Someone once said ‘Being a single parent is twice the work, twice the stress and twice the tears but also twice the hugs, twice the love and twice the pride.’ While that’s true, a single mother is still fulfilling many more than just two roles and juggling so much that you can nearly picture a sadly comic caricature of her with dark circles and dishevelled hair, bogged down by bags and tug-of-war-ed by children. Yes, you single mothers are strong and can manage it all, I know. I have seen it up close. My sister recently became a single parent. That’s exactly how I know that you guys need to catch a break or you will scatter and go insane. How? Here’s how:
1. Take off your cape – In the ironic words of Spiderman’s aunt, “You’re not Superman, you know?” Yes, I know what you do 24×7 is something that would probably have Superman reach for the kryptonite and stab himself; but you’re human! First and foremost acknowledge that and really acknowledge it. Once you do, you will be able to give yourself some concession on what you think you must accomplish as a single parent. It’s very easy to judge a single parent for what they don’t do and very rare to give them credit for what they do. So it becomes very important to credit and not judge yourself. You’re not a bad parent if you didn’t cook from scratch for a day.
2. Bedtime Routine – Plan a bedtime routine for your kid/s. Put your kid/s into a habit of sleeping early. Give them one hour of television or one hour of reading a story or something before they go to sleep, so they know that their sleep time is approaching near. Afterwards give them a hot bath and/or some milk to induce sleep. Condition them to sleep at 8 or 9. Then take an hour or two out for yourself, to do what relaxes you. Pamper yourself with a bath or with a pedicure. Read, watch a movie, surf the net, blog, eat some dessert, have a glass of spirit, do anything that makes you feel like yourself again.
3. Workshop Hour – This is an amazing way to ensure your children’s creativity, development and growth while getting time for yourself. The nicest thing would be to enrol them for an activity class. It could be dance, karate, drawing or anything else. Otherwise, you could simply give them a workshop corner and make it mandatory for them to learn one new thing every day. They could draw, read a story, make a small snack, make a tent or come up with more such ideas for an hour every day, while you watch your favourite sitcom or simply sit and stare even.
4. Babysitter/Daycare – You’re perfectly capable of taking care of your baby and keeping him/her entertained, we know. But sometimes, give the babysitters and the daycares a chance. Not every day, if you don’t want to. But let a babysitter make some pocket money for a day or for a few hours while you pamper yourself. Or let your kid/s make some new friends at a good daycare once in while, as they plan new activities for all the kids there. He/she/they can learn something new and you can have a new activity to share with your kid/s while you just got a day off for yourself.
5. Get help – Asking for help is really not a sign of weakness. Ask a trusted friend or family member to help out every once in a while. Let them run a few errands for you or take your kid/s off your hands for a while. This will give them time to bond as well. It will teach your child/ren about relationships and help your close ones understand what you go through a little better, while you get a truly well-deserved break out of it.
So there’s five ways off the top of our heads in which you single moms can catch a break for yourselves. I am sure you can come up with more. Find ways in the nooks and corners of your days and nights, in the ways of your children and you will be able to love and appreciate yourself, your life and your children much more than you can otherwise. You can treat them as the gift they are to you, if you gift yourself a break. Also, others please feel free to share more ways that could help our beloved single moms catch a break!
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