There is no easy road in parenting, but things are especially difficult when you’re doing it on your own. It could be that your partner is working a different schedule, away on business, or even a relationship breakdown. Whatever the cause, you’ve found yourself solo parenting and wondering how you’ll make it all work. It isn’t easy, especially when you’re used to having your partner in crime by your side, but with these six tips, you’ll be able to keep your life organized and manageable while solo parenting.
6. Have a Calendar / Event Schedule
The best way to stay organized when you’re parenting on your own is to be prepared for your kids events and appointments as much as possible. Using a wall calendar, an app on your phone, or a planner, have a set place where you can write out all the necessary activities at the beginning of each week. This will give you a visual representation of what you need to get done and what days will be the most chaotic. If you’re particularly stressed about forgetting something important, set an alarm on your phone as a reminder. If you’re more digitally minded, try an app like Cozi. For pen and paper types, we like Erin Condren planners.
5. Create a Scheduling System
This doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t need to color coordinate everyone’s activities and timeframes (unless that’s your thing, then go for it). Something simple like noting bills in red, sports in blue, and appointments in green will give you easy visual cues throughout the week to help you feel prepared. If schedule conflicts arise, deal with them as soon as you can to avoid unnecessary stress.
4. Transparency at Work
If you’re struggling with the transition of parenting by yourself, be sure to keep open lines of communication with your employer. This doesn’t mean you should slack off at work, but if you’re struggling to balance after school pickup and work deadlines, see how you can work together to schedule your work so that you can get your tasks done without missing out on your kids. Whether it means adapting your schedule or planning meetings for different times, work with your coworkers to come up with a plan that works for everyone.
3. Housework Planning
If you already have set days or a set system for how you keep your housework in order, you’re off to a good start. Having a predictable plan for how to get the dishes, laundry, mowing and other tasks done in addition to the rest of your busy schedule will help you feel like you have more control over your life. If you don’t have a set routine, pick times when you’re not busy to get longer tasks done. Find ways to have your kids pitch in more with chores. Your house will never look perfect, but feeling like you’re successful in tackling those little tasks goes a long way in feeling accomplished overall.
2. Eat with Friends/Family Often
One of the most challenging aspects of solo parenting, whether it’s for a few days or a few months, is the loneliness of it all. Being alone with your kids, particularly small children, makes it easy to become more socially isolated than you may otherwise be. Plan to have a dinner night with your family or friends to break up your routine, make the time go faster and blow off some steam. While this isn’t a direct way to stay organized, it helps clear your mind and relieve stress so you can stay on top of your busy life.
1. Reach Out to Other Parents
Asking for help isn’t easy, especially for those of us who prefer to be independent (myself included). Knowing you’ll be parenting on your own can make it easy to feel that doing everything on your own means you’re proving you’re capable of handling your kids. In reality, asking for help, whether it be letting another parent bring your kid home from practice, or letting your best friend come help you clean your kitchen, accepting and asking for help from others will give you time to plan out your week, get errands done, and anything else you need to accomplish to make your days easier.
There are going to be days where you aren’t sure how you will make it through work, your family life, and still make time to take care of the house, but the important thing to remember is this isn’t forever. Being organized will help you feel like you have control over your busy life, but don’t stress too much when things don’t go as planned. Make time for yourself to read a book, have a girls night, or do whatever it is that makes you feel refreshed. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of your family.