A huge thank you to this month’s featured mom! It’s so easy to gloss over our lives when we write them up, and make them sound the way we wish they would go, instead of how they really go day by day. I asked this mom to be totally honest about her daily reality and the challenges she faces, and she delivered! Big big love to all the single moms out there – you’re killing it.
Tell us about your family make-up and where you live (city, suburb, town, or country)?
My family consists of myself and my almost-6-year old son. We live in a city, simply because of where my job is, with dreams of living in the country or at least a smaller city.
Are you a stay-at-home, work-from-home, or working-out-of-the-house mom?
I work outside of the house full time.
What does your daily/weekly schedule look like?
Rushed. Stressful. Running after time non-stop, but never quite catching up.
Week days, we wake up when my alarm goes off sometime around 6:45 and then I proceed to snooze for at least 15 minutes… or more. Or I snuggle with my son, if he feels up to it. This puts me in late mode. But I live for these moments, so…
I get up and make breakfast for my son (either eggs and fruit or French toast and fruit, sometimes overnight oats and herbal tea.) While he eats, I prep my food for work and my coffee. 20 onces! Then work for me, daycare – now kindergarten – for him.
He usually gets picked up by his dad around 4pm and they go swimming or skating and he brings him back home for 5:30 or 6. I get home around 5:30 pm. I proceed to prep supper while he plays. Then we eat around 6:45 or so. I finish in max 15-20 minutes, but he can take 45 minutes easy… which makes us late for bed time, which I would like at 7:30 but actually happens at 8:30.
After eating, he goes on the toilet… for at least 15 minutes. At least. Then he gets angry when I say it’s time for teeth and bath and this is when the fun starts. He wants to play and runs all over, while I am exhausted and loose patience cause I have reached the end of my patience and energy…so it often ends in loud voices or threats (of no story time) from me and a resentful compliance from him… Then, after teeth and shower, we are in bed for story and songs around 8:30 with final lights out by 8:45.
Then next day we start the whole thing again.
Weekends, strangely, he wakes me up around 6:15 or earlier… So I send him playing in the living room (we share a single bedroom), while I fall asleep and am awakened every 5 minutes by his questions or comments on everything he can possibly think of… I begrudgingly get up and allow him 30-40 minutes of TV while I get a shower, do dishes and prepare a more laborious breakfast (crepes every Saturday). He eats fruit while watching TV.
Then we eat and play and go about our day. Sometimes Saturday mornings is when he has his activities with me scheduled – so either ski lessons or guitar or forest school. Then nap time (we both need it) and then we go out for activity or stay in till evening when he goes to his dad’s house until Monday after school.
How do you balance childcare/work/home responsibilities with your partner? Do you and your partner get to spend time together, just the two of you?
I don’t have a partner, so all my responsibilities are on my shoulders. I sometimes do all my cleaning, cooking, washing, grocery shopping on Sundays, when my son is with his dad… but then I end up tired and frustrated. So, I sometimes do some of that on Saturday morning, while my son gets frustrated that he does not have my attention… but he is getting used to it now, slowly. This way, Sundays are little less heavy.
I also sometimes skip some tasks. Cooking is the first to go… but then my budget suffers. Or some cleaning, though not too much cause it drives me insane if things are untidy or unclean for too long.
Do you have any other help in your life? (childcare from friends or family/a babysitter/a housecleaner/a neighborhood kid mowing your lawn?)
Lord… that would be heaven! Not really. My ex helps to bring my garbage downstairs if I leave it by my door when he picks up my son. And he does help with my laundry cause the machine in my building broke and I now do my laundry at his house. Lot of fun, that is! But he is kind enough to do some of it for me so I don’t have to go in between each load.
How much sleep do you get right now? Is it enough?
Not nearly enough. Though I am exhausted in the evening, once I put my son to bed, I go do dishes and sometimes prep food for the next day… and then I am so frustrated that I need some down time even if it eats up my sleep time. So I end up watching TV (youtube or something) too late… till 11 or midnight. Not smart, but… can’t really help it.
Do you feel that you get enough time for yourself personally and/or do you practice any self-care?
Oh my lord… I am so bad with self care. My so-called self-care is toxic. Binge-watching TV and binge-eating ice-cream… Other than that, not much. I do some Zumba at work sometimes and I do a meditation at work sometimes over lunch hour. But nothing else, and I have been thinking that perhaps I should do better for myself.
Do you have any tricks for maximizing your time? (Occupying kids while you get something done/fitting in quality time with your family/general life hacks)
Well, I invite my son to cook with me on the weekend. I let him wash the floors (he loves it). I let him watch TV when I do dishes on Saturday mornings. And I dedicate my Saturdays to him alone (except when I clean a bit). We have Friday pizza-movie night. We make pizza together (sometimes we buy) and then we chill with a movie or show that he chooses. It is an easy and low-stress to end the week. I steal time in the morning every chance I get (when my son is so inclined) to just play in bed and hug and have a few sweet moments.
What do you struggle with?
Time. Or lack thereof.
Food. I am not a very good cook, nor a very imaginative one. That, plus tiredness adds to a lot of bought meals or frozen meals. I do, however, have months or weeks at a time when I meal plan and it works better, but I don’t do it when I am too busy at work or too tired. I also struggle with convincing… getting my son to do what he must do (night routine mostly).
What do you love about your current life?
I adore my son. I love my new job.