6 easy ways to stay on top of things while managing single parenthood.
Being a single parent is tough for both men and women, but men can find it to be especially hard since they aren’t typically raised to nurture kids and be empathetic. While understanding kids and caring for them can be overwhelming enough, single dads also have to take care of household chores and give their best at work!
As a single dad, if you are struggling to keep your sanity intact trying to balance your personal and professional life, here are some tips that you’re sure to find useful.
To restore order in your life and that of your kids, the first thing you should do is plan everything to the T. Maintain a daily routine and ensure that you stick to the same meal times and bedtimes, and complete chores as per schedule. If you have to attend functions, be back home during regular hours so your kids know what to expect.
If you’ve gone through a divorce and your ex gets to or wants to meet the kids, work with her to decide on a schedule. Be respectful of your ex’s plans and don’t force her to be there for the kids when you’ve got something important to do!
Create a family calendar and put it up in the hall or living room. Note down bill due dates, school and family events, activity classes, birthdays, chores, and anything else that’s important on the calendar. Be sure to glance at it every night so you don’t forget anything; doing so every weekend will help you create backup plans in advance.
Making a schedule is one thing and following it is another! Right from getting kids ready for school, packing lunch, getting ready for work, getting back home in time, to tucking kids in bed requires you to manage time efficiently. Doing so much day in and day out can be made easier if you’re wise about how you do things.
Stay organized by streamlining things- place a small laundry basket in the hallway or the living room and throw your socks in it when you get home instead of leaving them on the floor. Also have a coat stand for your coat and hat. Furthermore, don’t let clothes lie about the house; hang them in hangers or fold them and put them inside the closet. To save time in the mornings, set out your clothes for the next day before going to bed.
When it comes to meals, plan for the whole week to put an end to unnecessary trips to the grocery store. Buying in bulk will also help cut down on expenses!
Most importantly, don’t stress yourself out with tasks like picking up toys from the floor. If your kids are older than 3-4 years, you can ask them to do simple chores around the house. Not only will this give you some relief, it will also teach your kids to stay organized from an early age!
If you’re having trouble doing household chores or if you can’t get home early from work to be with your kids, consider hiring a maid or a nanny. In case you’re on a budget, hire part-time help- for example, hire a cook only for weekdays and do the cooking yourself on weekends.
Make a list of people you can turn to for help in case of emergencies. Include numbers of your close friends and relatives, babysitter, kids’ caregivers, neighbors, etc., print out the list, and give these people a copy each. Keep a copy at home in a visible place and save these numbers on your mobile phone. Note that you should only be using these numbers in emergencies- don’t make a habit of inconveniencing loved ones or neighbors!
Speak to Your Employer
If you are unable to build a schedule around your office hours or find that balancing both professional and personal life is too taxing, speak to your employer about your concerns, letting them know that you are a single father.
Depending on your situation and work profile, you may want to ask for flexible work timings or you may want to seek a work from home option. Before you approach your employer or your company’s HR representative think through what you need and write it down so you can present your case better. Be honest and open with your employer and be ready with alternative solutions so you can come to an agreement in case your terms aren’t accepted.
Have Adult Friends
It’s great to have a friendly relationship with your kids, but it’s not cool to rely on them for companionship, comfort, and sympathy. Children don’t have the capacity or experience to substitute as adults and may be disturbed emotionally if you express your frustrations to them on a regular basis. Leave the adult talk for adults- friends, relatives, or even a counsellor, if need be.
Also, going for a long time without interacting with adults other than your colleagues can be distressing. So make time for your friends and close relatives and don’t feel guilty about it!
Don’t Forget about Yourself
You need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your kids. So apart from meeting up with loved ones once in a while, give yourself the liberty to indulge as you please. If there’s a concert you want to go to or if you want to take a solo trip over the weekend, hire a babysitter and have your share of fun.
Additionally, take care of your health by making sure you don’t skip meals. Eat healthy food, avoid snacking too much on junk foods, stay hydrated, and try to exercise a little every day!
Living with the pain of the death of your spouse or coping with divorce sure is difficult. And balancing work and personal life plus taking care of your kids and yourself single-handedly can be like walking on a tightrope! However, single parenthood is manageable and if you do the right things, you and your kids will be more than fine.
With the tips given here, you now know how to bring order into your life, so get started on using them right away. In addition to this, remain calm in challenging situations and stay as positive as you can!
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