The Keys to Finding Time For Yourself as a Single Parent

Single Parenting: How to Find Time For Yourself|

Single Parenting & How To Find Time For Yourself is something that is close to my heart.  While society would love to have all family units fall into the mold of two parents being there supporting each other every day, reality is there are many of us who are or have been single parents.  Not only was I a single parent for a few years, I struggled with the guilt of “me time”.  Whether it was a friend or family member that made a comment didn’t matter – those who didn’t feel I needed time alone didn’t understand the true burden you carry in single parenting.  I hope to encourage others to reach out and and make this happen.  Not only is it good for you, but it is healthy for your children as well.  A healthy physically and emotionally parent is a far better parent than one who is worn down and barely functioning.


First let’s drop the guilt and accept this isn’t a desire but a need.  I have heard every excuse in the single parenting book for why time for yourself isn’t a priority.  Some will say you chose to be a single parent so you chose the burdens that come with it.  That would include the lack of time to yourself.  Some will say that real parents and strong men or women don’t need time alone, they can simply make it work.  These are lies that are fed to us to make us feel inferior and incapable of being a good parent. Stop believing the lies and start realizing that every person, parent or not, needs to find time for themselves.  Whether it is a weekend getaway, an hour a week alone or an evening curled up reading a book, it is human nature for every individual to need time alone to relax, detox and regroup.

Seek help from friends and family.  The first place to look to make this happen is within your own circle of friends and family.  Whether it is loading the kids up for a few hours with your parents, or swapping childcare nights with a fellow single parent this is a great way to go.  Not all of us have this kind of support from friends and family.  Sadly, this may not be an option for some of you, but if it is then you need to stop avoiding the offers and start accepting them.  An hour, two hours or a whole weekend alone can do wonders for your mental stability and overall emotional health.  This reflects well on your children and helps single parenting become an easy task for you to accomplish.

Go to the local church.  If you are a religious person then this may be an alternate that works well for you.  Many larger churches have great “moms day out” or “parents night out” programs set up for discounted childcare.  They often offer a few hours of childcare by qualified individuals for a low rate of pay.  This can be affordable as well as a place you feel safe leaving your children.  Another great resource within the church is your circle of friends there.  Many church’s have women’s groups that help support and encourage each other.  You can meet great women who are also single parents who are perfect for swapping childcare nights.

Set boundaries with older children.  Are your kids tweens or teens?  Then it is time to start setting boundaries with them.  That means letting them know there are certain times that your door is closed except for emergencies.  When kids are a bit older, child care won’t be as big of a deal but privacy might be.  With tweens and teens who can possibly stay home alone for a few hours or with each other for a few hours you aren’t seeking help caring for them, but the understanding that you need time too.  It is also a great time to teach about responsibility and respect for other peoples mental and physical well being.

Delegate chores to your kids.  Many single parents find themselves overwhelmed by all the “things” they must do every day.  While you don’t want to over burden your children, there are great points at which chores and responsibilities help everyone involved.  By encouraging your kids to pitch in around the house, you are freeing up time for yourself to relax, go have a coffee after work or simply shut off the noise and read a good book before bedtime.  Most household chores can be done by even younger children of ages 6 or 7.

Things like sorting, washing, drying and folding laundry are easy for younger and older kids to handle.  Basic vacuuming, dusting, sweeping and even mopping can be shared chores amongst the entire household.  Dishes, trash, feeding pets and even cleaning their own bathrooms are all things your kids can and should be helping with.  Older teens can even help with making the menu plan, creating a grocery list, cutting coupons and cooking.  You don’t have to make your children slaves while you do nothing, but you can include them in running the household and giving you a bit more time to relax.

Being a parent can be the most rewarding adventure in your life, but if you don’t take care of yourself in the meantime you will get burnt out and frustrated easily.  Single parenting and how to take time for yourself is of the utmost importance for not only your health, but the health of your children.  When your kids see a relaxed, easy going and happy parent instead of a stressed and frustrated parent they are more likely to be happy themselves.  Most importantly, you want to set an example for your children of the importance of taking care of yourself.  One day, they too might be a single parent and you would only want the best for them.

