Sunday, March 21, 2010

Happy Single Parents Day!!

Yes, it's that time of year again: March 21 is Single Parents Day. Last year, I posted why I'm grateful to be a single parent. This year, I'm going to post things I've learned thus far about single parenting:

Accept help. People wouldn't offer if they didn't feel they could do it. (And hey, if they do offer and they can't, then they'll learn to not offer what they can't!)But for the most part, anyone who actually offers to babysit, take you out for lunch, pay a bill for you...they really want to help, and you're actually doing them a favor by accepting the help!

Reach out for help when you need it.
I suffered for a long time from the "must do everything myself" syndrome. Like I needed to somehow prove I'm a single parent or something. I finally realized, with the help of friends, that's just silly.

Make routines. They say the routines help the children; I believe they help the adult! Pretty soon, you stop forgetting to make the lunches/do the laundry/sign the homework because it's built into your system. (FlyLady really helped me with this.)

But be flexible. Things are going to happen. Your perfect plan for what you're going to get accomplished at work will be ruined when the school calls and you have to pick up a sick child.

Be where you are. I know a lot of working moms (single or not) think about their kids when they're at work and their work when they're home. Then they feel guilty for not being where they're not. Again, silly! If you know your children are safe, then go ahead and focus on that project, that conference call. And then you can leave work behind when you go home and actually spend quality time with your kids!

Forget multi-tasking: one thing at a time. Have you ever hit send on an email because you were also having a conversation and later realized you hadn't actually finished writing the email? Burnt dinner because you were trying to empty the dishwasher at the same time? Told your children "yes" to something you don't really want them to do, but they totally caught you off guard? Yep, I've done every single one of things. I've since learned that my brain has to be focused on one thing and one thing alone (as much as possible, anyway).

One day at a time. I commented to someone earlier this week that the only times I've felt complete despair, it's because I think that my life will be like this (whatever this may be at the time) for the rest of my life. My life today is nothing like I thought it would be 10 years ago. Even 5! I now know that we don't actually know anything about what the future holds. So living in the moment is all you really can do.

Those are my words of wisdom, for what they're worth.

To all the single parents out there, Happy Single Parents Day!! Please take a moment to pat yourself on the back today...and then hug and kiss your children who are everything they are because of you!!


Tara R. said...

Happy Single Parents Day!!

Excellent list, great advice for any parent. I need to work on setting routines and focusing on one day at a time.

MindyMom said...

Wise words!

I have found that "accepting help" and "asking for help" are the most difficult for me but you are so right that we should!

Kristine said...

Happy day! Thanks for reminding me :)

The Single Mothers Chronicles said...

hi - I didn't know there was such a thing! Thanks for sharing this and I did enjoy your wise advice.

Anonymous said...

I had no idea! This is an absolutely awesome post; I love it!! Thank you for the reminders and advice. Happy day!

jenn said...

Great advice. I should follow all of these more often. :)

Happy single parents day!

Cat said...

Happy single parent's day! All very good advice- I'm trying to incorporate routine in more and more.

Single Mama NYC said...

Truly great advice; I am both master and struggling student in each of these wise lessons. :-)

So happy you shared this post with me. I'm looking forward to coming back here often!