Obviously being a single parent is hard. We all hear it and say it, but unless you’re living it you really don’t understand it. Sure friends and family can sympathize… empathizing on the other hand is in another ball park. Time to yourself legit isn’t a thing! (& no going to work DOESN’T count!)
My name is Alicia! I’m 24 and I have a 4 year old son, who’s my knight in shining armour! (my absolute everything). I currently work Monday to Friday as an Education Assistant, and Rylan attends preschool close to home. There are so many things I love about being a mom; unconditional love, the mini-big hugs i receive (he’s so little but hugs so tight), watching his growth, being surprised everyday about what he knows and what he has learned, our goofy conversations, teaching him how to cook and bake, and the list could go on and on!
Even though I enjoy all of these moments and milestones, making time for myself is difficult! Between working, and doing all the tasks that us single moms are expected to do it doesn’t leave a whole lot of time. I try to look at it like “quality me time” opposed to the “quantity of me time.” On days that I can I get off work and rush home just so I can sit on my bed or in my living room in absolute silence before I have to go pick him up from Preschool!
For the majority of the time I don’t even want a babysitter! I just want a “mommy time-out” aka 45 minutes to myself to do whatever I want, even if that’s absolutely nothing! Sometimes I want to go for a walk, and sometimes I want to go into a grocery store ALONE. Please tell me I’m not the only one?
Us single mom’s aren’t always lucky enough to have that 45 minute mommy time-out (speaking for myself at least), so how can we still keep up with our self care? Lately I’ve discovered sometimes it’s the simple things. For example, A clean room with freshly washed bedding and an Earl Grey tea. Here’s my list of non-negotiable things I do for my own self-care. I do at least one a day!
Write in my planner (not only just what I have to do in a day, but I bought a planner that has plenty of space for me to write my thoughts and feelings – this is a everyday must)
Baking + decorating it (making my baked goods look pretty makes me happy)
Take photos (whether that’s putting makeup on and taking pictures of myself, or the food I’m about to eat, or the sky this evening – the world is beautiful and I take photos to appreciate it)
Bath with essential oils and lit candles (one of the things most people have in common, can’t argue with a relaxing bath)
Nature Walk (even if it’s doing a couple figure 8’s at the duck pond beside my house – the outdoors energizes me)
Art projects + painting (sometimes I decide I want to do some random art with acrylic paint on a canvas, sometimes I doodle, or find some sort of cool project to tackle)
Get cozy in bed with a cup of tea and a book (try burying yourself with multiple fuzzy blankets, your favourite tea and a book that will make you LAUGH! I’m currently finishing Amy Schumer’s “The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo”)
Those are only 7 of many things that we can incorporate, and make time for in our day to day schedule. One thing I really lack on keeping up with is my house cleaning. It’s a nightmare! I get so discouraged, I will clean it to the 9’s and somehow the next day it looks like a bomb hit it! It’s something I’m conscious of and always working on. The past month or so I feel my mental health is getting better because I’m making that time for me, and with that I feel more energised to clean my house and make it look nice. It’s a ripple effect, and the energy you put out is the energy you’re going to get back.
What happens if you actually get that 45 minutes away? Or even luckier, an afternoon or evening out!? I don’t drink much and If I do, its rare (TBH, I can’t handle the booze-blues and a 4 year old the next day). Therefore, when I have time away I try to have as much fun as possible, usually through an experience. Here’s a list of things that I enjoy doing!
Comedy club (I enjoy venturing downtown to go watch a comedy show)
Find good eats (explore nearby cities for tasty eats with your friends)
Escape room (you really have to use your brain, but I think they’re so much fun to do with a couple friends!)
Beach walk (luckily, the beach is like my backyard so I like to try to spend as much time as I can there – in the summer it’s nice to have a fire)
Thrift shopping (this is my favourite thing to do with one of my sisters – I get lost in time)
Go to the movies (I don’t do this as much as I’d like to)
Lay in my bed with a friend and Netflix (lounging around at home with your BFF and eating a ton of tasty snacks is priceless)
These are all things that I do when I’m alone or with my friends for self care purposes, but I do have to mention I still do a majority of these things with my son too. Sometimes implementing my self care is having a movie night with him! Throwing on a movie about puppies, eating popcorn and chocolate, laying in my bed and spending that quality time with him. Embracing those giggles, and moments that I always look forward to experiencing.
Last thing, DON’T FEEL GUILTY! This is one of the thing’s I got caught up in when I wasn’t looking after myself. Don’t listen to anyone’s negativity, they are not you. People will always have an opinion, and you can’t change or control that. What you can control is your mindset, who you allow into your circle, and what you choose to apply to your life!
If anyone is unhappy with it, well then SEE YAAAAAA! Life is far too short to worry about opinions of others. Find your support team and THRIVE! It’s taken me a long time to figure this out, but putting my energy where it belongs has done nothing but better my life. Take your time, do you, and your child will be grateful they have such a happy, hard working mama!
A Note from Maturing Mama
I can never express my amazement enough when I hear about single moms. I have my husband alongside me and I still have days I feel like I’m going insane.
There’s so much to be learned from moms like Alicia. When I first met Alicia, I noticed the joy and excitement of life that shined out of her was mirrored by her son. I can tell that in taking care of herself, she has then taken care of her son.