Being a single parent means twice the work, twice the time and twice the stress.
I’ve been a single parent for nearly five months now and I’ve gone from crazed mad woman come Monday morning to an organised and in control Mummy, especially on weekday mornings when the school run beckons… I’ve compiled my top life hacks for single parents in the hope of helping any readers in a similar situation.
Ensure you have a set bedtime routine in place. When we get home from school I start dinner, do reading/homework whilst it is cooking, then we have some TV/tablet time before baths, story and bed. The children know where they are and what they are doing each day which really helps them too settle.
Stay one step ahead.
Each evening I lay out all outfits for the following day, pack lunch boxes and set out bowls etc ready for breakfast. I am rubbish at getting up in the mornings so this simple exercise is really helpful.
Make your freezer your friend.
My freezer is packed full of pre-cooked meals, leftovers and quick fixes that I can get out in the morning and leave to defrost in time for dinner. I dedicate one Sunday a month to batch cooking meals like sausage casserole and cottage pie and frozen veg is a lifesaver!
Utilise your support network.
If someone offers help, take it. If like me you’re the ‘do it all’ type, get over it! I’ve spent far too long trying to be superwoman and it does nobody any favours. Even if it’s just an offer of nipping to the shops for you… take it.
Keep a note.
My diary is the glue that holds us all together – I write down everything from deadlines to homework due dates and carry it with me everywhere. I’m guilty of reading letters from school and putting them in the pile and forgetting about it until it’s too late. Write down everything – even the most organised Mum’s can’t remember everything!
Tracey (One Frazzled Mum) is much like me, she says… ‘I have diaries and planners to remind me of things I need to do. (1 in my handbag, 1 for the blog and a things to do book i can organise daily) My daughter is 10 so I get her to help me out too. If it’s important it goes on the wall planner on the back door in the kitchen. I like to have things ready the night before for example, clothes out, school bag/weekend clothes for her dad’s so I’m not rushing of a morning especially on a school day. I have so much to remember if it’s not written down chances are I’ll forget.’
Rome wasn’t built-in a day. Assign a room to a day and clean/tidy/organise a room at a time. Some days I’ll skip a room and do it alongside another, sometimes I’ll be on one and do the whole of downstairs in one go. Set realistic targets for yourself – but be flexible if you feel up to it.
Jade (Raising The Rings) isn’t a single mother, but she also has a routine for housework, she says… ‘I set aside 20-30 minutes a day to tackle a room (or two, depending on what needs doing)! I try to do things when the kids are occupied – clean the kitchen down when they’re eating lunch, or put some clothes away when they’re in the bath, that kind of thing.’
Take time for yourself.
Use weekends as a chance to relax, run a hot bubble bath, pour yourself a glass of wine, reward yourself for being nothing short of a hero!