You would have heard: “It takes a village to raise a child. But in case you do not have a village or the resources to help you through it all, here are practicable tips on how to effortlessly manage a household as a single mum.
1. Plan Ahead
The key to success is planning. Be it schooling, your job, or successfully managing a household as a single mum, you need a skeletal roadmap. You need a strategy of sorts and a plan on how to achieve it.
If your kids are a bit grown, you can have a weekly family sit-down to discuss the best ways possible on how the home will be smoothly run.
If not, you can make it a solo date with your calendar/to-do app.
Sundays are a good day to sit and plan.
List out all you hope to achieve on a daily for the rest of the week.
Not only will this habit give you a semblance of direction, it will also inspire the release of endorphins (happy hormones) every time you check a task off your list.
2. Go Bulk
At least for tasks as shopping and cooking that you can do in bulk, please do so.
Dealing with responsibilities as a single mum might not afford you the room to do your grocery or other types of shopping more than one day in the week.
You can make after work on Fridays your grocery shopping day and the day after (Saturdays) for cooking.
Save up your perishables in the fridge and non-perishables in a cool dry place.
Make your stews, soups, and sauces that will last at least one week and store them up in the fridge.
Not only will prepping in bulk save you time and sanity, it will also you money too. So, why not?
3. Use Tech To Your Advantage.
Smart assistants like Amazon’s Echo and Google Home can do everything from acting as reminders to finding handymen/local businesses to help around the house.
From reading you the morning headlines and the day’s weather to making hands-free calls.
With these support systems, ordering food and household items directly to your door would be easy. They can also help with kids homework, plus reading them stories.
You can even get these features on your smartphone, in a portable form. Use technology to your advantage to make the work of managing your household as a single mum easier.
4. Build A Support System
It could be a nanny, coworkers, friends, family members, and loved ones, who can babysit on busy days, keep the kids company during late nights at the office, or even help out in the house when deadlines are looming.
Build a support system comprised of the other relationships in your life so you won’t have to do everything on top of the single parenting all on your own.
If your kids are a bit grown, allow them to be more independent by giving them tasks to help out with.
If not, have family and friends support you and remember not to feel guilty about it. You’d be surprised to learn that a lot of people would be happy to help out.
5. Learn To Say No
Most single mums are super compassionate people.
I know this, you do too, and so does more than half the rest of the world.
This is why you need to ‘proof’ your emotions and toughen up to say “No” when you have to.
Learn to say no to your kids making requests you better judgment knows should be declined, and take time to explain to them the reason why it has to be so.
It’s only normal that what could have been a reasonable request from your kids one day can be an absolute no-go on another. Who knows? they may even learn to follow your example.
This same attitude should be applied to work. If you are stressed, overwhelmed, or underappreciated, it may be more helpful to bring the issue(s) to your boss or HR personnel’s attention than to let the negative emotions build up. Learn to say no when your physical/mental bandwidth is being strained.
6. Work With Your Employer To Find A Schedule That Works For You
Have a sit down with your employer and talk about organising your schedule so that you have enough hours to make a suitable amount of money.
Also, make out time to be with your child/ren.
And when a resolution has been reached, aim to have a consistent routine so that know when you will be home and when you’ll be at work.
If your job requires you to work irregular hours, try to negotiate with your employer to ensure that you’re home either in the mornings or evenings.
This way, you’ll be able to help your child get ready for their day and spend some time with them before bedtime.
This will also help to ease a child who’s nervous about being away from you for long periods of time.
If your employer isn’t understanding of your family conditions, consider talking to your coworkers about swapping shifts whenever possible to fit your schedule.
7. Find Positive Role Models For Your Child
Running an effective home as a single mum sometimes means being on the lookout for trustworthy individuals who can be good role models or mentors to them.
Point out some of the good virtues that these individuals let off, and talk with your kid about what makes someone a good person.
In some cases, when a child’s other parent isn’t involved in their life, they may feel lost without the extra guidance.
For instance, if you’re recently divorced, you might ask a sibling, trusted friend, or one of your parents for help.
You can also use TV shows, decent social media channels, and books to talk with your kid about what it means to be a good person.
8. Track Your Funds
Make a budget and do your best to adhere to it. It is essential that you keep track of your monthly spendings, and make note of where your money is going.
Add up how much you’re spending for rent, transportation, groceries, bills, utilities, childcare, and other expenses.
Break them into categories to see where you’re spending the most money and if you’re not pleased with the results, consider ways that you could make more money or spend less.
Identify what things aren’t essential for you and your child/ren (eating out for example) and source cheaper alternatives for some items.
When you make your monthly budget, take out your savings first. Leave out a little sum for unexpected costs, like car repairs, house maintenance, etc.
Build an “emergency fund” to cover 6 months of expenses in case you aren’t able to work or lose your job.
This stash will ensure that you have time to get back on your feet without having to worry about money during those months.
9. Stay Positive Even When Things Get Hard.
There will be some grey days no matter how much you try to play by the rules.
When they come, try to redirect your thoughts to things that you can control.
When it starts getting overwhelming, take a step back, and remind yourself that you’re doing the best that you can.
And remember, there’s no such thing as perfect, and you don’t have to do it all.
Yes, it’s easier said than done, but putting less pressure on yourself will likely reduce the stress both you and your kids feel.
Such are the times to lean on your support system and give yourself a much-needed break. You deserve it.
As a single mum, you will face many trials and triumphs over the years as your child grows into an adult—they are bound to happen.
10. Establish Rules, Consequences, And Rewards, And Discuss Them With Your Child
From time to time, have a talk with your child about how you expect them to behave. Also inform them of what will happen if they break the rules.
If possible, set these rules with them and ask them if there’s anything they’d like to change or adjust.
You can also ask them if there’s anything that they would like you to do or get them in return for their good behavior.
You could set up a reward system for good grades for instance. This will help to create an environment that’s respectful and healthy for you two.
Find more resources on motherhood here.