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.
SINGLE PARENTING & HOW TO FIND TIME FOR YOURSELF
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!