AS a single mom it’s just unbeleivable the balancing act that I have to go through every day. Dealing with work, chores, discipline, multiple schedules, and usually a whole lot more. Here are a few tips that help me and may be able to help you too.
Set Your Boundaries
This applies to both work and home; when you walk out the door at work that’s the end of your work day. Work issues and problems don’t have a place at home. Being a single mom who operates a home-based business I’m fully aware that this isn’t always easy to do. I also know that at times the things that happen with my work and my clients can make me really crabby and on-edge at the end of the day and then this carries over to how I deal with the kids. My work day ends as I’m walking out the door to pick the kids up from school so I don’t have a buffer of time that I can use to wind down before being bombarded with their excitement from their day. What I try to do with them is to let each of them have a few minutes of time to tell me what exciting thing happened with them at school and instead of dealing with all their school papers they pile them in a basket in the kitchen by the back door. This way I can deal with their papers at a time that’s convenient for me and they can pick them up again as they are packing their backpacks in the evening. After I spend some time with the kids they have their after-school lists to complete and then they are “free” to play outside with their friends. This give me some time to unwind and put myself in a better frame of mind to deal with the evening.
Setting boundaries in the house for the children involves establishing routines for them and being very clear about what I expect such as doing homework before playing outside, no overnight visitors on school nights, laundry put away before bed, and etc. It’s important for single moms to set these boundaries for their children in order to keep a sense of order in their homes.
Pick Your Battles
There are definitely some things that my children do that I don’t like but don’t violate any house rules; I’ve decided that I just have to bite my tongue at some of these things and let them pass. I can’t create a rule and pass discipline for every little thing. For example my 7 year old son loves to create a variety of craft projects. When he gets ready to begin his creations he digs out every single art supply we have in the drawer and dumps them all out on the table and makes a huge mess. It drives me nuts to see all that stuff all over but I’ve decided that as long as he picks everything up and makes sure that anything that fell on the floor is cleaned up as well I let him make as much of a mess as he wants. Another major issue in our house is bedtime. My children will not go to bed when told and stay in bed. So I’ve decided that once I send them to their rooms (which are all upstairs) that for the first half hour after they are sent to bed they can play, read, or color quietly with each other wherever they want as long as they stay upstairs. After the first half-hour I make them stay in their beds where they can read or color for another fifteen minutes. After that it’s lights out and quiet. This compromise has made a big difference in our bedtime battles; the children no longer fight with me over their bedtime.
As a single working mom it’s really difficult to find time to spend having fun with the kids and no focus on all the stuff that needs to be done like chores, homework, doctors visits, and so on. Find time each week to do something fun with your kids; when you neglect their need for leisure time with you they start to feel resentful and display behaviors that you don’t like. Kids need to spend fun time with you and as a single mom this should be one of your priorities. Fun time doesn’t have to be an expensive outing it can be something as simple as a walk in the park, bike riding, or even visiting some fun children’s website. Check out my free e-book 118 Fun Things to do with Your Kids to jumpstart your creativity and get some ideas for things to do with your kids.
Being a single working mom is definitely not an easy task but it can be accomplished. There are sure to be times when you feel guilty that you can’t offer your kids more but instead of letting it get you down use that guilt as a springboard to help you move forward in a new direction. Kids are quite resilient and forgiving; just keep doing your best with them and they will surely appreciate the love and effort you put into creating a better environment for them.