I have always been a “working parent”. Whether I was married or like the last 10 years, a “single parent” – I was always working. Whether I had a real job or, like for the past 9 years, “self-employed” I WAS ALWAYS A WORKING PARENT!
In the beginning, 24 hours in a day was just not enough! If I had one wish back then, it was to add another 8 hours to my day. But even then, I would have found that was not even enough – until I decided that I needed to be organized and ahead of the day all the time! I worked really hard to make sure that my girls always had what they needed, when they needed it! But sometimes, that doesn’t work either – life just screws up your schedule at any given point.
So, no matter what stage of life you are in, whether you are working for someone else or working for yourself, the challenges of being a working parent are mostly the same. As much as you think that you can be “SUPER MOM” – you can’t! You have to “go with the flow” and don’t expect yourself to be perfect all the time. Because if you think you can do it all, and will get it right all the time, you are just setting yourself up for failure! So just know that it is okay if your house isn’t spotless all the time, or the laundry is piling up – it will still be there tomorrow!
It is more important to spend quality time with your kids than getting the laundry done! Believe me, the 12 years that they are in school goes by so fast and you will really feel bad when they graduate and you think to yourself that you did not spend as much time with them as you wanted.
Being that it is WORKING PARENTS DAY – I thought I would shed some light on what challenges were the worst for me when my girls were younger – elementary school through now (one is still in high school) and what my solutions were. I really did get creative in some of them, and maybe these tips can help you run your household a little easier.
And just know that I am not like a lot of the other Mom Bloggers out there. It seems like their households run so smoothly and they can play the June Cleaver role really well. And I am not taking anything away from them – I congratulate them for really making it seem like it’s easy. When you are a single working Mom with kids, sometimes it just seems that no matter what you do – you can somehow be doing it better. So never beat yourself up – life goes on if you forget to pack an important paper in the backpack, or you wake up late, or your car won’t start and the kids are late for school. It will happen and you will get through it – just breathe and be thankful you are alive! And I have done all of them – if there was a mistake to be made, or a clog in the wheel – it happened to me. Things happen that are not in your control – you just have to take a step back and PUNT!
To start off with, my famous saying in my house was “If Mom’s not happy, you will not be happy”! With that said, the first thing that I am going to talk about here is to make sure that you take care of YOU FIRST! That is a must! If your “motor” is not running properly, you will be scattered and crazy! It sounds kind of selfish – but it is true. If you are not a happy camper, no one will be happy because YOU are the HUB in this wheel. And if the HUB ain’t turning on all cylinders – none of the spokes work right either!
• Make sure YOU get to go to the hair salon to keep your hair colored and cut – if you look good – you will feel good!
• Same with the nail salon for your mani/pedi and a massage. If you feel like you look like crap – you will not have the energy to do what you need to do. And believe me, it comes full circle.
- Make sure you get enough sleep! Have you seen the commercial where the mother is pouring something else in her coffee cup – and its not coffee! Your body cannot function properly without 7 – 9 hours of sleep. Believe me – when I used to think that I was SuperWoman – I used to stay up til all hours of the night and just regret it in the middle of the afternoon when I could have fallen asleep standing up. YOU NEED YOUR SLEEP!
• Go SHOPPING FOR YOU! I was lucky in that my girls’ schools always had a “dress code” so there were no issues about what they were going to wear to school – but that still meant spending money on polo shirts and khaki pants. Make sure that you spend some on yourself as well.
• Take your vitamins, supplements and eat right! I can’t stress this enough – skipping meals because of your “no time” excuse doesn’t cut it – no food equals no energy!
• Make sure you have at least 1 night a week to do whatever you want – if you need a babysitter to be able to go out, hire one or trade time with another working parent! I used to have two other girlfriends that took each other’s kids for 1 weekend a month, so the other 2 could have an entire weekend to be “kid-free”! It worked great and we would be re-energized after our weekend off from being Moms!
I grew up being involved with Girl Scouts and I am so glad I did! Their motto is “Be Prepared” and it has really done me well. I like to be prepared and that means thinking things through beforehand and thinking about what could happen if this happens, or what would I have to do if that happens.
So let’s look at what needs to be done to “be prepared” for the school days during the week. We need breakfast, lunches, homework and clothes.
Breakfast – I was never the one to get up in the morning and be June Cleaver making a big breakfast during the week, so my kids usually ate cereal and milk for breakfast. Savannah is lactose intolerant so she actually ate dry cereal but loved fruit so she would have strawberries or peaches with her cereal. She also had yogurt for breakfast. It was all stuff that they could easily fix themselves. On the weekends, we would get up and make big breakfasts like pancakes or French toast or go out for breakfast at IHop.
