As single parents, we have little time to ourselves. It is the nature of the job. Aside from when the kids are in school, we are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our time off is known as sleep most days. With the struggle to get time alone also comes the struggle to spend one-on-one time with each child. When I was married I could take one, leave two and give us all that special mommy-and-me time we needed. But now it is a real challenge.
For over a year, I have been trying to come up with ideas for how to spend more one-on-one time with each of my children. That time is desperately needed to bond and build trust that will last a lifetime. Below are some ways I have been able to accomplish that goal.
Sometimes you can get time alone in a busy house. It is hard, but it can be done! One of my daughters and I have a cookie recipe we make together. The other two come in and try to help, but they lose interest. She and I sit and talk and ignore the other two running around. She knows she gets my undivided attention when we are baking together.
Yes, I know. We only get so much quiet time. But waking a child thirty minutes early, spending that time having breakfast and talking to them can do everyone a world of good! Just one day a week per child still gives you the "me time" you need to be an attentive mom.
I realize this is along the lines of getting a child up early, but with school starting so early sometimes this one is a better option. It is harder to accomplish because other children will see you letting one stay up and may protest. But if you can get it done, a bedtime story with just one child is amazing!
This one is harder to do, as we are all on a budget these days. But I have decided that it could just be worth it to spend a few hours a week with one of my kids. I have it set up so that every few weeks my sitter comes and I take a child to dinner. I take the money out of the grocery budget, or I don't buy that one movie I want. I can do that later. They need me now.
Oh, I know. I am a terrible mom for suggesting that one child miss school for no reason. But I don't think a child will miss her education by being pulled out of school a few hours early to go to the park with mom. Memories can be made that last a lifetime.
We all have friends who could use a night off! Offer to watch their kids in exchange for a night when they watch yours. On those nights, go on a walk or head to the local ice cream parlor with one of your kids. It's valuable alone time without the budget-buster!
With a lack of options comes the creativity to solve a problem. Instead of having all of the kids pile on the bed for a movie with mom, put one or two in the living room and let one curl up with you. Set up a coloring board on your bed, and you and your child can color and talk and be together while the other ones are occupied.
The challenges of being a single parent can be overwhelming, especially when you have to let go of the things you valued when you were married, such as one-on-one time with a child. But with creativity and determination, you can get it back and reap the benefits it has for you and your children!
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