Up too early, kids, racing around with a thousands needs and never enough money or energy to get it all done, add to that your hectic and demanding work schedule and possibly a husband or significant partner expectations and by the time you finally collapse from exhaustion, you’re too keyed up to sleep! Married mom’s single moms, we all have far too many things to juggle in our short days so take a moment and see where you might find a few tips to help with the crazies…
1. Prioritize. Before you try to come up with solutions, it is essential that you spend some time reflecting on all that you are doing. In the midst of not even having enough time to sit down for a cup of coffee, making time to reflect can be challenging in and of itself. In order to figure out which things you really must do now, which things can wait and which things you can let go of altogether, you need to look carefully at all of the things you are currently doing and determine which are the most important. It would be useful to have all of these discussions with your partner.
2. Explore options. Take a look at everything you are doing, the number of hours you are working, the other responsibilities you have taken on, the demands of the house and of course, the responsibility for your child. Include in this conversation a look at your family’s budget. Are there ways to cut back for a year or two? Do you have any other resources available?
It is also important to look at various work options. Could you or your partner change your work schedule or the number of hours you work? Would it be possible to do some part of your work from home? (Some people love this solution and others find it brings its own challenges.) Think through many different possible scenarios and try to figure out if any are doable.
3. Share the load. The male and couple participation with the home and family has increased significantly in the last 20 years. However, statistically, the number of hours employed women spend on parenting and housework still greatly exceed the number of hours that men spend doing the same tasks. This doesn’t necessarily mean that men are unwilling or uninterested. Many women feel ambivalent about sharing the caring. They may feel as if their expertise is being threatened by sharing more equally with their partners. Many women find themselves being critical of the efforts of the other parent in relation to household tasks and parenting. Many partners feel hesitant to pitch-in for fear of being “inadequate.” It is important to look carefully at the division of labor in your family. Is it working optimally for both of you or could it be shifted? How could it be shared more equitably? Are there adjustments both parents need to make in order for it to happen?
4. Combine tasks. Some of your many tasks can be combined. Taking a walk with baby (and partner?) after work will give you some time together and also a chance to stretch and exercise. You can provide a safe place on the floor in the kitchen for your child to play, observe and talk with you while you are fixing dinner. Taking a bath together is one way some families enjoy time together. Sometimes the activities will take longer, doing them together, but will be well worth the effort.
5. Enjoy quality time. Remember also, that it is important for you to have some family time where you are focusing simply on baby, self or partner. Babies have their own special pace and communication system. Slowing down, getting on “baby time” and on baby’s level will allow you to reconnect in significant ways and to join your baby in seeing the world from his perspective. You may lie on the living room floor together or sit on the couch with baby lying beside you. Holding and cuddling are also lovely, but it is different to have time to be close to your baby just observing what he does with his body on his own. There is so much to see and learn and your baby will enjoy your quiet attention and responsiveness to him.
6. Simplify. Your child will only be a baby once. Your house will be a mess for a long time. Spend time with your baby. Clear a path through your house so you can get on the floor and hang-out and enjoy your baby. Very simple, nutritious meals can be thrown together quickly. Sandwiches, smoothies, quesadillas, there are many options for 15 minutes or under dinner prep. Remember also that your baby doesn’t need things so much as she needs you. Buying lots of stuff is not only costly, it clutters up your home. Keep toys, clothes, furniture, food as simple as possible. Your child is not going to remember that $35 toy 20 years from now. She is going to remember that she had time where you really listened to her, enjoyed time with her and shared yourself with her.
7. Remember, it’s a balancing act. Most parents never find a moment in which they feel perfectly caught up on all the things they expect themselves to do. If you consider this a normal state you can learn to relax about it. Balance isn’t something you necessarily find as a parent, it is something you are always moving towards. One week you will get lots of good things done at work and the house will be a wreck. The next week, you will leave work early to spend some extra time picking your child up at childcare and hanging out at home. The following week, you might arrange a time for yourself to exercise, but you have to leave your desk a mess and the dishes undone. Balance doesn’t happen in any one instant, but it can happen in the long run.
As a side note; In 2009 President Obama initiated a program entitled Moms Return To School which provides scholarship funds for single mothers who wish to attend college and continue their efforts to create financial stability for themselves as well as their children. This program also provides tax credits for single mothers to attend college either via an online course of study or at an accredited university. In fact, because of the lack of time most single mothers experience as they juggle schooling and motherhood, online studies are becoming increasingly more suitable for their lifestyle and are available through a variety of colleges.
Often times single mom’s were not able to finish their education and having that completed degree or specialized training can be the difference from struggling to thriving. Queen Grace wants to know all our curvy girl community supporters have the time, the peace of mind and the worthwhile income to foster healthy, happy homes – check out the Obama scholarship and others on this website;
Some content for this QG post courtesy of iVillage.com