All parents have moments where they feel stressed, overwhelmed and, quite frankly, absolutely insane. When you're a single mom, you feel all of that but it also seems like you have less time to get everything done because you're doing it all alone.
So, what do you do?
Haha. That was a rhetorical question. All single moms know EXACTLY what to do when they want to read an article that will help them save their sanity. You make sure the kids are okay and then you lock yourself in the bathroom for 3 minutes and check out some of these single mom life hacks.
1. It's okay to have a pizza night. Those are actual words that I had to say to myself over and over. "Karen, it's okay to have a pizza night." Probably because my own mother prepared dinner every night. Probably because as a single mom, I didn't want to start "skipping corners." Probably, because I thought that I had to prepare fresh meals from scratch nightly where I controlled the ingredients so that my little boy wouldn't slide down the slippery slope that leads to obesity and diabetes before the age of 10....or whatever it is that the morning television shows terrify you with before you've had your first cup of coffee. Pizza night frees you up from one (okay...maybe two) nights of cooking. Sit and watch a movie with the kids and enjoy your night out of the kitchen. You can't do it all and, quite frankly, you don't have to.
2. Cut back on some of your child's weekly activities. When we first started martial arts, I figured that 2 to 3 days weekly was totally manageable. Then we had to have a day for swimming. And he wanted to take soccer. And I really want him to learn piano. Before I knew it, every weekday was packed with after-school activities. I was stressing about how I was going to fit it all in. Finally, I had a chat with myself and realized that my 5-year-old had plenty of time to become a well-rounded person without running Mommy all over town like a crazy person every single day. So, I stopped. Problem solved. We now only have activities two days out of the week, tops.
3. Weekend cooking is my BFF. Ideally, when your child spends time with their other parent, you'll get to sleep late, get massages and binge watch all of those shows your friends rave about on Facebook. Ha. Not at my house. Those weekends when my son is with his dad, I'm cooking for the week like a crazy person. I'm prepping and chopping and blending and freezing. It's the only way I can be prepared for the week when my son comes home. People say, "I don't know how you do all of that." Honestly, I don't know how parents manage any other way. I have a full-time job, a mom in assisted living and a little boy. I've got stuff to do and I can't be wasting my time with grating carrots and chopping onions every night.
4. Hire a cleaning service. At one time, the thought of having someone clean my house seemed frivolous and indulgent. Silly me. I soon realized I could spend my time dusting, mopping and scrubbing toilets, or I could use that time to take my son to the park or the library. When I see his little face light up at the idea of engaging in a fun weekend activity, it's clear that I've made the right decision. And, honestly, walking in to a clean home is kin to nirvana. There's nothing like it.
5. Amazon Prime is the plug (as the kids say.) Once upon a time, I was a person who thought they needed to drive to a brick and mortar store and touch items before I purchased them. But then I became a single mom and entered the age of enlightenment. Amazon Prime is the key to life. Having paper towels and diapers and light bulbs and air vent filters delivered right to my front door saved so much time. For $99 a year, Amazon delivers practically everything you need via 2-day shipping. (Between us, my stuff often arrives next day!) This saves me so much time because I'm not wandering around Walmart or Target searching for my desired item and then adding 15 impulse items to my shopping cart. And Amazon Prime has changed the game at Christmas. I haven't stepped foot inside a mall post-Thanksgiving Day in years. And with a mom in assisted living, I can purchase all of her medical supplies from Amazon. This usually saves me about 50% on her items and, again, it saves me a trip to the store. Winning.