It took me a while to get the hang of things, especially becoming a single mum about 4 weeks after having my 2nd son. I am not perfect and i am still learning and changing my routine as my children grow,but i wanted to share few of the changes and tips that may hopefully help another single mum out there.
First thing first. Analyse your situation. if you do not know were you are needed, then you will not be able to accomplish or overcome the difficulties. be brutal and honest with yourself. i found post-it notes on my bedroom wall very helpful. at the end it ended up looking like a wall full of problems and downfalls in my life, But then i started to categorise them into groups.
YOUR DAY STARTS WHEN THEY ARE IN BED
this is probably the most important routine to get down as soon as possible. trust me. as much as we love our kids, nothing gets done when they are around. not even a 5 minute toilet break for yourself.
so the sooner you establish a bedtime routine for your children the better. also remember just because they are in bed it doesn't mean you can start having a party in the living room!!! be quite as a mouse so they think you have also gone to sleep. it is very important for children to have a routine and a set time for bed. you need to put your foot down and be persistent. it will not be easy at first but stick to it and i promise you it will be worth it.
GET STARTED ON TOMORROW, TONIGHT
I know you might be extremely tiered but you will thank me later. Doesnt matter how late it is, Once your children are fast asleep, thats when your job starts.
firstly lets clean the bomb site up in the living room and then the explosion in the kitchen. do what you can but do try and complete the job so you have less to do tomorrow.
get the washing machine going, bathroom cleaned out. iron while watching something on called aTV (yes i know i was happy to discover that there was something other than pepa pig on TV).
Start making your life easy for the morning, while the kids are in bed, get their uniform ready in a row so its not hard for them to miss, packed lunch and home work bag, everything you can think of that will make the morning school run a bit more easy and faster.
it may seem like the obvious but trust me until you actually try it out you will never know. I remember, i would cry to myself and not wanting to wake up, because i had the dreaded day waiting. but when i got my children in a routine, in bed by 8pm!!!! it was my time. From 8- 12 i would use that time every weekday night to get everything i can think of out of the way, or laid out ready for tomorrow. then it was bed time. and yes you guessed it, i was shattered and found it very easy to fall asleep.
TODAY IS A NEW DAY
wake up!! wake up!!!
i started to set my alarm 10 minutes before 7am which was the time i used to wake up. it was to give me a 10 minutes head start. trust me i know that horrible feeling to wake up in the morning, but think positive and keep on reminding yourself that good things are about to happen because of the small changes you are making now.
waking up 10 min early meant that i can actually use the bathroom without one of the kids banging on the door, i can actually brush my teeth without having to set the TV on their favourite channel. 10 min is all i needed to get from cave-women to a human-women without any interruptions from the little people.
whilst my toast is getting ready and the kettle is boiling, it is time to wake them up.now this is a challenge in its self, but hopefully with their new bedtime routine it should help them. do not give them a choice, take them straight to the bathroom and do what they have to do, take them back to the bedroom and TELL them (not ask) to get ready and put the uniform on, even if it means you having to stand there, to encourage them to go faster ect. just make sure they are ready head to toe so there is no reason to come back in here and waste time.
right breakfast time. i know i should not say this but come on, us mums would do anything for a bit of peace and quiet, so yes i do let them have their breakfast in front of the TV. i have bought 2 small foldable tables which they use to have their breakfast on. they sit there with their program on, warned that if they start fighting while mummy is making their breakfast.............then no TV. trust me it works.
all 3 breakfast comes in, all 3 finishes breakfast finished, while they are finishing off their program its my time to go and put actual clothes on and not just stay in my PJ's, putting a over sized jacket on top to drop the kids off.
time to go and drop them off to school.
LET THE REAL WORK BEGIN
right so you have come back from dropping the kids off. DO NOT GET TOO COMFORTABLE. trust me you will thank me later.
- have a shower/ bath
- take the washing out from last night and hang it up to dry or put it on dry cycle,
- start cooking lunch and dinner. (tip- i always cook in bulk and then put the food in plastic containers and freeze them, i make about a weeks worth at a time. meal prep takes the extra time out of the week leaving you with extra time to enjoy)
- once your household is taken care of then its time to take care of your finance. financial burden can take a toll on us and its never easy. if you have to, then lay everything that needs to be paid on the floor, get a diary and start making notes! what needs to be paid, when, how much, now start planning. i know its not always easy to go out with children and do these things, but thanks to modern day technology everything can be done online.
- do your grocery shopping on line. its a life saver, no longer you have to spend 30 min getting the kids ready and getting them in the car, having a tantrums on the shop floor. choose what you want and have it delivered.
- plan your life, make a budget and be realistic. i knew i didn't want to be "just a mum" for the rest of my life, i know i am able to do more and wanted to do more. use this down time to think about a future career or education or even a social leisure activity.
- for some mums, this down time is already taken up by work or education. but at least you know when you come home, everything is clean, there is food in the fridge cooked and your shopping is due to be delivered at your door step.
most of time we are so busy that we do not give ourself credit. we are supermums and we do it all on our own .there are so many help out there, all you have to do is look.
it starts by taking a small step in organisation to get your thoughts in places. once that is done you will be surprised how much more you can fit in.
always remember it may seem hard at first but i promise, as the kids grow up and you implement other routine in the household,it does get easy xx