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Single Moms Should Give Themselves A Time Out
As a single parent there were times when the only break that was enjoyed was the time my head hit the night-time pillow. There was a constant on the go. A constant get this done. A constant clean this put away that. It was only much later that it was uncovered that a time out, a personal time of rejuvenation was needed. It was late in single parenthood, that the appreciation for “me time” was development and implemented, and this was timely for self-preservation.
Start With A Balance
Taking time out to rejuvenate yourself is a prodigious balancing act for single parents, but it must be done. If all you do is parent then you lose the true value of yourself, and become an irritable parent that your children resent. Taking time to care for the personal aspect of who you are, adds value to your role as a parent. As you learn to balance me time with parenting, your children will eventually observe that you value yourself and in turn they will appreciate that you are more than “just mom”.
Take Small Steps
The financial strain of single parenting can prevent any and all rejuvenation. Whatever your monetary disposition taking “me time” should start small then gradually progress to lengthy time away from the children, at this stage your financial disposition will be a factor. Today I am still at the “small” status of me time. One day I will get the spa day, the total body spa treatment, that I so long for. In the meantime, here are some learned tricks and inexpensive ways that I engaged in to take time out to rejuvenate.
Take A Luxurious Tub Bath
Your day starts of 5:30 a.m and ends at 11 p.m. --that is if you are lucky. You wake up prepare the kids for school or daycare as you get dress for work. During work you ward off school calls and demands of parent intervention. After work you pick up the kids, prepare dinner, help with homework, prepare kids for bedtime, and finally you fall into bed. On the weekends, if you don't work, you are running errands, dropping kids off to events, attend church and doing the laundry. "Doing" the laundry is usually a two day event filled with ironing and folding clothes. With a packed week it might be possible to take a luxurious tub bath, this will entail very little planning and cost next to nothing. When the kids are in bed set the mood with led candles strategically placed around the bath room. Before the candle layout shove all the toys in a bag and place said bag under the sink, in the hall way, or in another room. Don't worry about upsetting your kids’ flow of toys, these shoved items will find their way back into the bathroom in time for their bath. The candles are in place, with your cell phone, tablet, ipad or iphone in hand select your favorite music and hit play. The bath content can consist of: expired milk, your child's baby oil, olive oil from the kitchen, finally sliced lime or lemon, dollar store lavender Epsom salt, and yes even your child's bubble bath. With a tub of water add any one of the above listed items and then enter tub, close your eyes and pretend that you are in a spa. Take the tub bath right before you go to bed and enjoy the most restful sleep ever.
There is not much to this time out activity. Similar to tub bath time, the pedicure should be after the children are in bed. If you do not have the vibrating foot bath do not despair, make a dollar store wide bucket purchase. You will place your feet in this bucket filled with warm water and Epsom salt and sock feed as you watch your favorite late night show. Have at pumice stone, and occasionally rub the rough areas of your feet. Soak feet for the entire show and notice how soft your feet are during the soak. Pat dry feet and apply Vaseline or petroleum jelly, then place feet in socks. When done on a weekly bases your feet will be as pedicured as if you went to a professional. If there is extra cash you can make pedicure solution purchases and use them during your pedicure time.
Eyebrow And Cuticle Care
Some of us are terrible at "plucking" eyebrows and cutting their own cuticle, this is where the "time out" piggy bank comes in handy. Hide, yes hide, this piggy bank in a place that you alone can access and every day place a quarter in the bank. Every week you would have saved $1.50 and at the end of three months your cash total is $18, just enough to get a manicure or your eyebrow waxed. These areas of your body needs grooming about every two to three months so your visit to your hidden bank will be apropos to that type of grooming. Of course, if you can place more than a quarter, let's say 26 cents, do so. The extra money will go a long way towards upgrading your type of grooming service.
Do you frequently allow yourself me time?
Get A New Hair Style
The hair makes a person and a bad hair day can unmake any single mother. To combat such a self-esteem leveling go to a hair stylist training school. Some of these training schools provide service to the public. Service to the public is practice opportunity for students. Do not be alarmed, their work is monitored by licensed beautician and helps you to walk away with a professional look without paying the professional price. A quarterly visit will do wonders for the revitalization of your appearance.
Hang Out Time
At work you hear co-workers talk about going to “happy hour” or to a hangout spot. Try to go at least one time every three months, if your child is in a 24-hour daycare. Once a month if you can make arrangements with friends or family members to babysit. Some nightclubs have ladies free night. Get your co-workers and friends to attend those nightclubs. Whatever you do, do go out. This will help you preserve your adult conversation skills. Do not be upset, however, if during your hangout time you start singing the cookie monster song, or start sounding like your teenager. Just shake it off and smile and jump right back into the adult world. When you keep the hangout time on a regular schedule you will quickly learn to leave the children at home physically and mentally. Don’t worry too much about the financing of the hangout, just purchase one drink and nurse it your entire stay. You cannot plan to be out all night because you have kids, hence it is easy to nurse your drink for the duration of your stay, which realistically is 2 to 3 hours. To stay any longer will mean leaving your kids in the daycare too long a period of time. Staying out all night to hangout could alienate your babysitting options with family and friends. The idea is to get some breathing space for yourself not to relive your single status.
Some states have free thespian events, especially in the summer time, take advantage of these events to hang out with other adults. You can pack a light snack to enjoy as you sit and interact with others while viewing the performance. There are some brilliant shows at these outdoor theaters and it is a good opportunity to introduce or reintroduce some culture to your personal life.
Go on a date, granted you have to be asked. When asked find a way to go. Mind you, dating should not be obsessive; it should be more constant and committed. If you discover you are not interested in your date mention it and hope a friendship will develop. But whatever you do, do not remove yourself from the dating scene. Most importantly, do not put male companionship on hold, if you do, you are subconsciously saying to yourself that you are not worthy of love and affection. As a mother you are still human, do not deny your humanity. Embrace your needs and cautiously work towards meeting the normal desire for companionship. In using caution when dating, remember that your children do not have to meet every guy you date. Also, remember your children are vulnerable beings and should not be exposed to every, as my mother would say, “Tom, Dick and Harry”.
Parenting on your own is rarely easy, many times there will be days of total exhaustion, this is why personal time is imperative. Plan for it, fight for it and get it--if not your children will consume your life. This is not good for you or your children because it sends the message that they are more important than you. In any family unit, all members are essential, and for the unit to function well each member should be made to acknowledge this principle.