This morning, I had to cancel a weekly practice that I have with the baseball boys. I just DID NOT HAVE IT IN ME! Yesterday I spent the day in court and honestly I did not realize how much that ordeal took out of me until this morning. I mean, I am clean, dressed and at work but other than that….I am not sure what I will be able to accomplish. As a single mom, married mom or woman, we will ALL feel like this. It is not a “one time” feeling either. We will feel this during each season we are in, with our children and even after our children are grown. If you feel ill-equipped to handle these times, here is a list to help you cope. You can BALANCE SINGLE MOTHERHOOD AND LIFE LIKE A BOSS!
- Realize that you’re exhausted – many times we want to be WONDER WOMAN and keep going. Recognize that you are human and NOT a superhero. But even superhero’s need a break. We think we are doing everyone around us some good and doing what we need to get by. That is not true, we are doing more harm than good if we are exhausted and not functioning well. Take a breather and walk away. Exhaustion can be cured by rest and NOTHING ELSE!
- Rest – get some much-needed rest. Take your children to bed with you if you have to. Call a neighbor, friend or family and tell them you NEED THREE HOURS OF SLEEP, please watch my children! I doubt anyone would say no. There is nothing wrong with turning on a movie, setting your alarm and getting some much-needed time off while the kids hang out in front of the TV.
- Eat well – It took me 48 years to realize that the foods I love, do not always love me back. I can no longer fill up on my favorites cheese enchiladas, chips, guacamole, queso and sweet tea and have a good day. It is not happening! Perhaps it is my age but I have to add GOOD fuel to my body in order for it to run well.
- Exercise – IT IS hard to get in 5 days of exercise a week. I walk a ton at work, I exercise once a week with the boys on my son’s baseball team and I we ride bikes as often as the weather allows. I also do stretches in the morning to get myself going. Then the Leg lifts and squats at my desk…whatever it takes. I have a friend that does this all day in addition to her runs at Memorial Park. I applaud all who manage exercise well. Just DO SOMETHING!
- Meditate/Pray – YES! I pray often, either out loud or to myself. I have taught my son to pray as well and many times we pray together. Prayer is not just for Sunday. Whatever your religion~pray often. Meditation is often a form of prayer for many. Being able to focus on your inner thoughts allows you to achieve peace. I say, do what works for you.
- Have an outlet or hobby – THIS IS MY OUTLET! I write. I bang the keyboard and get it all out. This takes the place of screaming for me and has been an incredible release. Took me years to find my outlet. Do not beat yourself up if you do not have an outlet right now. You will find one.
- Supportive Friends and/or family – I call to vent to trusted friends and family. Over the years I have learned not to let it all hang out and do a few things from the list above and below before calling and unloading. No one wants to hear EVERYTHING at once and ALL THE TIME. Be mindful that they can only listen to so much of your struggle.
- Pets – I love pets. Dogs and cats seem to fill a great place in our hearts and lives. There is nothing like coming home after a very hard day to something that loves you unconditionally and that has waited with bated breath for you to get home. I highly recommend a pet. We will be getting a dog for Christmas. Shhhh, do not tell my son.
- Manage your schedule – Your life is hectic, my life is hectic. Make sure you are not adding more chaos to your life by filling your schedule with things you cannot possible accomplish. What a way to set yourself up for failure. I do not work out everyday because I have other things. I can only volunteer for certain things because I have to work and cannot physically be at school or church during peak volunteer hours. I will make time to provide meals for dear friends and family when needed but please note that I cook the same meal for them as I would for my family on that night. Repeat after me….”I refuse to kill myself, trying to get it all done.”
- Learn to say NO – Learning to say NO has saved my sanity, allowed me to begin dating and has stopped many people from dumping on me. I also have to remind myself that saying YES to something else means that I am saying NO to my family in someway. Use that however you want to.
- Realize your limits – WOW and YES! We all have a limit. The sooner you get to it, the sooner you will realize what it is. Please note I had said limit and not breaking point. Your breaking point is almost the point of no return.
- Delegate – your children ARE NOT HELPLESS! Give them jobs. My son loads a dishwasher, vacuums, takes out trash and cleans the car. I also delegate adult duties. I am team mom and I enlist the help of all the mom’s on the team to bring snack, make sure kids are at practice and that the coaches are well thanked. Trust me when I tell you, delegating is so free-ing!
- Protect your time with your children – NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO DEMAND ALL YOUR TIME, except a child. Protect your family time, dinner time, alone time in the car, Sunday’s, and vacations. Put the phone on vibrate, let people know you are with your children and not to disturb you. I bet they will gain a bit more respect for you and the time and attention you give your children. They are only young ONCE~give them the best gift possible-YOU!
- Vacation/Staycation – GO SOMEWHERE! Put yourself on a budget and save up to get out-of-town or at least out of the house to do something you and the children have wanted to do. I make it a point to travel home to the East Coast at least once a year. It is my get-a-way, my chance to reconnect with family, a change of scenery, my time to recharge, and most importantly for my son to bond with ALL HIS FAMILY! Do I spend a ton of money? NO WAY. Takes about $500 in gas, snacks and hotel (on the road) for the round-trip. YOU CAN DO IT!
- Pay for Services – I cannot cook every night so I buy roasted chicken from the store and other prepared meats, I buy bags of salad and have tons of pizza, Chick Fil-A, Whataburger and Wendy’s coupons. I also pay for a house keeper once a month because we are always on the go and cleaning house has never been my strong suit. i would rather spend time with my kid. There are other services that can be paid for that can add a bit of comfort and sanity to your life. Grocery pick up, carpool services, tutoring so you are not fighting over homework, gardeners and landscapers if you do not have a green thumb and so on. The list is endless. budget each month for you needs and some of your wants.
There are many ways to keep your sanity and handle single parenthood. But there is no magic pill to make it a walk in the park. We are not meant to parent alone, however, circumstances and life choices have made this almost the norm. So now that we are here, how can we cope? My goal is to give you tips and tools to make life a little better and you able to handle it ALL, like a BOSS!