When you’re a first time parent everyone and their mother wants to give you advice and tell you how to do your job as a mommy or daddy… I am not about to do that, but there are some tips I’ve read and been given that have made my life as a busy single mom easier.
1) First and foremost, Take Care Of Yourself! Yeah, I know common sense but in the hustle and bustle of mommyhood sometimes we don’t have time to eat and we forget to take our vitamins and such but you have to be healthy because your kid(s) depend on you. The hardest part if this is getting enough rest. (Sleep, what’s that?!) if you’re exhausted you can’t function as well as if you’re rested. So even if it means the toys stay in the floor until morning and the dishes wait til tomorrow sometimes you just need to go to bed when your kid does or take a nap when they do and get some much needed shut eye when you’ve had a long week.
2) Plan your meals. This makes life easier, believe me. You won’t have that “oh crap what am I going to cook for dinner” moment and you will also likely cook healthier meals and eat out less. I plan my menu for the next week on Friday and then do the grocery shopping over the weekend. That way I know I have everything I need for what I’m going to be cooking. My menu usually includes a couple crockpot recipes, at least one under 30 minute meal, at least one new recipe, and a Mini Thor favorite.
3) Do a load of laundry everyday. This was so simple I was all “why didn’t I think of that?” but this is a tip from a post by ‘the stressed mom’ called 10 Habits for a Well Run Home. I always did mounds of laundry twice a week and then had mounds of laundry to fold (which is almost impossible with a toddler “helping”) and my clothes were usually just staying in the basket unfolded. Now I do a load of laundry everyday from start to finish, including folding. It’s so simple, yet makes such an impact.
4) Every toy needs a “home.” Have a designated place that each toy should go when it’s done being played with. At my house we call this its “home,” and every thing has one. When the kiddos can see where something is supposed to go its easier for them to pick up on their own. If I say “put your Legos back in their home” Mini Thor knows exactly where they go and can clean them up himself. (That’s another important thing, start early when it comes to your kids playing an active role in cleaning)
5) Give yourself 10 minutes of unwind time before picking up the kids. Read an article, eat a snack, or just sit in silence and savor it, but do something by yourself for a few minutes in between leaving work and picking up the munchkins from daycare (or school or babysitter or wherever). If you had a rough day at work you don’t want to take that frustration home with you. Take some time to get your mind off work before you put possibly screaming or cranky kiddos in the car with you. I know this isn’t always possible but if this will fit into your schedule, it seriously reduces stress.
6) Do something fun everyday. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive. I’m not saying take the kids to chuck e cheese everyday but find a way to do something fun with your little sweethearts everyday. This can be as simple as letting them help cook dinner or painting a picture with them. This will helps you be less stressed because seriously isn’t the giggles of your little one an AMAZING stress reliever and this also helps keep a strong bond with your little one(s).
Here are some ideas..
– Let them pick a song and dance around the house with them
– Take turns making the (funny) voices for the characters while reading a book
– Make and decorate cookies
– Have a themed movie night, let them pick a movie they rent and then making snacks that go along with the movie. Like this one we had.
-Dress up like super heroes and
run fly through the house
– Play a boardgame of their choice.
It can be simple or extravagant but find a way everyday to do something fun with your munchkin 🙂
7) Have a sense of humor! Sometimes you have to look at things from the point of view of the child within you. For instance when an entire roll of toilet paper is unrolled and being used as a costume by you toddler or when you open up the Oreos to find that someone has eaten the cream out of all of them and then put the cookie parts back. Let all the little things make you smile and try not to get to frustrated at them. My grandmother once gave me great advice about parenting “if its not going to matter five years from now don’t let it bother you too much.” So when the whole box of Cheerios is in the floor because a tot was trying to fix their own bowl just sweep them up and forget about it. Don’t let the little things get in the way of enjoying all the fun stuff that comes with parenthood.
8) Last but not least, don’t be so hard on yourself. Remember that everyone has their own way of parenting, don’t compare yourself to others. Some moms have the time to make perfect cookies with everyone name iced on them in calligraphy and you may only have time to grab a box of cookies from the store, don’t feel bad about that!
Keep on smiling and making memories!