How would you like to have truly refreshing breaks? I’m talking about the kind of time out that keeps you grounded, motivated and energized.
As a single mother, it’s easy to ignore the signs you need a break. Single Mom Alarm: 8 Signs you need a break
The to-dos keep piling up both at work and at home.
The kids demand your attention.
When you finally get some time alone, it’s all too easy to drop tired in front of the TV.
Yet you’re still thinking about the mountain of laundry that needs doing.
Does this sound like you?
Well, fear not. I’ll show you how to engage in activities that turn your mommy breaks into powerful mood-boosting tools. You can avoid reaching your breaking point!
If you have a couple of weeks…
… great! Your kids are happily bonding with the grandparents, or enjoying their time at a summer camp. You decided to take the time off work and you are now preparing to enjoy the taste of freedom.
Or are you?
It’s easy to slip into a time-consuming routine of chores and worrying about your children, so try to plan a bit in advance. Get plenty of sleep and avoid starting big projects – remember this is your time to relax! (Do get involved in some DIY projects to upgrade your home if that’s your thing though. Try not to throw out your back.)
You can go on a holiday of your own if you don’t mind spending the extra money, especially if it’s been a while since your last child-free trip.
If visiting a new place seems too stressful or expensive, imagine you’re a tourist. Visit all the landmarks in your hometown and its surroundings, find ‘hidden gems’, try new restaurants and talk to the people you meet. This allows you to rediscover the experience of travel without breaking your budget!
Make sure to spend a few days at home, so you can rest before diving back into the daily grind, and to take care of all the odd bits and ends you tend to neglect.
Sure, you’ll miss your children. Two weeks will seem like an eternity at first! While I don’t recommend constantly pestering them or their interim caretakers with phone calls, you can use video calls to soften the separation. Keep in mind that the time apart will also be beneficial for the children – a small step towards their maturity and independence.
If you only have a few days…
… you might spend the first one sleeping. And that’s okay! Use the temporary state of peace and quiet to practice mindfulness and reconnect with yourself. Better yet, place a few motivational notes around the house, as a pick-me-up for those particularly challenging days.
To find a balance between utility and comfort, and to keep your mini-vacation affordable, avoid extensive travel. Focus instead on yourself, your home, and your favorite people.
- Read some of the books on your wish list
- Go through a home maintenance checklist
- Cook a few meals in advance for the extra busy times
- Meet up with the friends and relatives you don’t get to see very often.
- Make a list of things to learn that will save you a lot of time in the future (home or work-related) – and start studying!
- Find free community events to attend or do some volunteering.
- Throw a potluck party. It only takes a few hours, but it wouldn’t hurt to sleep in the day after!
- Buy Christmas presents in advance, to avoid the mad rush before the holiday. While you’re at it, you can prepare a batch of cookie dough, and freeze it for later use – after you eat some (I won’t tell!).
- Create a photo album, scrapbook, or time capsule to save mementos of all the special times with your kiddos.
Do any of these things over a weekend when your children are staying with their father, their grandparents, a sitter, or with their friends for an extended sleepover.
If you only have a few hours…
… don’t frantically work through your to-do list (does that even count as a break?) and don’t collapse on the couch either. Think of what you are – or used to be – passionate about, your hobbies, and what makes you feel alive. Then go do that!
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you find it hard to disconnect from the single mother challenges you face each day.
- Use some of your free time to express gratitude for the good things in your life.
- Try to think of solutions to recurrent problems.
- Engage in self-care routines (a bath, exercise etc.)
- Plan activities for other times without your children so you don’t spend that time worrying about them.
- Fill a box with items you can donate and take it to a local charity.
- Attend a religious service. It will do wonders for your wellbeing if faith is important to you.
- Go on a date!
- Go for a short drive – driving is way more fun when you’re not racing the clock to an appointment, and you might discover some interesting places!
- If the season is right, plant some vegetables in your garden, or learn how to grow them indoors.
- Invite a friend (or more) to an evening of karaoke, board games, or simply to have dinner together.
- Find ways to take a break even when you feel you don’t have the time for one.
No matter how you decide to spend your time without your children, don’t beat yourself up for being away from them. Make sure they have adequate supervision and they will be fine.
How do YOU organize your breaks as a single mom?