As a single parent, life is busy. We’re playing Dad and Mom on many occasions, and most of our social interaction is with our children. If you work from home as I do, it’s almost all of your social interaction. It’s hard to balance life at times. Well, most of the time.
When our worlds revolve around our children without break, it’s easy for a single parent to get lost in the day-to-day grind of making breakfast and doing laundry. Unfortunately, this can lead to not having a good balance to your life. We all need a break every now and then so we can remember who we are when we aren’t parents. For many, parents are able to get out with friends regularly and have found that balance. For those like me, who don’t have as much help, it gets harder. Don’t give up, I have a few ways to help maintain balance if you’re a single Dad or Mom!
Have a Support System
Have a support system as a parent is essential. The phrase it takes a village is accurate in every way. Raising a child with two parents is rough, raising more is harder, doing it alone is a mix of your favorite horror and romance novel. Whether it be a family member, like a Grandma or Aunt, or friends, it’s beneficial to get your children used to other adults. These other adults are not just helping you, but they are spending time with your children, so it’s good for them to have the chance to build relationships with the kids.
Get into a Routine
I love being organized. I love the thought of being organized. Despite the fact that I fail constantly at this when I am able to get into a routine and be organized enough to maintain it for more than a couple of days, something magical happens. A flow begins to appear, and you find that you can squeeze in ten or fifteen minutes to yourself that you didn’t have before. Plan your days. I’m not talking about a prison schedule, though if that can help with guiding your days, go for it.
Recently, I started a new schedule for the house, where I have a suggested guide on what the kids should be working on. Whether it be doing homework, working on chores, reading, or family game night, it gives the kids an idea of what to expect and helps establish that routine you’re looking for.
Keep it simple stupid. KISS. You hear a lot about it when referencing goals or project management, but it applies at home too. Simplifying life doesn’t mean boring, it means to be reasonable. In the summer of 2016, all four of the kids were playing baseball. Four games a week, practices beforehand, on top of divorce and life being turned upside down. It was to date, the most exhaustive time of my adult life, without exaggeration. It was just too much. Sometimes, you have to break things down into a simple form, to maintain sanity. There is only so much of you to go around, Mom and Dad. Keep it simple.
Make Time for Yourself
This is a no brainer, and even when I wrote this I said to myself Yeah, okay. How can I add hours to the day? Well, there is plenty of time in the day for us to get “me time”. Remember, we’re not trying to look at how we can get eight hours a day to ourselves, that’s not practical. But, can we skip Facebook or Instagram in the morning and read? What about revamped chores for your kids? Can you shift responsibilities a bit to give yourself fifteen minutes or so? If you look, the time is there.
Ask for Help!
This is the hardest one. At least for me. As an introvert (INFJ), not only do I not want to bother people, but I don’t want to engage with people. It’s like that common phrase don’t tell an introvert “let me know if you need help” because they won’t. As single parents, we already feel like we’re doing a crummy job. I know when I start thinking about asking for help, I feel like I’m shifting a burden. My Sister will verify this. It’s hard, asking for help, but we have to. Even if it’s just to go for a driver with the music on to unwind. Or maybe it’s a drive to somewhere with your camera, to relax by shooting photography. It could be as simple as a family member picking them up from school, giving you thirty minutes to yourself that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. Not only do we need this time for us, but we also need it for our children. We need to show our children that it’s important to prioritize taking care of ourselves.
How do you carve out some “me time”?