It’s been a long while but I am coming to you today with some insight on how I balance a relationship, co-parenting, “me time”, and career all while being a SINGLE MOMMA!
Relationship- I think it is very important to be dating or with someone who knows and understand your children are your top priority. When you have a partner who is understanding of your priorities it makes dating that much easier. Be clear and honest about your children when dating. Let your guy know upfront that you have children and the majority of the time the guy you are dating will be accepting of that and will respect your time and your decisions you make regarding spending time with him. Use your own discernment about when to introduce him to your children. I think it is wise to wait due to the possible psychological issues involved with children growing attachments to people, but again, use your own discernment. Mainly balancing a relationship isn’t hard when dealing with an understanding partner. Once you allow him to meet your children, then the dates can be outings with the children included! Here are some tips on how to keep a happy relationship while being a single parent:
Talk on the phone- Are the children sleeping? Call him up!
Lunch- Are the kiddos at daycare and you are off? Use that time to go to lunch!
Family outings- Has he met the children already? All of yall can go to the museum!
It especially gets easier once you are comfortable enough to have him around the children!
Co parenting-This is one of those things that takes a lot of maturity. So the majority of us women did not plan to be single parents. Ideally we want the father to our children to be as active as possible and the same even if the relationship didn’t work out as planned. If the relationship did not work, this does not mean you are enemies. Once a child is born you are all connected until death do yall part.. Marriage without the love, rings and commitment. Ok maybe not a marriage, but in essence you have to continuously see the other parent for many years to come. Communication is the biggest factor when it comes to co parenting. If the father of your child is at all present in the child’s life, do the best YOU can to create a very positive and meaningful relationship with the father. You do not have to be romantically involved with each other to keep a healthy relationship between you, baby and father. Balancing this part of your life comes with being content where you are as mother and father. It also helps to keep most conversations about the children and talking out differences over the phone. Text messages can be misinterpreted and cause unnecessary tension. The best thing for making things simple here would be to always try to be considerate and understanding with the other parent. You are a team working on a multi-billion dollar project together. Your child. I’m preaching to myself here.
Career-When it comes to career, I simply love what I do. My passion is education and working with children in my community. So here’s my secret to “work life” balance, do what you love to do. There’s no other way to put this. Do not continue in a job that stresses you! Find your passion and either go to school for it, start your business or do both. If you are spending 40 hours plus a week somewhere, you should feel productive in what you are doing and enjoying the people you are with. Being a mom or anyone for that matter, wherever you spend much of your time, should be enjoyable to you. Sure work gets overwhelming at times, but make sure the way you make your money is rewarding to you. Balancing my work life is pretty simple for me but I had to work to get it this way. Keeping everything organized and scheduled to be completed ahead of time is something I live by. Even before the children I prioritized things to the best of my ability. Getting a job you love doesn’t really come easy, you have to work for this part of your life to get a little easier. Dropping off children and picking them from up childcare can be a hassle. I was a little bit more strategic in my approach. I work near the preschool where my daughters attend that way I could drop them off and be on time to work and also be on time picking them up before the preschool’s closing time. I think with being a parent you should be very selective in choosing your work environment. Think of:
Parking – Free and nothing else. Should not have to pay to go to work.
Distance – Time it takes you to get from home to work and work to daycare. TRAFFIC!
Hours -You want consistency here. 8-4 9-5 Remember you have to get the kids by a certain time!
Days – Mon through Fri only.. why because childcare is CLOSED on weekends!
Type of job- Do what you love or something you can tolerate! Do not suffer in silence!
Money – You have a family and you know what you need and are worth!
You may not get everything you want from a job but try to get at least 4 of 5 of what you want in where you make your money.
MMMMEEEEEE TIMMMMEEEE! – Dear mommas understand that if you do not give yourself time to recharge, you are going to blow up, crash and burn. “Me time” is so important and I am going to share with you how to fit this in your schedule. If you are like me, you are up at 5:45AM and headed to daycare to drop off the children and get to work. One thing is for sure, I use lunch time to get some quality time to myself. Grab your food, headphones and your cell phone (alarm clock) and head outside. That’s just lunch I get about 45 minutes to relax. Once I am home, I spend some time usually reading or playing with my girls, I feed them, bathe them and put them to bed by 8:30PM. Between the time I put them to bed and 10:00PM that’s “ME TIME.” Very often a family member or friend of mine asks to take the girls off my hands. I’ll use that time to hang out with my girlfriends or just relax at home. Again that’s more “ME TIME.” One night out of the week I like to attend mid week service at my church so I have my daughter’s father take one baby and my momma takes the other baby. I normally run by the grocery store to get some things I need also. Although I am not resting I’m able to get a break from changing diapers! I’m saying all this to say you may can fit some time to yourself in your daily schedule. The days you are off from work and your children are at daycare, take that time to relax yourself. Clean up if you need to but don’t use all that time laboring. Once you have a positive relationship with the father of your children ask him to relieve you sometimes. It’s ok to ask for help. Ask your momma and your siblings when you just need to get away. Leave your babies with individuals you trust. We’re superwomen but at the same time we are human first. The only way you will be a great parent is if you are well rested and a functional parent. Don’t forget about you momma.
Other “ME TIME” you have but didn’t know it.
When the children are napping or sleep. (Soak in the tub)
When the children are at daycare and you are not working.
When you get off early and you have 4 hours until pickup time at preschool. (Good time to workout)
When the children spend the weekend with their father. ( Go crazy)
There are some mothers trying to balance all these things along with other things such as school and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The most important thing I learned in my journey of motherhood is although you are a single parent, you have to put your pride to the side and ask for the assistance you need from your family. Single or not motherhood is not hard, overwhelming maybe, but not hard. It’s actually what you make it.
I always compare the overwhelming feeling I felt in undergrad with the overwhelming feelings I feel as a mother. It is identical to me. When I was in school I had to ask for help from my peers and my family. There were times when I just did not understand some things. And that is how it is as a single parent. You are new to almost every issue that arise. You may not always have the father of your child to ask questions, but you have someone. Ask them. There are people who genuinely love you and your children. There are many people in your life who have been through what you are going through and wouldn’t mind helping you but you don’t know until you reach out to them.
Do not give up on yourself, you got little people calling you momma. Remember this is not hard. This is a very beautiful phase of your life that you are learning. Learning something new requires patience and persistence. It also sometimes makes us a little uncomfortable. We eventually get the hang of it and we get better. Like learning to ride a bike, or learning to swim, you get stronger. Same with motherhood.
Without it you’ll either feel way up over your head or so far down you feel like you’re drowning. Balance is everything mommas. Peace.