As a single mother, many times you have seemingly endless demands on your time. You may have to work long hours or two jobs, run your kids around to afterschool activities, doctor appointments, keep a check on your children’s grades, attend parent-teacher conferences, cook, clean, spend quality time with the kids, find time to date, and a host of other tasks. At times it can all become a bit overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a very involved support system in place.
The Household Depends Solely On You
As you already know when mom is sick, the world stands still for the kids. When you’re doing everything on your own, you simply can’t afford for things to compound, because once you’re back on your feet it doubles your workload, because now you have to play catch up. Knowing this is true, you may feel that you can’t afford to get physically sick. The same applies to becoming mentally sick. If you allow yourself to become mentally overloaded, it can (and probably has at some point) cause you to shut down mentally. This will have the same compounding effect on your to-do list as being physically ill.
You eat well, take a multi-vitamin, and exercise but…
Many of us are very aware of how to take care of ourselves physically, but are you also taking care of your mental health? Some of the signs that you may be heading for a mental overload include but are not limited to:
- Chronic fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Poor anger management
Your mental health is just as important, if not more important than, your physical health. Here are a few things you need to start doing right now today in order to keep yourself mentally refreshed.
One Hour Everyday Belongs To You
You need time to clear your mind each day. A time where you don’t have to worry about doing your daughter’s hair, getting your son’s haircut, throwing in a load of laundry, or listening to other people’s problems. Choose two separate times throughout the day (like before work and at lunchtime, or before work and after work) where you will spend 30 minutes in quiet solitude doing absolutely nothing but deep relaxing.
During this time, put on your headphones and listen to your favorite slow music, a calming nature sound, relaxation track, or a deep meditation track. Google Play has a meditation track by Glenn Harold named “Relax and Sleep Well”. Listening to this track with my headphones, totally letting go, I always become so relaxed that I fall asleep before its finished. Not only is it ALWAYS the absolute most restful sleep, but I wake up after 30 minutes feeling better than I do after a full night’s sleep. I highly recommend it.
Create Your Own Standards
Stop trying to live up to your family’s, friends, or societies standards. Some single mothers seem to have it so together that they can attend every meeting, every function, keep their house immaculate, cook gourmet meals, and look polished 24/7. That doesn’t have to be your reality and you don’t have to be ashamed that it’s not. If you miss a few meetings, show up late to some functions, feel like you clean endlessly and the house is still always messy, make sure the kids have a hot meal although it’s not Instagram post-worthy, and only really have a chance to dress up on your days off…..so be it.
As long as you and your children are comfortable and happy, don’t beat yourself up about it. Comparing your life to the life of others is a surefire way of hindering your own happiness. There will always be someone seemingly doing better than you, just like there will always be someone worse off than you. Be happy with where you are. As long as you feel you’re doing your personal best, that’s all that matters. Choose to be happy with yourself.
Being more organized will better help you to more effectively use your time. This allows for both more productivity and more leisure time. This article from Women’s Day has the best, most extensive list I’ve found of things you can do to become much more organized. Use it in conjunction with my Mommy Organizer which you can find right there at the top of this page. You’ll definitely appreciate how much being organized can help de-stress your life.
You’ve Got This Mom!
Being a single mother can be a bit overwhelming at times. Following these steps can make working the long hours, running the kids around, and everything else you have to do move more efficiently. Find your peace, because you will be a much better mother when you first take care of yourself.