How to survive when you’re parenting alone.

 

It drives me crazy is when a parent that is happily married and their spouse goes away for work or leisure and the person at home claims to be single parenting. Like single parents are no joke. I cannot imagine not having my husband to confide in every day. That being said, it is a thing when one parent is left at home without the other, to parent alone. I’m not trying to take away from that because I do that, several times a year. It’s no easy task but there are a few things I do to make my time parenting without my husband easier. A quick preface, I have three kids, 5, 3 and 2. At this point we only have half day kindergarten to break up our day. We are also in the (hopefully) ending stages of potty-training my 3 year old. So with that: How I survive when my husband travels.

1.

Get out of the house. I shoot for leaving the house once a day. Whether we need to grocery shop, walk around the block or go to a park or library; we always get up, get dressed and leave the house. That doesn’t always happen and that’s ok some days people are sick or you just really need to get stuff done around the house. Leaving the house will break up your day and make it seem to go faster.

2.

Along the same line is get ready for your day. You don’t need a full face of makeup but you will feel better if you take care of yourself. So go a little out of your way to get dressed and at least brush your hair before you throw it up out of your way.

3.

Use screen time to your advantage. For instance we don’t turn on the t.v. on in our house until 4 P.M. That’s our rule, so if the kids are begging to watch t.v. all I have to say is sorry but we don’t watch t.v until 4, we will have to find something else to do.  It leaves me with the chance after 3 P.M. to say “Hey, if you guys cleaned up the living room you could watch t.v. early.”  I won’t turn the t.v. on until the living room is clean but the quicker you clean the more t.v you can watch. Then I get to make dinner without all their distractions. My kids have been obsessed with the kid’s YouTube app lately and instead of just handing over the tablet for them to use, I always make them earn it. Ready for school early? Here have the tablet for 10 minutes. If I need to listen during a Dr’s. app. or something important then they can have it but I try to only use t.v when necessary.

4.

Work the schedule before your home alone so the kids know what to expect. I tend to get lax on our schedule every so often, but when I know my husband is going out of town I get very strict before so when he is gone the kids act better and know what to expect.

5.

Prepare for the worst. My kids always get some weird sickness when my husband travels. Diarrhea, pink eye, hand foot and mouth, if my husband is gone my kids will get it. I always hope nothing will happen but I always plan and have the first aid and minor sickness meds on hand. Not to mention also my roof has leaked, kitchen sink pipes have broken and countless other minor house emergencies have happened. The trick to this is not letting them ruin your whole day/week by just realizing they can and will happen.

6.

Find time for yourself. One of the most difficult things when my husband is traveling is I a lack of adult conversation. I usually try to find time to spend with friends so I can have a conversation with an adult. I really start getting down on myself and try to let social media fill that void and it does not work. I end up sitting on my phone all night after the kids are sleeping when I should be cleaning the house, working out and spending time on me. So I like to set things up so it’s easier for me to work out, like changing into my work out clothes before I put the kids to bed or not going to relax in my bed right after the kids are sleeping.

 

Do you have any tips that help when you’re trying to survive home alone with kids and feel like there is no end in sight? I would love to hear what I could add to my list to help me next time.

The goal of Things

This year we have set some lofty goals for ourselves and I plan to keep them. While I am not perfect at keeping my goals, I do try really hard and have devised a plan that helps me keep on track. I am going to be kind enough to share it with you today.

Plan

At the start of the year my husband and I sat down and wrote out all our goals for the year. It doesn’t have to be the start of the year to do this, we have started at many different times of the year. The whole point is that you sit down, I suggest with a paper and pen (you can go back later and type them) in hand and write out what you what achieve in all areas of your life (Financial, personal, work, family, travel, you want to do it write it down). The key to sticking with your goals is to have a plan for it. The plan needs to include: What, when, how and why

The What

What is it you want to achieve? Write it out and be specific. If it’s a financial goal then look up the numbers you need for it. If it’s fitness, how long do you want to run or how much to lift, ect?

The When

Give yourself a reasonable time frame to do this in but be lenient on this date.

The How

This is when you get to be more specific on how you are going to set yourself up to achieve this goal. Save $x amount per check, look up a training plan and work it in to your life.

The Why

This is the most important part why is this so important to you? Why are you working towards this? You want to be debt free? You want to run your first race? Whatever it is, if you know the reason you are doing it you will be much more likely to reach your goal.

Do this for each of your goals so you know why each are important to you.

Ok so now you have a long list of goals with what, when, how and why, now what? Get started on working through them. Sit down often to go through your bills, start your work out plan. Then sit down once a month and check in with your goal list and adjust as needed to be sure you are making progress toward all goals.

The last Sunday of every month my husband and I sit down with our goals look at them a talk about how we did that last month working towards them. This part is hard and you have to be honest with yourself and remember why you set these goals and why they are more important to you then other habits.

I wanted to give a quick example of one of our goals this year to help you guys understand better

We sat down at the beginning of January and decided that this is the year we are going to get out of debt.

Our “what” was that we wanted to pay off all our debts except our home. So we got specific and added up all our debts.

Our “when” for this goal is going to be in March of this year. We gave ourselves a reasonable time frame for our amount of debt vs. income.

Our “how” for this is staying in our budgets so any extra money can go to debt, but also using tax refund money and bonus money toward debt.

Lastly our “why” is that we no longer want to be paying interest or living off of credit cards. We want to have to financial freedom to pay for what we want and live within our means.

Sticking to the Plan

Then at the end of the month we will sit down with this and all our other goals. I will talk about what I did to help us along with this goal, such as staying in my budget by buying groceries on sale and only what we needed, not online shopping and successfully planning a spending freeze to save us extra money. Then I will say if I could have done more to help with this goal. However this month I feel like I did well with this goal and could not have improved much. Then it will be Stephen’s turn to say what he did well and what he could improve on next month. Then if there are places that can use improvement you adjust and find a way to do better in the next month. For instance I had a bad week with my goal of posting a blog Tuesdays and a Youtube video on Thursdays so I need to readjust that next month to have a better planned time to write, film and edit.

 

I hope this helps someone who has been struggling with keeping goals. It’s a long process but it really helps keep you on track with what’s important in your life.