't that the truth.

The key is finding some social group, whether it's a church, singles group, play dates group with the kiddos. . .There might even be a "neighborhood mom's group" on facebook that might warrant investigation.

 

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Edited by BearSchlong

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I didn’t try it when I lived in Austin, but I moved around the country quite a bit which sucks for introverts like your daughter and myself.  I can’t remember how but I discovered an app called MeetUp.  It has been a godsend for me; most of my friends where I live came from the various activities I’ve done through the app.  There isn’t an interest or activity that isn’t represented on the app, so I’d give it a look. 
 

edit: your mom beat me to it...

Edited by SDG

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20 replies and no suggestion she get on the pole? Shame on you, Surly Texas. Shame.

How about volunteering at her kid's school? I'm sure they're always looking for help.

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17 hours ago, Parliament said:

How about volunteering at her kid's school? I'm sure they're always looking for help.

Dead end.  My wife has worked there for 20 years, and probably half the staff has, too.  My stepdaughter already knows all of them, regardless.  The one gal she attended a church service with is the only option at that place.  Otherwise, it's basically an opportunity to meet a shit ton of married Tarrytown soccer moms and their lawyer husbands, who admittedly are probably looking for side action, but that's not exactly what we're counseling her to seek out.

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This is not going to be easy.

I can remember when I was in a sort of similar situation about 20 years ago and I had a lot more going for me than she does.

I was independent with my own place.  No health issues.  My kid was in soccer and band and lived with his mom and was able to get around. I had a running group that I trained with  and was able to get my son to train with us on the days when he was with me and we were actually doing some training( this was actually pretty good, but it occurred more organically)

I had other friends that I could hang out with and my folks were in town and were very supportive.

I did the church thing and got involved with retreats and helping others etc.

I even had some dates from set ups and on line dating in its early years....but....

 

The one thing I remember was the feeling of loneliness and isolation especially when trying a new group or club or whatever.  The desperation was palpable and I never felt like I belonged and I felt worse if I dragged my kid along.  None of that stuff worked very well. Even father/son time doing regular stuff seemed a little forced and desperate.

I just ended up doing stuff I liked to do that would put me in contact with people in an indirect way and eventually built up some avenues .  Time,  a few good girlfriends, and a gradually improving life situation did the rest...but it took several years. 

In the short term I would suggest some kind of attention to exercise, sunshine when you can get it and a diet that will help with inflammation etc.

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This is not going to be easy.

I can remember when I was in a sort of similar situation about 20 years ago and I had a lot more going for me than she does.

 

You don’t have a vagina.

Advantage: jimmyjazz’s stepdaughter

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