Photo by Pixabay
Being a single parent is a nonstop job and likely one you have in addition to your 40-hour-a-week career. So much goes into managing a household on your own that you may find yourself feeling drained at the end of the day. From carpools to field trips, conference calls to baskets of laundry, single parents know firsthand that work never ends. How do you stay on top of all your responsibilities—while maintaining your composure and your sanity—when you’re solo parenting?
Start by establishing (and keeping) a healthy routine
Yes, the life of a single parent is hectic and often unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t establish a routine for your child. Even a simple bedtime routine can add much-needed familiarity to your child’s day. Research has shown that teens in a single-parent household have higher rates of depression, so creating a positive, healthy morning routine can set a happy, optimistic tone for the entire day.
Creating and maintaining routines for your child may require some sacrifices, but as a single parent, chances are sacrifice is your daily life. Move things around so you can sit and have a meal with your kids or take the dog for regular walks and talk about the day.
Keep cool by staying organized
Every parent gets frustrated, but single parents have to shoulder the burden on their own. The best way to stress-free solo parenting is to stay organized. Implementing strategies to keep your home organized may sound like a chore at first, but once you establish a rhythm, you’ll find that organization helps keep everyone’s day on track. Here are a few tips for getting organized:
● Create an efficient entryway to your home. Hang coats and hats and find out-of-the-way storage for shoes and backpacks. This way everything you and your kids need when you walk out the front door is organized, clean, and right at your fingertips.
● Keep a go-bag by the door. Put all the tasks, chores, and to-dos that you need to accomplish in the same bag by the door. Library books that need to be returned? Check. Grocery list? In there. You pup’s shot records for doggie day care? Slide it in. Snacks for the kids when they get fussy in the car? Done. Every time you add a to-do to your list, be sure to put anything that goes along with it in your go-bag.
● Stay focused on cleaning. When you’re running around the house trying to sweep, pick up clothes, load the dishes, and talk to your mother on the phone, chances are nothing is actually going to get done. Set a timer for 30-60 minutes
and stay focused on one task at a time. Don’t move on until you’ve finished what you have started, and be sure to put everything in its proper place right away, not nearby or almost there.
Manage a busy parenting schedule
There’s no way you can keep your parenting schedule all in your head and not miss something important. There’s never going to be enough time in the day, but if you devote a Sunday evening to planning out your week, setting reminders on your phone and entering in events in your calendar, you can wake up Monday morning more prepared that you dreamed. You can manage your family’s busy lives by:
● Hanging a calendar, a dry-erase board, and a chore chart in a room that everyone uses, like a kitchen or den.
● Eating dinner together and discussing the day’s events, as well as what’s on the horizon for tomorrow.
● Sharing your calendar on your phone with people in your support system, like friends, relatives, babysitters, and anyone else who helps you wrangle your children.
● Color-coding your calendar so you know what’s happening at a glance. For example, doctor appointments are blue, soccer games are red, work meetings are teal, and free time—what little of it you can get—can be yellow.
Being a single parent is one of the most challenging, and the most rewarding, experiences you can have. There will be ups and downs, and there will be things you simply cannot control, but if you try to focus on organization, you’ll find a life with lower stress and tension.