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Tips for Surviving Single Motherhood
You hear it all the time, being a parent is hard. That phrase has zero meaning until you're knee deep in diapers and haven't slept more than 7 minutes in a 36 hour period. There were days when I was so exhausted that when I finally got a minute to myself, I would literally just sit on my couch in silence and just soak in the peace, no phone, no television, just blissful nothing. While there is no way to take the stress out of parenting, I have figured out a few ways to make those crazy "how am I going to get through the day?" days more manageable.
Take a Time Out.
No, not the kid, YOU! If you're feeling overwhelmed, take a 5 minute breather, refocus, and literally breathe. Deep breath in, and exhale. If you can put on a show or distract your kiddo with a solo game for those 5 minutes, even better.
I know that sometime those little stinkers are just going to follow you to the bathroom or bedroom and there is no way to get alone time. If that is the case, do something quiet with them, read a story, play a board game, go for a walk or a drive. Whatever you need to do to get a few minutes of peace. If you're calm, chances are it will be easier for the kids to be calm.
Do Not Give Yourself Unrealistic Expectations.
We've all seen those mom's on facebook who feed their children all home made, organic, meals that has a perfectly clean house, and always seems so put together. These are not realistic expectations for most people. Some days you are probably going to give your child cereal for dinner, and they are going to love it, because cereal is awesome at any time of the day. You're house isn't always going to be clean, because hey, people live in it, and that's OK. So don't compare yourself to other parents.
Quality Time Over Quantity Time.
I am constantly feeling guilty for being a working mom. I don't get to spend my days at home with him. When my son got on a predictable routine I started reading stories at night before bed. We'd start out the night time routine early with bath, pajamas, we'd play a little bit, read a story and go to bed. For those 1-2 hours a night he had my undivided attention. When I have time off, I try to do things just the two of us, this is our quality time together. This is what your children will remember; you did things with them, you talked to them, you got on your hands and knees and played with them. It doesn't have to be all day, every day, but don't get caught up so much in the details of life that this falls to the wayside. Invest your time in your children, the rest of the "stuff" can wait an hour.
Keep Calm and Don't Scream at the Children.
Of course there are exceptions to every rule but as a general guideline, I try to save the screaming for the really serious stuff. This may sound like a rule for the sake of the children but really it is for me. I've never screamed at my kid in a moment of anger and then felt super good about it, I've usually felt guilty that I could have handled the situation better. That mom guilt is a powerful thing, it will lead you to buy toys those kids don't need. So save yourself $20 bucks and use your inside voice.
Treat Yo' Self
You work so hard, you are dedicated to your kid(s). It is easy to forget to do things for yourself. Get your hair done, buy that pair of shoes you've been wanting, get yourself an outfit. I personally like to buy myself new sweatpants and a comfy t-shirt, new lounge wear for me is heavenly. You deserve whatever it is that floats your boat, so don't forget to treat yourself to the simple pleasures in life.