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GloPro's avatar

Do you have any single-parent tips and tricks?

Asked by GloPro (8205 points ) 2 weeks ago from iPhone

Have you come up with any tips and tricks to help you juggle it all? I honestly don’t see how a single parent can get it all done, yet so many do!

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12 Answers

Dan_Lyons's avatar

You have to forget about the whole dual parent game and settle in to a reality that you are the sole provider for your family and that you can do it. Then go ahead and just do it.

Always keep an eye out for potential sitters.

canidmajor's avatar

Like @Dan_Lyons says, you just do it. You learn very quickly what is not important, what things you can let slide, how to keep everybody healthy and functioning. Really, as trite and cliched as it sounds, it’s about not sweating the small stuff.

hearkat's avatar

I was a single parent form the time my son was 4½. The key is to be willing to ask for help and to build a strong network of support. For example, the mother of one of my son’s friends lived a couple blocks from the school, so between her, an neighbor and my bff that worked about 5 miles away, there was someone that could pick him up if needed (I worked >40 miles away).

Your support network is also vital in getting you some “you” time so don’t hesitate to give yourself the night off from time-to-time. My ex was deceased, so I didn’t have every-other weekend off like some do when there’s visitation. Being on-call 24/7/365 is draining.

cazzie's avatar

I’ve had to become completely reliant on the state for help. This past year, I’ve had 11 hours a week of a paid, dedicated babysitter who could take my kid to facilities that were owned by that organisation. He went fishing, kayaking, skating, swimming….. they built forts together and he fed him dinner twice a week. That was a really big deal for me because, even when I was married, I never had any sort of help like that. It is the first real, reliable attention he’s had from a male role model and it has made a wonderful difference in his self confidence. I don’t get to use those 11 hours for ‘me’ time… that time is for grocery shopping and being able to work to the end of my day. I finally managed to get my hair done at a salon for the first time in 3 years while the baby sitter looked after my son when I had a day off. But that is going to change now. I won’t be getting the 11 hours a week. They are going to cut it down to about 4 hours a week or one weekend a month where he goes overnight to somewhere. That is almost nothing, I don’t even think I may bother with that provision anymore.

His father is unable to commit to any sort of predictable shared custody arrangement, so I have to just carry on as if I have no help. He might manage a visit for a few hours once or twice a month, but the child welfare office won’t allow him over night visits because of his decaying, unpredictable metal state.

GloPro's avatar

@cazzie One day a month is still one day a month. Don’t give that up.

Have you figured out anything that helps you, like putting grapes and yogurt on the bottom shelf so your kid just might not wake you up at 5 am when he’s hungry? (I know you have a different situation). The “tips and tricks” I refer to are ways you have figured out to make it a little bit easier on yourself. Paper plates and pretend picnics when you know you are too tired to clean a kitchen. Making a fort/tent in the living room every weekend so you can wash the kid’s bed sheets and have an extra day to get them back on. Swapping play time supervision in the afternoon with your neighbor so one of you can take a power nap.

One woman I know pretended to go to church. She’d drop the kids off at Sunday School, go across the street to Panerra, an relax for an hour.

longgone's avatar

My aunt, when her kids were small, used to prepare entire picknicks for the children to gobble up instead of waking her early.

hearkat's avatar

We did use paper plates A LOT. I also didn’t stress about a lot of the small shit – like having a spotless house.

I gave him a lot of responsibility for his own things, like laundry. He raked leaves and washed cars and shoveled snow around the neighborhood for spending money. These things taught him how to appreciate the value of things, and he takes good care of his stuff.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

Yes paper plates!
Have you seen that diaper commercial where new Mommy is trying to carry stroller, playpen, diaper bag with 400 pounds of nursery stuff, walks out the door without baby, cut to second child, baby strapped to mom, grabs diaper bag and some Cheerios and tells the toddler, “Let’s go”?
With time you see the extra crap you are dragging around, you resent it, you stop it. Each person’s life is different, and you have to trim the excess where it suits you.
Big hint; kids don’t die if they can’t do softball, AND piano lessons, AND soccer, AND scouts, AND church, AND paintball wars, AND mathletes, AND….............

hearkat's avatar

My son learned pretty quickly that he’s have to actually carry his stuff himself when we were out and about. I purposely carried a purse that was basically a wallet with a strap. It wasn’t until he was in High School that he went basketball crazy, but I chose to make that commitment – it brought us closer through his teen years after a rough pre-teen period.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Prioritizing, focusing on balance rather than perfection and accepting appropriate help when it’s offered and finding some personal time are the essentials.

Spending time with your children, providing healthy food, clean clothes and a safe, hygienic environment are the priorities. Your house doesn’t have to be perfect but you do need to find time to cuddle your children and read a book with them (or whatever works for you). That’s more important than a perfect house. Healthy food is essential for all of you. Making sure you build in some time for yourself is also essential.

Don’t be too proud to ask for and accept help (as @hearkat suggests, your children can do chores and are more resilient and capable than we often give them credit for). Being a single parent can be very lonely and isolating. So find time to get out with adults, even if it’s with your children.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t have kids, but I know some of my friends who are divorced parents have an easier time now than when married, because they were so fucking pissed off their spouse was not doing anything to help, or worse was just another person to cater to. Joy Bejar many times on the show The View said once she was divorced it was much easier to parent, because she didn’t have to worry about checking with her husband. She just did what she thought was best and didn’t need to worry about compromising or conflicting child rearing views.

All the people I speak of had at least one parents (grandparent for the children) who helped rear the children though. Helped watch the kids while they were at work. A couple of them had to relax their ideas about what good parenting is. Like one friend thought it was awful for her kids to ride a bus to school or stay in aftercare in school. She really judged moms who did these things. Push came to shove and sometimes her son rode the bus. The bus was not the worst thing. Then eventually she became annoyed at her mom and she tried aftercare at the school, and they actually really enjoyed aftercare, because there were organized activities and just being home with their grandmother was getting a little boring for them.

So, my advice is be open to advice from other parents and be willing to let go of some judgments you have made in the past. I don’t mean you are a judgmental person, I have no idea, but I mean be open to changing your definition of what makes a good mother.

I just thought of one other thing. Every woman I know who focused a lot on the house being perfectly spotless and similar types of extreme rigidness all Regret they were like that when their kids were young. Not that they think mayhem would be ok, but the amount of time they spent making things perfect they all feel took away from time with their children. People talk a lot about quality time, and I think that is important, but I think children, especially young ones, want quantity more than anything.

cazzie's avatar

I have a difficult kid. His IQ is crazy high and he has quite extreme ADHD. The BEST thing I’ve done is avail myself of any State programmes set up to assist single parents. One of those things was a program called PMTO. https://www.pmto.no/en I had lost myself in a lot of anger and resentment, going through everything, and this program helped me see the bad habits I had gotten into that involved my child and it also helped me see the good stuff I was doing, too and gave me loads of confidence and completely mellowed out my parenting style.

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