I’m late! I’m late!
Do you feel like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland? Always rushing, always trying to beat the clock? Never finding time to talk, walk, or laugh with your child? You probably knew single parenthood wouldn’t be easy, but you didn’t expect life to feel like a downward spiraling rabbit hole either.
The average American worker is clocking in longer hours. And that includes solo breadwinners. They’re also driving to and from soccer games and making cupcakes for the school bake sale. Often, the most important task – finding quality one-on-one time with your child – falls by the wayside.
Jody Seidler, a writer for single parents' network Making Lemonade (www.makinglemonade.com), offers the following advice: to find time, you must make time. Seidler recommends budgeting hours with your kids with the same care and consideration as you budget your finances. Developing these tried-and-true time management skills will move you in the right direction:
  • Consistency: Select a day or evening each week to shop, run errands, and do the laundry. Do the same with house cleaning. Stick to the schedule and free your mind of these responsibilities the other days of the week.
  • Efficiency: Write out your bills and then divide them into two piles – those to be mailed mid-month and those to be mailed at the end of the month. Better yet, look into opportunities to pay bills online. Less stress, less stamps, and an end to those pesky late charges.
  • Resourcefulness: Buy in bulk. With the likes of Costco and Smart & Final there’s no reason to make more than one weekly trip to the market. If storage is a challenge, or your family simply can’t consume 20 lbs. of broccoli before it turns brown, find a friend or neighbor willing to go halfsies. Share the bill and the haul.
  • Prioritize: Think about what’s important to you. Sure, it’s fulfilling to spend three hours on Saturday morning at the church soup kitchen, but only if your family life is not suffering as a result. Don’t feel guilty about making an afternoon of hide-and-go-seek with your daughter a top priority.
  • Partnering: Whether you’re raising one child or a pack, demand teamwork. Teach your child that being part of a family (even a family of two) means sharing in the tasks that keep the family running smoothly. Besides, you may find a little more of that quality time while washing dishes together.