Do you have any tips on how to find “me” time while single parenting? Share the in the comments!

25 thoughts on “The Keys to Finding Time For Yourself as a Single Parent”

  1. Charities to support

    Interesting!. I love this article because it is very informative and reliable. Thank you for sharing this article. It is worth reading.

  2. It sure was nice when you pointed out that you could seek help from your own circle of friends and family when looking to find time for yourself as a single parent. With this in mind, I will consider asking my mother if she could look after my 6-year-old son while I am on a 3-day vacation trip. Maybe, it will also help me to find single mothers by choice blogs that can offer some tips on enjoying your own alone time to become a better single parent.

  3. I’m not a single parent but my mom was. I use to see how she never had any time for herself until we were way older.

  4. It’s hard enough to find me time when you have another parent there with you. Finding me time as a single parent is even more challenging, but probably even more essential. This is a great post! I will share with my friends!

  5. I was a single parent for many years and had constant guilt doing anything for myself. I realize now how unhealthy that was for me and everyone around me. I wish for every single parent to read this post.

  6. I was raised by a single mom. So I remember watching my brother and sister for her so she could go have some me time. Another option would be starting or finding a babysitting co-op. You watch someone’s kids for x number of hours then they watch yours. My mom used to do something like that with other single moms especially during Christmas and back-to-school shopping.

    1. It’s very challenging as a single working man with custody of kiddos, living in a small town. It is very difficult. I feel as a man it’s very difficult to forge relationships with other single parents because most of them are women and the dynamics are different. Your personal time is essential. There are good days and bad days. Keep your head up and keep on keeping on. Having the kids help and learn responsibility in the home is important. Make sure to be persistent and consistent., eventually they will come around. They will test your patience but don’t let the difficulty and frustration deter you from doing the right thing.

  7. I have seen many single parents burn out because they don’t take time for themselves. We all need to be with friends once in a while without the kids tagging along .

  8. Thanks for these reminders. I do not have family support in any capacity, not even in an emergency situation. The support just isn’t there. But thankfully I got myself in a good mom’s group and we are able to exchange date nights once a month. Its not a lot of time to myself, or for my husband and I as a couple, but at least its something.

  9. I have been in the single mom role and it is certainly difficult and exhausting. These are all SUCH GREAT tips for finding the support you need. I had a friend that was single and we would swap watching the kids for some free time, plus, we would get the kids together to play and stay busy while we helped each other clean house!

  10. Thanks for all the tips. I was a single parent for many years and finding help was the most helpful thing. My parents stepped in and kept my son a few nights a month and it really did make all the difference in the world!

  11. Thanks for all the useful tips! I like the sound of delegating chores to the kids the most. Not only does it free up your time but teaches them how to be independent. If you make it into a game they might even secretly enjoy it!

  12. As a single parent, I always consider how I am managing my time to find the time I need for me. It may not be sensible to have me-time between 5-8 p.m., but I can get up half an hour early until my child is a bit older, and then switch to different hours. I know how much I need this time, and this is the way I can get it!

  13. Being a single mom I think it is really important to find time to yourself and to regenerate. I think it is good for you and your child. I have been extremely lucky and have parents that have always been there for me whenever I need them.

  14. My daughter is raising 3 children on her own and very rarely does she have time to herself. We took the grandkids to African lion safari one day and when we got back my daughter said, ” If I hadn’t have gotten a Headache, I would have drove out there and met you” So even when she had time to herself, she was thinking about the kids.

  15. As a single mom, I love these tips! I think the most important one is to get over the guilt. I feel bad if I spend money or time on myself. Mind you, my son, at one point, had more toys than a toy store, so it’s not like he was deprived! Still, if I had money and it was a choice between doing something for me or for him, he always won. I’ve finally realized that I deserve a little time and treat too!

  16. When I was a single mom, I always put my kids to bed at a decent hour. I would stay up and have a few minutes to do what I wanted before I was off to bed. The only time I got a break was when my kids visited family members. Being a single mom is hard work.

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