It’s no news that 24 hours is barely enough to be called “a day”. On some days, I go to bed with a to-do list that feels like I played all through the entire day. Also, it didn’t help that I checked my calendar yesterday and it was almost mid-year. Yikes!
Something had to change and that something was me. For accountability’s sake, I don’t want to go on this journey alone, so I decided to pen down my thoughts and plans to my fellow single parent. I hope that this article helps you in overcoming the overwhelm and stress that come with adulthood and parenting.
So first up, I think we’ll have to go back to scheduling the day. I know it sounds boring and tedious but that’s what will guarantee us victory over stress. Right now, pick up your journal or your phone if you prefer techie stuff and schedule away.
As a guide, your schedule should include:
- Wake-up time.
- Morning routine tasks such as devotion (if you are spiritual), exercise, breakfast prep, shower, reading a book, etc.
- Tasks of the day with their specific times.
- Plan your kid(s) routine.
- Meal plan for a week.
- Family time and activities
I don’t know if you are like me but my alarms never seem to wake me up; no matter how loud I set them. Once the alarm rings, I just hit snooze and turn over in bed. And as you might know, it takes a miracle to reverse not having a bad morning on days like that. But I hacked it.
In the past week, I ate a light dinner, cut down on TV and screen time before bedtime, and did my best to be in bed by 10 PM. It worked like magic; I woke up early and I enjoyed a productive day.
Waking up earlier than I do has provided me more time to plan my day, spend time observing my self-care routines, and also have small talks with my kids. Irrespective of the circumstances that have led to my single parenthood, I still consider my kids as my greatest blessing. Of course, solely providing for them has taken its toll on me but I wouldn’t have it any other way. When I look at them every day, I’m so glad they are mine.
Apologies, that got a little too mushy but you get my point. In addition to eating a very light dinner, I exercise three times a week and eat a very healthy breakfast. Don’t roll your eyes at me because it works. This isn’t a cliché and if you would just try it out for a week, you’d see it’s true.
Eating healthy doesn’t mean that you stay away from the foods you like. It just means that you’ll infuse a lot more greens and veggies into your meals. Your kids will be better for it too because you’ll have healthier children and that equals fewer hospital trips.
Productivity, wellness, and stability all go hand in hand. If you will live a long full life, you have to start taking yourself seriously. For me, this means that I will spend less time complaining and more time being grateful for all I have. It also means that I will slow down and take some time to smell the roses. Life will always be fast-paced and we might never get any less busy so we must endeavor to create time to retreat, relax and refresh.
Make your work time fun by playing your favourite songs. Take short breaks in between work to stretch or like me, run into the bathroom and have a dance break. Call me weird but I figured that when I’m happy, I am more productive at work and I am able to give my best to my family.
Oh before I forget, don’t be afraid to outsource. There’s nothing worse than working all day and then coming home to a dirty, unkempt house. If you need to hire the services of a nanny, or housekeeper or buy a washing machine, please do. After all, you are working hard to afford certain comforts. Don’t break your back over what you can outsource or lose sleep over a task that someone more competent can do.
Prioritize your mental health. Surround yourself with friends and family who love and respect you. If you can identify your stressors, try your best to avoid them. Sometimes, they might be family and there’s no harm in drawing back a little and setting certain boundaries that protect you from trauma.
This is the year we get our lives together and enjoy being single parents. Until love finds us (and that’s if we want to be found), we will enjoy our lives and live to the fullest.
To be frank, I didn’t expect to be this excited about the rest of the year, but I am. Writing to you has somehow given me more clarity about a few areas of my life and I hope it did the same for you.
Remember that you are special, loved, appreciated, and valued. Start every morning affirming yourself. Speak to your lovely personality, intelligence, resilience, courage, and the love in your heart. You are doing so well and even if no one tells you enough, I am doing that today. You should however tell yourself every single day how important and needed you are. You, my friend, are the real spice, the real deal, and a whole snack. Stand in front of a mirror and say what you want to see until you see it and believe.
Finally, I know this planning and scheduling feels like a lot of work but try to be consistent in following your schedule over the next few weeks and write back to me. I am always rooting for you and I definitely want you to check in on me. Hold me accountable okay?
Till next time!