Parents often deal with guilt at not spending enough time with their kids and having poor time management. However, single moms even more so. At a recent financial planning class, I heard the presenter on the video announce how each class member should hug a single mom. “Metaphorically,” he said, “but just uphold them in some way if you can.”
In his Financial Peace University course video, Dave Ramsey explained how tough single mothers have it today as they balance their work lives and parenting lives.
“There isn’t another adult human being there to lean on,” he added, “to go get the oil changed while the other person feeds the kids. Single moms have to do it all.”
Many are bone-crushing exhausted, too. Single mothers suffer from what Dave called time poverty – the inability to capitalize on doing more while operating from a lack of time to do so given their schedules. The cost is in hours and minutes, not in dollars in cents. Time poverty is a real crisis for single mothers. But it does not have to mean there cannot be a change toward success. It all boils down to how you look at time.
Time Management Tips for Single Parents
1. Focus on the Moment.
Rather than stand at the kitchen sink washing dinner dishes and praying the water heater will heat up enough water to bathe all the children, look to increase the quality of the moment you are in.
Focus on the suds in the sink. Watch the water rise. Feel the small sense of accomplishment when one plate is clean.
Trite? Not at all.
When you are in the moment, your awareness of the time available to you will grow. Worry will reduce, you will be more calm, and your children will be unaffected by stress as you make decisions the rest of the night from a stronger place of peace.
You will be optimizing what you are doing when you are doing it, and therefore do it as efficiently as possible.
When you stop planning and projecting, decisions can be made more rationally, which leads to better decision-making to prioritize better for the next day.
2. Reject Time Pressures.
There are not enough hours in the day based on society’s expectations of how we are supposed to live. External obligations force people to juggle and plate spin their schedules. Even if you love what you do for work and as a single mom, other people and other circumstances can pull on you.
Rather than internally complain to yourself and to others about all the things you have to do, use a different approach. You can tell people you are busy. You can let them know it’s nothing personal and leave it at that.
It is best not to complain about the things you must do. You have yourself to care for along with your children – that all comes first.
When you set boundaries with others and enforce limits for yourself and your children, it will feel as more time is opened up in your day. Any anxiety that may bubble up is normal; it is your body’s way of letting you know you are on the right path because it tells you that you’ve been operating this way too long.
We were not born to worry or be deluged with anxiety.
3. Looking at the big picture
When I sit in an airplane at 50,000 feet above the ground, I get my best ideas. I can see the big picture of my life, working, and what needs to change.
You do not need to take a plane anywhere to globally prioritize your life to deal with the poverty of time in your schedule. You can, however, make an appointment with yourself to zoom out to view to weigh all the positives and negatives in every area of life.
During this appointment, you can figure out what is most important for you to do in your big picture of life. When you do that, the unimportant stuff will fall away. You can begin to set new priorities. Remember that you are always the first parents to your children, and time management is important so you can make them a priority.
As you take action, you will sense gaining more time in your schedule.