3 Single Mom Traps and How to Avoid Them

Posted by admin on Oct 25, 2009 in Tips for Single and Partnered Parents |

1) Always feel like you’re short on time? What happens when you are presented with one more thing to add to your TO DO list? If you are like the single working moms I know, you say something like this in your head: “hmm, I’ll just plan better and squeeze that in between task number 2 and task number 3. I’ll just move faster…” Never do I hear, “I’ll stop doing these other two things. “ My daily list used to go something like this: get up, make beds, get ready for work, get daughter ready for school, feed us both, throw dishes in sink, drop off daughter at school, get myself to work, beat all my work goals, be available to work people 24/7, get daughter from school, talk to friends and family on phone en route, grocery shop, cook an extraordinarily healthy, organic meal, help complete homework, play, get kid ready for bed, put her to bed, open laptop, fall asleep on laptop. REPEAT. Not surprisingly, I ended up completely de-energized by the end of every week. And when it all caught up with me, I ended up on a medical leave! My advice? Prioritize…but this time, I mean for real. Did I have to beat every work goal I set for myself? No. Was the world going to fall apart if the beds weren’t made? No. Would it be ok to have healthy meals, but freeze some along the way? How about buying some healthy meals, not always making them? How about letting a pizza sneak in every now and then? Yep, also ok. My shortness of time was created by…well, me. Some things really are ‘must do’s’ – like eating. It’s just that I created an extra frenzy around the situation by wanting everything to be perfect. I needed to relax a bit, and once I did, I saw that it wasn’t a big deal if we had hot dogs one night. Or if my daughter fell asleep in her clothes on the couch. The world didn’t fall apart. I had been the culprit the whole time! Ok, so you are short on time. Think about everything you did today – and everything you seem to do every day. Now really, do you have to do all of those things? Are you trying to be perfect? Can some tasks go to an ‘every other’ day or week schedule? Your action here: Are you the culprit of something that’s driving you crazy in your life? Eliminate it. If you can’t figure that out – eliminate one task you do daily. Just stop doing it for 1 week and see what happens. Just stop it and you’ve created time for yourself (hooray)! At the end of the week, ask yourself, what happened? How did it feel?

2) Are you guilty of guilty talk? Did you just tell me in #1 that you are short on time? Then you really, really don’t have time to waste on speaking negatively to yourself sweetie! Who cares if the bed isn’t made? Yes, you wanted to spend more time with your child, but a work emergency called you away. You haven’t called your best friend back for two weeks. Ok, it is what it is – it happens to all of us. You are doing the best you can. Instead, take five minutes to write down anything and everything you did manage to do this week. I got to my laptop by 9:00am three times this week, with my writer’s hat on. I made my daughter a healthy lunch every day this week, with extra TLC. And I managed to get myself to bed on time three times this week. This list is a much better use of my time than ranting and raving at myself for everything I didn’t do. I’m doing the best I can, just like everybody else! Your action here: stop beating yourself up. Give yourself three compliments a day for a week. How does that feel? Can’t think of three per day? Call a close friend, I bet he or she can think of three things for you.

3) When did you last focus on…yourself? Yes, I said you, not your kidlets! (I know you are already focused on him/her/them). Part of what you want to teach them is that it’s important to do things just for yourself, just to make yourself happy. Doing things for others is important, but not at the expense of yourself. Get a massage, sneak in a manicure. Can’t afford that? See if a friend can watch your child, and take your favorite book to a coffee shop (you can get the book at the library). Go for a walk. Sketch a picture. Visit a museum on a free entry day. Clear out a space in your closet and make it your mediation corner. Write in your journal with your favorite candle lit nearby. Rent a chick flick. Can you find 30 minutes a month, 30 minutes a week, to take yourself on a date? Do you want your child to be able to do that? Then show him or her it’s important. Your action here: do something just for yourself. You are going to be a happier mommy!

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1 Comment

  • archana says:

    you are so right! this applies not just to singles moms but to other moms as well. most of us are quilty of trying to be perfect at work and home that we loose sight of the fact that we need to enjoy along the way and making time to do is so important….i am really enjoying your writings.

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