Working Parent Tips
For the first four years of my son’s life, I was not only a working mom, but a working single mom. Let’s just say it had its ups and downs. I sure did learn a lot about myself and those four years taught me more than any other time in my life. Here are some of the things I learned:
- Organize, organize, organize: Being organized saves so much time and energy. There are lots of quick, easy ways to get and stay organized. First of all, if you are not a natural list-maker, learn how to be one. Making lists saves so much time in the long run – no more running back to the grocery store for bread! Also, start keeping a basket for toys in every major room of your home. We have one in the kitchen, one in the family room, one in each bedroom and even one in the office! It makes clean-up so quick and easy (remember to enroll your child’s help when it comes time to pick up!).
- Begin the Day Right: Before you go to bed each night, make sure you’re prepared for the next day. Do you need to make lunches? Get the coffee set up? God forbid, iron anything? Does you child need something special for daycare the next day? It’s so much easier to get out of bed when you know that the coffee is ready and you don’t have to rush around in a frenzy.
- Quality Time: One of the best keys to being a great parent (working, single, or otherwise) is to make sure you are spending some quality time with your child EVERY day. Eat dinner at the table with the TV and radio off. Spend ten minutes reading together every night. And make sure you have at least ten minutes of uninterrupted time to talk, just the two of you, every day.
- Self-Care: I know for a fact that the first thing to go when we get busy is care of ourselves. Sometimes it seems like we can’t even get a ten minute bath alone, much less twenty minutes to meditate or read or simply do nothing. It’s one of the great paradoxes of the Universe that taking time out for you actually allows you to have more space and freedom to be there for others. Do whatever it takes to get at least 15 minutes of quiet time alone every day.
- Nutrition: Make mealtimes simple, but packed with nutrition. There are tons of quick, healthy alternatives to fast food out there. Get pre-washed, pre-cut salad and keep it on hand all the time. (A little Ranch dressing will usually help any kids to eat their lettuce.) Check the frozen section of the grocery store for pre-packages organic alternatives: There are healthy pizzas, burgers, chicken nuggets, and other quick options for the parent on the go. Don’t let time rob you and your children of the crucial nutrition that you all need. Substituting fast food is okay on occasion, but for daily meals, keep whole, healthy foods on the table. In these days of pre-packaged everything, there’s no excuse for not eating right. Also, limit cola and juice intake and replace it with water and organic milk. You may notice an immediate change in your child’s behavior!
- Remember the Fun: Working, taking care of the children and the house and the dog, remembering to eat right and to take some time for yourself, doing the shopping and the laundry and supervising the homework and carpooling to all of the baseball games… It’s no wonder that we forget to simply have fun with our kids. Keep your sense of humor in your back pocket and remember to pull it out once in a while – especially when things get tense. A little laughter goes a long way toward making a happy, peaceful home!
by: Shelly Walker Shelly@ParentingKeys.com