I can only speak from my own experience even as much as I wanted to title this “How to be a Happy Single Mom.” So, although this is for Single Parents it may not resonate with both single mothers or single fathers. Everyone’s parenting journey is different. My journey might even resonate with Stay-at-home Parents. The amount of work parents put toward having a happy home is immeasurable.
Being happy while juggling kids, household chores and work is difficult. It becomes to difficult to enjoy your kids because your exhausted. It becomes exhausting because you’re constantly playing catch-up in life. Most of all, it becomes exhausting because it feels like you don’t have a moment to yourself.
How can single parents enjoy their kids?
I’m constantly exhausted and breaking up arguments between my children. They fight over food, toys, the TV and everything under the sun. I’ve learned to block it out for the most part because they need to learn to fight their own battles. I only step in if it’s absolutely necessary. For example, if they’re hitting one another. But they’re slowly learning to just keep their hands to themselves.
Besides breaking up their fights, I do take time every day to play with them and enjoy them. I made a point in How to Increase Your Productivity and Storytime on a Budget, to include time with your kids in your daily schedule. Even sometime as simple as 30 minutes of undivided attention or bedtime reading. I also do a monthly Family Movie Night when I go all out for them. Build this into your routine and you won’t be sorry.
Some other tips
- Cook with your kids – both of my kids love cooking or baking with me. I let them crack the eggs for breakfast or mix the batter for cakes or pancakes. Simple stuff goes a long way and they feel good about themselves.
- Clean with your kids. Who doesn’t love cleaning, right? I actually learned this from my mom. When I was younger I was the typical lazy kid. So, like a genius my mom is, she made it into a fun competition. Or as my kids would say “A Challenge.” It’s called the Clean Up Challenge! Whoever wins gets a treat like a cookie, a candy or some ice cream!
- Watch TV with your kids. It’s the best! But don’t be on your phone. Actually engage in whatever their watching. Ask questions, pretend to be impressed or shocked. Laugh at the corny jokes.
- Host a weekly game night. My kids are aged 6 and 3 so there are not many games that they can both play. I just picked up Shoots and Ladders and they both enjoyed it.
- Eavesdrop on their conversations. This is specifically for younger kids, I don’t think teens would appreciate this or amongst their friends. Anyhow, I listen to the my kids conversations with each other. Let me tell you some interesting ideas come out of their mouth.
How to Afford to be a Single Parent
Single parents have to deal with a whole other issue. For example, the cost of life. In single parent homes we only have one person to pay the bills and work to pay the bills. In fact, this is my biggest stressor of all. I know it’s not easy, but it’s okay to get help from the government when you need it. Don’t be ashamed. I know that there are people that will judge but at the end of the day, you need to feed your children.
- Shop at Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshalls – The Children’s Place (ONLINE) is often cheaper than Walmart with Better Quality Products
- Cat and Jack at Target has a great Return Policy. You have one year to return the clothes for free. I know kids grow fast and often right after you JUST bought them clothes. So, if you keep your receipt you can return if your kids outgrow the clothes. Just try to be very organized about it!
- Ibotta, Fetch Rewards, and Checkout 51. Scan your receipts for money back! It won’t be a lot but help is help. At the end of the year it could help with Christmas gifts. It’s super easy and all you have to do is scan your receipts.
- Have fun at home. Memories cost nothing. You don’t need to take your kids to the movies and spend $50 for some popcorn. There is no need for amusement parks or traveling. I made a lot of great memories at home just cuddling with my mom and watching Golden Girls in bed.
- Hold and Shop Garage Sales. Clean out toys and clothes that you don’t need and sell online, in garage sales, or thrift stores. Shop in them too. You would be surprised about what you find.
How can Single Parents Combat Exhaustion?
Routine! A routine helps so much its amazing! Everyday is never going to be the same especially when you’re a parent that’s why I created my routine check list. As long as I finish my goals regardless of the order then I will feel better for doing something.
Also, I know it can be difficult to remember to feed yourself when you’re worried about feeding your children on top of a million other tasks you need to do. This is my most recent discovery and I would be lost without it.
An Iced Coffee Protein Shake! It taste just like a Frappuccino. It brings together our coffee and protein for a healthy and energizing breakfast for when I’m rushing out of the door.
While I’m drinking my shake I can focus on feeding my kids a delicious and nutritious breakfast.
Some More Tips…
- Take a nap. I know this is difficult. Kids constantly asking for help, food or attention. Personally, I’m the queen of blocking my kids out when absolutely necessary. There’s only one me and two of them. I think its a defense mechanism.
- Routine. I said this earlier, but routine is crucial and children thrive on it. Set clothes out. Have them help you with cleaning and bathing themselves.
- Meal Prep. The ONLY meal I cook daily is breakfast. Even then I stockpile and make them in batches so that I’m not cooking daily. My kids love these recipes: Jo Cooks Easy Chicken Enchiladas and Baked Ziti by All Recipes. They’re casseroles and there are only 3 of us so it saves me from cooking dinner for a few days. Frozen foods also help. I personally don’t buy frozen meals but I do buy frozen meats and vegetables because otherwise they would go bad and its incredibly easy to dump it in a pot to cook quickly.
- Take a night for yourself. I know some single parents don’t have all of the support others do. My mom or dad keeps my kids for a few hours every week so that I can enjoy a night to myself. Its not a lot but I am able be myself and more than JUST a mom.
How to be your own person
As a parent, you forget that you’re your own person. You’re whole life is more than just a mother or a father. It’s incredibly hard to find your own identity. Is mom even your real name?! Absolutely not!
As I’ve made clear above how hard being a single mom above is. In the beautiful mess of our lives, its difficult to remember that we are our own people. Forgetting to take care of yourself can lead you down the dark road of Depression.
Here are some fun activities
- Join a Book Club! – Reading a book is great fun especially if you can talk about it with other adults! Think about some 50 Shades of Grey.
- Pick up a hobby. – Blogging has been great fun for me. I can write, interact and inspire. I feel like I have a purpose more than just being a mom. Some other hobbies would be a knit group, selling on Etsy (art, jewelry, clothes, etc.), or pick up dog walking.
- Exercise. Set some time aside to work out and get out all the stress from our day to day lives.
- Enjoy a dinner for one. Get a sitter for an hour, (mask up!) pick up food, and head to the park for a nice picnic for one with out having to shout at your kids to sit down.
- Go Shopping BY YOURSELF. Shop without telling your kids NO a thousand times and buying what you WANT.
- Stay up just a little bit late. Watch a show or movie that you want to watch or take a nice warm bath.
- Finally, think about how blessed you are. You have kids that love you no matter what. You’re trying your hardest and trust me, they see all that you do. They love you and you wouldn’t be given this challenge unless you could handle it. Keep it up!