If you’re a single mother, taking care of one or even multiple children on your own can feel impossible at times. However, thousands of single mothers have come before you, finding and creating ways to make things easier for those that come after. With some research and a little extra planning, you can tackle the life of a single mother and still retain your sanity. Consider these four tricks for making your job easier as a starting point.
Find Easy Recipes
Instead of trying to prepare gourmet meals, keep things simple. Not every night has to be Christmas dinner, and there are lots of easy, three-ingredient recipes that take little time to make, are nutritious, and taste great. Potatoes can be chopped into oven-baked fries, baked, or boiled in a stew.
Stir fries and taco salads can also contain deliciously healthy ingredients with very little time commitment in the preparation. Prepping meals in advance and then freezing them can save you a lot of time throughout the week, as well. If you make a few casseroles and freeze them until you’re ready to use them, you can add a side of vegetables and some garlic bread. Don’t make things harder than they need to be. Prepare your meals in advance, use simple ingredients and freeze foods for future use.
Collaborate with Neighbors
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and being a single mother doesn’t mean that you have to do everything alone. Setting up a solid support system by befriending your neighbors can make thing easier on all of you. Setting up carpooling schedules is a great way to get all of your kids to activities on time, and also work as a way to help your kids make friends with the other kids on the block. Setting up a play schedule so that the kids can rotate whose house they play at can also create hours of empty house time for cleaning and for when you just need a break.
Create a schedule for the kids
When your kids have their own schedules, this will help you keep them entertained. You don’t want your children to sit in front of the TV for hours. Instead, come up with creative activities that they can enjoy. Monday night might be puzzle night. This means that while you’re preparing dinner, they can turn on music and put together a puzzle together in the living room. Tuesday nights might be all about playing out in the yard. Wednesday nights might involve reading their latest chapter books. Giving a regular schedule to children helps them know what they should be doing and when, reducing the need to initiate all of their activities yourself.
Get Help When Needed
There is absolutely nothing wrong with admitting that you can’t be on top of everything 24/7 all on your own. Hiring a babysitter is a necessity for every family, single parent or not, and hiring a nanny service is just an extension of that. If you’re working long hours while your kids are at home, then it might be easier to hire a service to help out instead of juggling neighbors to watch them. This is especially important if you have a child with special needs that requires extra help and supervision, and it opens up your time to meet other responsibilities in providing for your family.
As you continue on this journey, you’ll learn new tricks and tips to being a super-mom, though it will never be easy. Be gentle with yourself, and know that you’re doing the best you can. A little help can go a long way, and there’s no shame in asking for it. Being a super-mom means following your intuition and doing the research you need in order to meet the needs of your children, including when that means getting help.
by guest writer Meghan Belnap