Do you know how to relax as a single mom? Is it even possible? There’s an old YouTube video of a mom who locked herself in her pantry out of desperation for a few moments of peace. She munches on Twizzlers from within the tiny space and holds up her snack, saying, “They always want what you have!” She squats down and points the camera under the door, only to see the chubby face of her daughter lying sideways on the floor. Peeking in, her daughter’s sweet little voice says, “Hi!”
That lady’s husband was just outside shoveling snow. Single moms have an even harder time finding a moment of quiet. Even if you share time with your kids’ father, you still need a moment to breathe when they’re with you. Pantry-free peace is possible! Here are 6 ideas to get you that much needed alone time.
1. Swap nights out/off with a mom friend.
Find a fellow mom you trust and ask if she’d be up for swapping nights out as you watch each other’s kids. You may have to adjust times of day when you can do this since you’ll probably be watching your own kids as well as hers when it’s your turn. But as long as you get some alone time in the exchange, time of day shouldn’t matter too much.
2. Set the clock for one hour of “me time” after the kids go to bed.
Whatever you enjoy doing (reading, watching Netflix, calling a friend, working on a hobby), do that for the entire time without feeling guilty or worrying about your to-do list. Refuse to let yourself worry about cleaning up, catching up on laundry, or taking care of the bills. Those things can wait for 60 minutes. Plus, the time you set aside to relax and not worry about your list will be time well spent in taking care of your mental well-being.
3. Take advantage of childcare at church functions.
Many churches offer free childcare if you sign up to do a class or Bible study at the church. Maybe your first choice of downtime doesn’t include a book study, but perhaps God is calling you to participate to teach you something. Being around other adults and having thought-provoking conversations can do wonders for you!
5. Give yourself permission to take time off from work.
Use your time off for some mental relaxation or fun alone time. Not every hour of vacation time has to be spent with someone else, and it’s absolutely OK to use your time off to take a break from the craziness of life. Do you feel yourself becoming short with co-workers, or taking out work stress on your kids? If you have paid time off available, there is no shame in using it for a mental health day.
If you have paid time off available, there is no shame in using it for a mental health day.
6. Trade babysitting with a resource you can offer.
What is something you are good at? Offer your skills in exchange for babysitting your kids. Are you great at math? Maybe you can tutor a middle schooler from your church and, in turn, she can babysit your kiddos. Do you enjoy baking? Offer to bake a birthday cake in exchange for a few hours of watching your children. Think outside the box and ask for a trade.
Share some tips on how to relax as a single mom. We all need ’em!