My husband does youth-ministry full-time, so part of my job as Mom is holding down the fort while he travels for retreats, training, fundraisers, service projects, and camps. By the time we close 2013, he will have been away from our family for about 50 days this year. Of course, he also works from home so we do see a lot of him when he isn’t traveling. I know many of you have spouses who never travel, yet you see them fewer hours per year than I see of Brad. Others of you are single parents, or have a spouse in the military, and I know your job is far more difficult than mine. Still, I would like to share a few tips for how I survive my short stints as a single mom:
Before I go to bed at night, I try to prepare the house as much as possible so that my mornings will go smoothly.
- I lay out my clothes (usually on the bathroom counter).
- I set the breakfast table and prep the coffee pot.
- I wash the dishes and put them away.
- I set out the breakfast ingredients.
- I prepare whatever I need for the morning’s activities.
- I go to bed early.
Once the day begins, I do whatever it takes to preserve my sanity.
- I get up before the kids. (Read/Journal/Shower/Coffee)
- I stay off the computer until the kids are asleep.
- I get out of the house with the kids most mornings.
- I plan fun/special activities.
- I move all the laundry forward one step. (Wash–>Dry–>Fold–>Put Away)
- I prep lunch ingredients once for the entire week. (Slice Carrots/Celery/Cheese, Prepare Tuna Fish/Egg Salad)
Although it’s never ideal to be a single parent, a little time spent in preparation can go a long way toward improving your day. In fact, with Brad away, I am often better at managing my time because I know that there is no one available to pick up the slack if I am unprepared. I know it would be good for me to implement these tips in my daily life even when Brad is around!
How do you survive short stints as a single parent?