Five Tips for Simplifying Life as a Single Parent
Being a single parent is anything but easy. Even if you have a supportive network of family and friends, you may still feel as though you are being stretched so thin you are just moments away from breaking. One of the biggest concerns single parents have is that their lives are just too complicated. Fortunately, there are some easy tips you can employ to simplify your life as a single parent.
1. Develop a Daily Routine
The first step to simplifying your life is to develop a daily routine to help you maximize the use of your time. Set your alarm to wake you up at the same time each morning and try to go to bed at a consistent hour as well – bonus points if you are able to get a full 7 hours of sleep in each night.
Streamline your morning routine by setting out your work clothes the night before and set the automatic timer on your coffee maker. Try to set and keep a routine for after school and bed time as well. Make sure to take advantage of the times you have with your child during your routine, leaving a little wiggle room for spontaneity when the situation calls for it.
2. Prioritize Your Time and Commitments
In addition to developing a routine, you need to seriously take a look at your to-do list for at work and at home. Go through the list in great detail, paring it down to the bare essentials and getting rid of things that eat up your time without adding value or meaning to your life. Volunteering for a local nonprofit organization is great, but do you really need to do it six hours a week? What about that extra project you took on at work – are you getting paid for the extra work or did you get roped into it? Reserve your time (especially family time) for the things that really matter.
3. Learn How to Say No
As you learn to prioritize your time and commitments you will find yourself having to say “No” to things more often. There is nothing wrong with helping a friend in need, but if you say “Yes” to everything people will start to see you as a push-over and they may start to take advantage of you. By learning how to say “No” to the things that don’t fit into your list of priorities you can free up some valuable time that you can spend with your child.
If you aren’t comfortable saying “No” outright, try something like this – “I’m not able to commit to that right now but I will let you know if anything changes”. You can also try, “I’m sorry but I can’t do that – here is what I can do.”
4. Get Rid of Unnecessary Clutter
In prioritizing your time and commitments you will be clearing a lot of the clutter out of your daily routine. It will also help you to get rid of unnecessary clutter in your home as well. When your home is clean and tidy your mind will feel more open and you will feel less stressed. You don’t have to spend hours cleaning every week, just take a few minutes a day to address a small cleaning or organization task. Take a few minutes to clean out the junk drawer or to organize the pantry. If you do one simple task a day it will add up quickly.
5. Take Some Time for Yourself
Whether you are a single parent or not, life as a parent revolves around your children. Make no mistake, this is how it should be, but that doesn’t mean that you need to neglect yourself in order to focus on your children.
It is important to make time for yourself each and every day to refuel your body and your mind so you have that much more to give to your child. Take a few minutes to meditate in the morning or spend some time reading a good book on your lunch break. Take a walk around the block while waiting for the school bus and enjoy a healthy meal for dinner.
Being a single parent can be draining on your time as well your energy. This is true for parenthood in general but many single parents feel compelled to step up their game, doing the work of two parents all by themselves. If you are a single parent, take some of these easy tips into consideration to simplify your life.