All parents need some alone time, and it’s much easier to get it when you have a partner to take the kids outside while you stay at home and read a book or keep them entertained while you take a nice bath. When you’re a single mother, you have barely any break from the family obligations, especially when your kids are young and don’t go to school yet. However, since going without any “me time” can make even the more dedicated parents go crazy, here’s how you can carve out some alone time for relaxation, adult fun and pampering.
Schedule your breaks
Any busy mother knows the importance of a good schedule, so make sure to make some space on it for “me time”. Schedule a 30-60 minute session while your kids are at school or hanging out with their friends and relatives to dedicate to yourself. Use this time to do your hobbies or simply relax and take a nap. Some pampering in the bathroom is also a great idea. The rest of the time you have without kids you can use for chores and errands (it can be hard to do these with kids by your side).
If you have space, create a safe and fun room or room corner where kids get to play alone. While kids are entertaining themselves, you can also go to another room and relax in peace. Provide this kids’ space with a bucket of age-appropriate toys, books and other fun things you know your kids like and treat playing alone with these items as a reward. Leaving your kids to play alone teaches them valuable lessons of self-soothing, waiting, stress reduction and introspection. Make sure to discuss this special time and its importance both for kids and for mom. Of course, make them feel free to call you in case anything unforeseen happens.
Don’t cancel social events for kids
What do you do when you have tickets for theater, a coffee date with your friend or a spa treatment booking and your baby-sitter cancels? Well, most single moms don’t know what else to do but cancel their social appointments and go without that precious “me time”. Well, don’t make cancelations just yet. There are voluntary out of home care (voohc) services that can provide your kids with short-term emergency accommodation or after-school care. These facilities deliver age-appropriate services and activities and allow parents to have some much-needed rest. In most cases, kids will love spending time with other kids and learning new skills from staff—it’s a win-win situation.
Rethink your routines
Need some extra time for yourself? Wake up an hour earlier than usual and use that extra time to have a relaxing cup of coffee, enjoy breakfast and put on makeup just as you like it. If you’re not a morning person, you can change your evening routine by skipping TV show binging after the kids go to bed, and instead take a nice bath, put on a face mask and grab a book. This time is much more mindful and it allows you to connect with your inner self. This also allows you to wake up fresh and clean from the previous night’s pampering, so you can skip the morning shower and make your a.m. a bit less busy and stressful.
Get some people on your side
Join a single-parent co-op (or start one yourself) so you can share your responsibilities with other people in the same situation. For instance, you can organize a play date with kids of single parents of a similar age, and give the parents two hours of free time to enjoy. Do this once a week, swapping responsibilities with other people. Make sure all the members of your single-parent co-op are responsible adults so you can rest assured your kids will be in good hands.
Learn to let go
While cleaning is crucial for everyone’s health, it’s not always necessary to have a spotless house. When you have a bit of mess, let it go and choose to relax instead of cleaning. You don’t have time for a home-cooked meal? It’s okay if you order takeout every once in a while and use the extra time to unwind and enjoy the food. Not everything has to be perfect!
Single mothers really have it hard when it comes to responsibilities and chores, but they also get all the love. And if you use these tips above to introduce some self-care to your life, you’ll actually love being a single parent!