School runs, work, meals and chores — there’s so much to manage and get through.
As Money Saving Mom says, “Mothering in any sense requires serious time management, but when the number of children [increases] and their father leaves, it becomes an essential life skill.”
We know single moms are superheroes already, but we’ve got a few tips to help you save time and get through every day with ease.
Double up on duties
Whether it’s bath time or playtime, find a way to double up on the activity you are doing, for example:
- When the kids are playing outside, do a little gardening or pull out a few weeds.
- Get the kids to do their homework in the kitchen, where you can tidy up or do the dishes while helping them.
- Clean the bathroom while you are watching the kids at bath time.
- Make daily exercise (for you and them) a family activity every afternoon.
- Listen to audio books or podcasts while driving, to catch up on your favourite authors or to learn a new skill.
See other great tips to help your child with their homework >>
Share and care
Team up with other single moms, and make arrangements to swap duties or to partner with them:
- Pick one afternoon that they care for your kids while you do your groceries, then swap the roles on another afternoon selected by them.
- If they like cooking and you like ironing, swap chores and help each other out where it counts.
- Consider carpooling or rostering car shifts for the school run or when after-school activities are over.
If you co-parent, maximize the way you spend your alone time. Draw up a schedule like you would any other day, and pencil in time for chores, socializing and relaxing (yes, you need downtime too). This will give you a little structure to your time without the kids, rather than winging it and not achieving as much as you hoped.
If you can afford to pay for help, the extra time you save could be worth its weight in gold. If you have a sitter or a nanny, consider asking them if they would also be willing to do some light chores around the house. In many cases they will already pick up after your children and might even do small tasks, like unload the dishwasher or take out the trash. But if you need more help, negotiate a system that will work for both of you. If your children are older, be sure they are helping with tasks around the house that are appropriate for their ages. Hiring a housekeeper, a laundry service or even a dog walker could help make your life a little bit easier.
More tips on getting organized and living a healthier lifestyle >>
Try to wake up just 20 minutes before your kids do, and use this time to do any or all of the following:
- Do quick chores or a small tidying up of living spaces.
- Pull meat out of the freezer or precut vegetables for dinner that night.
- Sort through your mail or pay bills.
- Put a load of laundry in so that it’s done by the time you get home.
When it really does get too much, reach out to a support group, where you can meet like-minded single moms. MOMS Canada and Mom and Mentors allow single moms to meet and learn from one another’s experiences as well as offer a sympathetic ear.