Lunches – OMG – I made this chore so easy – I had two girls that did not like the same things at all. So we would all go to do the food shopping on Sunday mornings and I would let them pick out the lunches and snacks that they each wanted. They did not like “sandwiches” so I did a lot of cheese/crackers/peanut butter combinations. Savannah never really liked meat (she has been a vegetarian for the past 5 years now) so I really had to think about how to get her to eat food with protein. And then we would come home and I would set up the refrigerator and the pantry for the week.
These “shoe holder” hanging things (in the picture) really worked well for all the stuff that did not have to be refrigerated. And the plastic bins in the fridge held the cold stuff. So they actually were able to pack their own lunches the night before they went to bed. I actually did the same thing for my lunches. I just grabbed what I wanted for the day and threw it in a bag. That way I saved money not going out for lunch every day and always knew that even if I didn’t have time to eat a separate lunch, I could eat good healthy food while I was working. Just click on the picture to visit Amazon and purchase the hangers.
If you want more ideas on organizing your lunches, Pinterest has some great ideas. Click here
As a matter of fact, it is easier than easy today with Amazon Grocery – I just order the food I want and it comes right to my door!
Here is the link to check out Amazon Grocery
Homework – In my house, the homework got done right after getting home from school, then they could play outside if they wanted until dinner time. My kids were in “after-school care” for quite a few years, and their homework would be done before they got home. That was really a blessing. I would just go over it and check it and look at any paperwork that came home from the teachers for me. Then I would make sure they had everything they needed for the next day in their backpacks before dinnertime so I wouldn’t have to think about it anymore that night.
If they had homework that had to be done at home, they would have a healthy protein snack and a bottle of water before they got started. And if they had a lot of homework, I would have them take a 10 minute break in between subjects. Savannah never really need help with her homework but Carmen did. I am pretty good at helping them with whatever they needed except for math. If they needed help with their math homework, I usually had to hit the internet and find the way to help her. In today’s world, Khan Academy is the place to go to find any help you need in almost any subject. It is a free website filled with anything you need to know for homework or school classes. Here is the link – https://www.khanacademy.org
School clothes – After showers and getting ready for bed, I would have the kids lay out their clothes, including shoes and socks for the next morning. If it was a gym day, I would have them pack their gym clothes in their backpacks as well.
And this is a biggie, at the beginning of every school year, I put 1 pair of underwear and 1 pair of shorts/pants and 1 shirt in a zip loc bag and put it in the bottom of their backpack. “Always being prepared” really comes in handy for the times that they accidentally spill something on their shirt, pee in their pants or when they got older – get their period during school and needed a change of clothes.
I started to do this after the first time I got a call from school in the middle of my work day that one of the girls spilled their drink on their shirt. I had to leave my desk, go home get a clean shirt and drive to school to let them change out of their wet shirt. God forbid they stay at school with a dirty shirt, right?
So that is how we stayed organized during the school week.
I always made sure the girls did fun stuff every day in between school, homework, dinner and getting ready for bed. Either we stayed home and watched a movie, or went out to the park for them to play. They really did not watch a lot of TV growing up, and to this day, they really don’t do TV.
So that brings me to the biggest reason that I wanted to be “self-employed”. The girls got to the age where they wanted to join Girl Scouts in elementary school. It was really hard for me to find a troop that met in the evening, rather than right after school. I was still working for the construction company and did not get out of work until 5:00. I finally did find a troop that met at 7:00 pm in my neighborhood.
But then they wanted to play soccer – which definitely meant getting them to the field by 3:30 right after school. So that’s when I decided to start my own business. Because I did not want to feel guilty about not being able to have them enjoy their childhood like I did.
The other HUGE reason that I wanted to be self-employed was every time the girls were sick and could not go to school, it happened on the days where I had something really important going on at work and I just could not take the day off. So this is where the GUILTY part really set in. I would have to call my Mom and see if I could bring the sick one over to her for the day. I felt bad that I could not stay home with my sick child and be the comfort that she needed. I resented having to go to work and it made me really sad that I had to put my child second before going to work.
I knew I had services that I could offer to the smaller contracting firms and I started while I was still working for the construction company. I did my “side hustle” work after the girls went to bed and on the weekends. And once I had enough clients to be self-supporting, I quit my job.
So whatever works for you, you just need to be organized and have a “system” for everything.
I really lived my life with the feeling that the girls came first. My purpose in life was to raise these girls to be able to be as great as they could be. Once Carmen graduates in May of 2018, (only 9 more months) then I will start to really live the life that I always dreamed of. I brought them up to be self-sufficient and independent. They are really looking forward to starting the rest of their lives and now I have the opportunity to do the same thing!
If you are new to my site, please go to the About Me page and see how I am going to make this happen! I am now making enough income online with this website to be self-sufficient and start traveling around the country to see all the great beauty of our nation. I can work from anywhere and am totally location independent. I have wifi on my phone – have laptop – will travel!
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