A friend of mine has been a single mom since pregnancy in a small town where she has friends but not her family (she moved from her original city 6 years ago) so this has given her some wisdom on the topic. In fact, she gets asked very often: “How do you manage it on your own?” Well, this is what she told me and I’d love to share her story with you, my dear readers…
“When faced with this question, I’m always quite humble and try not to make a big deal out of it. I mean, come one, many people out there have a much harder time than me. I can´t imagine being a single mom and having to work full time, for example. But it´s true that being alone with a kid all the time has its challenges.
So I organized a few guidelines that had helped me along the way:
1. Trust yourself – All women are designed from birth to be mothers. We have all the physical and psychological apparatus for this role. Be confident that you can do this. Mostly what your child needs is you and you to be there. So, don´t worry, you can do it.
2. Be organized – Make sure you have what you will need at hand before you need it. This means that if you have a small baby, you need his changer ready with diapers and clean clothes at all times. When you bathe him, his towel and cosmetics have to be in place. When you are going to cook, you need the food there. Prepare all you need when the baby is sleeping. Make sure everything is in order.
3. Ask for help – This might be the most difficult thing to do if you like to be independent. But once you start doing it, you’ll be surprised at how people will love to help you (some maybe not, you´ll know promptly). Not only you will get help, you will also get more people coming and going to your house, which is a pleasure when you are alone with your kid. I had a good friend bringing me groceries and cooking for me some nights. Sometimes all you need is company, an easy thing to get.
4. Read and educate yourself – When you don’t know how to deal with something, research on the topic. Don´t go asking just anyone. I´m sure there are people out there who you trust, but nothing is more accurate than finding the last studied stuff on education, raising babies, cooking and etc. Prepare yourself before doubts arise by reading books constantly.
If you are breastfeeding, don´t lose time watching TV or on your Facebook while you do it, have a book always at hand. I read so much while breastfeeding, when I had doubts I knew where to find the answers already (I read fun books too, don’t you think I´m a psychopath).
5. Cook for extra people and freeze portions – Cooking in advance is obviously a time saver. One way to make it easy is simply cooking big meals instead of meals for only you and your kid. I always make sure I make lunch for two days in a row (and even an extra portion that goes in the freezer). It´s just silly to cook everyday lunch and dinner. A waste of time you can’t afford to have. With this simple action, you reduce your cooking time to half already.
6. Sleep early (or when your baby sleeps) – You are on your own. You need all your energy there when you are up. That´s it, forget about staying up watching movies till late too often or talking on the phone or even working. Once you have everything organized for the next day, commit to being rested. Have a day or maybe two during the week when you have some kind of fun or extra work but really watch your sleep like if it was your child’s.
7. Maintain a Hobby – Never stop learning or enjoying something you love because you “have no time.” You can always find time for a passion. And you need it. This will recharge your batteries like sleeping. Make sure you don´t quit everything you love for the sake of taking care of your child. For me, it’s surfing. When I was pregnant, carrying a little baby or not, I always found time to surf. Sometimes it’s less often or I have to make a pause, but I always go back to it.”
This is what she told me. I hope you find this helpful. And if you have anything to add to the list, just say it in the comments. It´s funny that you can apply this list to anyone’s life, not only single mom’s need some organization. That’s what I’ve learned myself in my great little family and a loving husband.