I just saw a post on another blog that made me really think about some things. It was a post about time management and trying to get it all done. We all know those people, those mothers that do it all. They are making the baby food, working full time, chairing PTA, have a spotless house, drive the pretty car that is always clean, and volunteer to feed the homeless. You know those people right? Yeah I was gonna be one of those people. I was going to be that mom. That supermom that did it all. And then about 3 months into parenting The Hulk I realized those people don't really exist. You think they do but they don't. And there is no way I can be that person. Do I still try sometimes, you bet I do. Do I still feel guilty that I'm not supermom, of course. But the guilt is lessening. And I've come up with a way to be a good mom and get enough done to feel okay about it. So here are my tips for managing as a single mom...
1. Pick your top three regarding your kids. By this I mean to pick your top three child raising issues. Don't try to do all the wonderful parenting things you read in every magazine. Pick the three that are of the highest priority to you. For me those three things are raising The Hulk and my future children to know Christ, providing him a healthy balanced diet/nutrition, and reading/education. There are a lot of other things that I value greatly and that I strive to do. But these are the top three things I focus on and don't budge on. No matter what at the end of the day I know I've done my best in these three areas. There are days that we hit the bare minimum in all three but I touch on all three each day.
2. Routine, Routine, Routine! I am very scheduled and structured. I tend to do things like a robot. I make my menus on the same day each week, do the grocery shopping on the same day, clean certain rooms of the house on the same day, etc. This saves me from chaos. I can't control the whole world but by keeping a routine it prevents me from having unnecessary chaos. I also apply this routine to The Hulk' care. He gets baths on the same night every week, I always load him and his belongings into the car the same way, etc. That way even on the most busy day I know I'm not leaving something behind.
3. Let it go! I've had to let things go. You know what this house isn't always spotless. Heck it's never spotless. Instead of aiming for perfection I aim for the house being presentable and safe. I rarely let it get to a point that I would be humiliated if someone came over but honestly I'm not willing to give up time doing something with my kid to clean a toilet. Time is precious, dust is not.
4. Let him be a normal kid. This was and continues to be the most difficult thing for me. I feel like as a single mother and as a single mother who adopted I'm watched very closely. I feel like I'm being judged often on how I'm doing as his mom. So I tend to easily get wrapped up in appearances. So I'm trying very hard to let him be normal. Let him go out of the house with food on his shirt, or let him have a meltdown in the Wal-Mart, let him be like every other kid in the world. I'm getting better at this but it's an ongoing struggle.
5. Incorporate activities. I don't like to waste time. And as a single mom I can't count on anyone else to cover for me. So I like to incorporate as many things together as I can. For instance, during bath time we also read bible stories and sing songs. So we have hit two of my top three in one event. He gets a little Jesus and a little reading. Perfection! During meal time I talk to him about the colors of his food, the different textures, I sing songs about silly things, and sometimes now that he is self feeding I'll read to him while he eats. And I always pray with him before I give him his food. So we covered all of the top three! More Jesus in his heart, good healthy food, and some education. That's success to me!
6. Plan ahead. I always try to plan for the week ahead and the day ahead. I plan the weeks meals in advance so I am not left with no idea of what to cook for dinner. I lay out our clothes the night before and pack his diaper bag the night before, etc. This way I'm not rushing around in the morning.
So those are my best tips. I've got other things I do but that's for another day. My time limit on the computer is up for the night...