Single parents often feel challenged to do more with less. And even though there is exactly 24 hours in each person’s day……As a single parent, I often feel like I am chasing the clock all day. Being responsible for drop off and pick up of my child and everything else in between sometimes is more than a notion. Hiccups like meetings running over or backed up traffic have a domino effect to the single parent's timeline. Being organized and having a contingency plan for unforeseen events has helped to reduce stress in my life. So I’d like to share a few of my lessons with you.
In my experience, completion of as many activities the night before or the weekend before helps to get the day off to a great start. Types of activities that can be completed the night/weekend before:
- Select outfit (iron all close the weekend before)
- Take bath/shower
- Pack lunch(make the peanut/jelly sandwiches and freeze them on the weekend)
- Sign forms/permission slip
- Pack book bag (and put next to door)
At the beginning of each school year take the opportunity to build a contingency plan. This plan will prove invaluable when you can’t either drop your child (ren) off or pick your child (ren) up. The plan should include names and phone numbers of people that you can call upon to help you when are in a bind. Note on the plan whether the person has flexibility in the AM or PM. You’ll want to confirm with the person that they are willing and able to aid. Don’t assume that because they were available the previous school year that their schedule has not changed. Be sure to share your contingency plan with the school so that this info is included in the child’s record.
Let’s not forget transportation to the extra-curricular activities. The first recommendation is to look for activities sponsored through the school. This usually will mean that the activity is held at the school or that the school will give transportation. The transportation may result in a fee but it’s one less thing on your plate for the day so it is well worth the nominal cost. Besides this may give you an extra hour or two to run errands. Another option is to look for private instructors/coaches that are willing to travel to your home to tutor or give a lesson. Again there may be a small fee associated with this service but this is worth its weight in gold to avoid running all over town. Finally, get to know the parents of other kids that participate in the same extra-curricular activities. You may be able to arrange to share the transportation responsibilities with other parents.
As a single parent don’t be afraid to ask for help. What I’ve discovered is people love to help; you have to be willing to ask for it.