Single Parenting: Developing Routines and Getting Organized

Single parenting isn’t a cake walk by any means. When you’re the only adult living at home with your kids, you have to do just about everything, all the time depending on the age of your children. Developing routines for you and your children give you both something to work with and to relatively rely on cutting frustration and stress levels while freeing up just a little bit more quality time.

Break it Down
Grab a piece of paper and write down all the activities you literally have to do to keep your home functioning well. This includes cooking breakfast, dressing the children, making sure homework is in the backpack, fixing yourself a lunch for work, bills, laundry, dishes, cooking dinner and anything else you can think of. If you or children attend events during the week such as religious services or club meetings, include these in your list. Group them together based on category. For example, cooking breakfast and dinner in “Cooking,” dressing and bathing in “Grooming,” and so on.

Brainstorm Each Section
Look at each section and brainstorm ideas on how you can combine tasks. For example: Cook extra eggs, sausage and bacon on Sundays and use that to not have to cook breakfast for Monday and Tuesday. Plan two or three main dishes for dinner for the week, prepare them in advance and then freeze them in individual portions. Plan the meals and use the list for groceries for the next two weeks. Can you afford paper plates and bowls? Use these instead of your regular dishes to cut down on the time it takes to wash dishes. For grooming purposes, make sure each person has clothes picked out for the next day and lay them out in an easy to find location.

Paperwork
Keep one box where you keep all of your important documents. Use a file folder to keep copies of birth certificates, social security cards and more in one place. Use the same folder for your children’s immunization records and to keep copies of your pay stubs for the last twelve months. Photocopy your driver’s license or other state identification card along with all of your credit or debit cards onto one sheet of paper. Write the three or four digit identification number on the back near the signature panel down on a separate sheet of paper. Place the second piece of paper in a separate location from your credit card list. Place this in your important paperwork file or safety deposit box.

When you get the mail, separate the bills into one pile and spend time after dinner going through each, noting the due date and placing them in the various priorities to be paid. Write each amount due and the due date on the outside of the envelopes if this makes it easier. Keep a pocket calendar with you and check it often. Keep all your important dates and events noted in this pocket calendar.

Plug in your cell phone every night before bed so that you have a full battery charge every day. This will come in handy during emergencies. By taking part of weekend to organize your household in this manner, you’ll be able to save more time, reduce stress and carry these methods over into other things, such as performing vehicle maintenance or running errands.