I was sitting with a friend of mine this weekend, while the kids were playing at her house. We were talking about how busy life could be when trying to work full-time and raise two children on your own. She also happens to be a single mother and so we completely understood exactly where the other was coming from. It all came down to there always being “just one more thing” to do. We needed to learn how to say no.
It could be one more thing for work, or with the kids, or even with family and friends. We both talked about how people tell us what we should do and if we do “just one more thing” (it’ll only take a minute, right?), life would be so much better. And in some ways, they’re right. That one ore thing might make life easier and only take a minute. But when you have to add that “one more thing” to the list of 1,000 other “one more things” moms take care of everyday, it gets a little overwhelming.
This is why as moms, we have to learn how to say no. Our time is our most limited resource and our most precious commodity. Once we spend it, we can never get it back. If we spend all our time doing just one more thing, there won’t be any time left to do the things that are really important.
Staying organized is super important. We’re coordinating work schedules, school activities, after school activities, and play dates. This doesn’t include anything associated with keeping a clean house or groceries in the fridge. Sigh.
Set up a system that will allow you to easily keep track of everything that needs to be done. I try to keep my cleaning routine on a regular schedule so that my home doesn’t turn into chaos.
I have a weekly to do list attached to the refrigerator with all the things going on for the week, complete with pen attached so that I can write down things immediately when I think of them. This also helps to jog the kids’ memory to remind me of things going on at school as they are heading to the fridge. I also keep my grocery list there. It helps as I know immediately when I’ve run out of something. By the time grocery day comes around, I can just grab my list and go. It has also helped me to save money by not purchasing things that we definitely don’t need.
FIND A SUPPORT TEAM
No one can do this parenting thing completely alone. When I was first divorced, I thought I was super mom and could be everything for my kids. I didn’t want to bother anyone by asking for help and thought if I did reach out that somehow that I was failing as a mother. That only ended up making me feel even more tired and overwhelmed (and not much fun to be around).
I started making friends with other parents at my kids’ school. We’d set up play dates for the kids and it gave me a chance to have adult conversation, since I work from home. I became especially close with another single mom. It’s so nice to have another person who gets exactly where I’m coming from. Our kids get along great too! BONUS!
When I got divorced, I didn’t realize how difficult not having my family around would be. Neither my ex-husband nor I have family in our current city and it could be really lonely at times.
We’re moving in a couple of weeks to be closer to family and I couldn’t be more excited! I owe so much to my family.
Whether it be family, friends, a church group, or some other outlet, I strongly suggest you find our team. Hey, if you need someone just to listen, please reach out to me.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP
You have a support team for a reason, so lean on them. Those who love you will look forward to helping you out. It took me a long time (and some days it is still really hard) to get used to asking for help, but it has made life so much better. If you don’t do it for you, definitely do it for the kiddos!
Asking for help doesn’t have to be limited to friends and family. If your budget allows, get some help with your household chores. The time you will save in not having to clean and the avoided stress of a messy house could be well worth the expense.
The time you save in not having to do those tasks could be spent with your family, building your business, or simply taking a break. I know! Sounds good doesn’t it? 🙂
ESTABLISH A ROUTINE
Having kids, you understand how important having a routine can be. By creating weekly habits for yourself, you can make it easier to get things done. For example, we go grocery shopping every Monday afternoon. I know each week that by Monday night, I will know exactly what we’re having fro dinner each night, what the kid are having for lunch at school, and that I’m not going to run out of something by Wednesday (knock on wood) requiring a family trip to the grocery store at the last minute. It’s one less thing I’m stressed about each week and even something that the kids look forward to.
Just that one simple routine has saved me time and money in other areas of our lives as well (less eating out, healthier diets, more time together at night, etc.).
That’s just one of our routines. Imagine how much time and stress you could save by creating a system for all parts of your life!
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF
As moms, we tend to be really hard on ourselves. So many other people are counting on us to keep everything together. We convince ourselves that we’re just fine and everything is okay. We put on that happy face to convince people that you’ve got it together.
You are a rock star mom, but you are also human. Sometimes being a single mom is lonely. Once the kids go to bed, it’s just me. While I treasure my alone time, and most days I love life as is, some days it would be nice to have a conversation that didn’t include Power Rangers and Shopkins. Allow yourself to have those feelings whatever they are. You’re still a great mom.
I’m nowhere near to having it all figured out. There are still some days that I’m too exhausted to head to the grocery store and look up to find myself in the line of the nearest drive-thru. I’m a work in progress.
Sometimes I just need a little time to myself to recharge my batteries.
JUST SAY NO
Sometimes that “just one more thing” is more than we can handle. I’ve had to learn how to say no. Sometimes you can’t do it all and that’s okay. The people that truly care about you will understand.
What are some things you do that make your life easier? Share your life hacks with me. I’d love to know what makes your life easier!