Avoid Single Mom Burnout Tip #11 Step Outside of the Box

Routines are the major part of our day, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Routines are instrumental in giving our families structure,   security, peace, and even joy. But, when you start to resemble a robot and your household is more like an assembly line rather than a place of creative energy than routine becomes more life sucking  than life giving. If your routine is draining you and the   little mundane tasks of everyday life is burning you out than its time to step outside of the box!  Life is supposed to be exciting! Are you climbing Mount Everest and hiking through the rain forest every day? Probably not, but I think life should contain a healthy dose of spontaneity! We feel most alive when we are learning, trying something new and just living in the moment instead of living by a strict to do list. If you find yourself drowning in monotony throw yourself a life preserver and do something different! Life is short, take time to embark on an  adventure! Try new things, take a risk, go new places, meet new people and step outside of your norm.

Single moms have a unique situation in that they usually have every other weekend or some part of the week free.  Now, I know we’d much rather have our kids with us 24/7 and this can be a really rough adjustment, but take advantage of that time to push routine to the side and do something that is totally different! Take a painting class, go wall climbing or zip lining, pack a small bag and just get in your car and drive to no particular place in mind.  Don’t go off the deep end and do anything reckless or put yourself in a dangerous situation, but have fun and give yourself permission to do so! Every day you work hard, you take care of your family, maintain a home and a host of other things and that is admirable. You are a ROCKSTAR, but it’s also okay to get refreshed by trying or doing something new!

Get spontaneous with your kids and family time as well. There is no one on earth I’d rather be with more than Anya. One my favorite things to do with her is to travel and be spontaneous on a whim. When we step outside the box, it gives her a sense of wonder and adventure not to mention it allows us to create long lasting memories! Your kids most likely will be on board to do something different with mom, after all they get tired of the day to day routine too! So, go ahead and be an explorer, challenge your mind, and step outside the box you deserve it!

A last minute trip to NYC and a late night dinner in Little Italy! These are the nights that memories are made!

Avoid Single Mom Burnout Tip #10 Don’t be Desperate for A Relationship

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Everyone deserves happiness, companionship and love. Divorce and separation are devastating and it can scar us to our core. Each of us handles it differently. Some of us stay clear  from relationships and some of us run towards them jumping in feet first ready to start all over again. I’m not judging either of these approaches, but I do think any extreme is never a good thing. One of the quickest ways to burnout is to be desperate for a relationship. Desperation causes people to settle, push  priorities to the side, and allow all of your energy to be consumed in a relationship. Desperation doesn’t look good on anyone and it is extremely unhealthy. There is no denying that relationships can be beautiful and if you desire one in your life than by all means pray for God to bring the right person in your life and your family’s life. When we get swept away into a romance it is very easy to put blinders on and to lose sight of what God wants for us. He has the perfect plan already laid out whether it includes you being in a relationship or being single.

Are your rushing through you season of singleness? Before you dart toward the exit, think about these few things:

  1. Have You Prayed About This Season? Have you asked God to reveal what is His will for this season in your life? There may be things that God specifically wants you to focus on and if you rush through you may miss out on some vital plans that God has for your life.

  2. Have You Embraced This Season? Being single can be a gift because it give you the freedom and time to get to know yourself, to think about what you want and don’t want, to reevaluate your approach and patterns in relationships and your expectations. It is also a time to develop your gifts to fine tune them and to manifest them to serve and glorify God.

  3. Is This Season Specifically Reserved for Family? This may be a time to focus heavily on your family, which I’m sure you always do, however if you are newly single you and your family are undergoing a huge transformation. This is the time to navigate and pray through this restructuring so that you can build a loving and positive experience through a difficult situation.

If you happen to be dating or really are ‘ready to move forward, think about the meaning of desperate. It means,         “having a great need or desire for something, or feeling hopeless, trying in despair or when everything else has failed; having little hope of success.

As you embark on the dating scene ask yourself if any of these words or feelings resonate with you. If they do the relationship you are seeking isn’t with another human being it is with God. You are trying to feel a void that will never be filled from any earthly relationship. You can’t be sustained or fulfilled from the companionship of another person if you aren’t first completed through Christ.

If you are in a relationship, don’t conform to being someone your not. Stay whole and stand in who you are in Christ. For example, if you attend church every Sunday and the person you’re dating doesn’t go to church, don’t stop going to church. If your desire is to have a successful relationship keep God first and don’t change your life around to please someone else. If you’re dating and you find yourself stressed, strained,  or evolving into a person you don’t recognize this may not be the right time or the right person. Chasing after someone is draining and exhausting. It isn’t your job to change anyone so don’t wear yourself out!

You are a beautiful woman who deserves God’s absolute best so trust in Him to pick your mate. If you want a relationship go to your heavenly husband! Then pray for God to bring you who He designed for you. A partner ha will love, respect and honor you and your children along with your family dynamics. Do it the right way! Stay faithful and don’t do it on your own, God’s choice for you will always be the right one.  Embrace, learn and grown from the season God has you in at this minute. Know that  you will be fine with or without a relationship and when it is the right time God will intervene.

 

Avoid Single Mom Burnout Tip #8 Stop Comparing Yourself to the Jones’

Tip # 8 is Stop Comparing Yourself the Jones’
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What is it about human beings in general that we constantly compare ourselves with others? Moms really seem to be in the comparison business. I can’t tell you how often I’ve been in situations where a mom is trying to one up me or worse they try to compare their child to mine. When Anya was 3 years old I was outside of her ballet studio and another mother with a child in the class was remarking on  Anya’s skills (remind you she was 3), I  thanked her and gave her daughter a compliment as well. She then went on to tell me how clumsy her daughter was and that she was trying to determine  her talent! At 3? Talent didn’t cross my mind, all I saw were sweet little cherubs faces running around giggling and  having fun! It was sad that this probably well-meaning mom couldn’t just simply enjoy her daughter and embrace the moment.  Every family is different every child is unique and when we accept these difference life is so much more enjoyable!
As a single mom regardless of how you got here one sure way to burn out is to continually compare yourself to other families instead of being content with your family as it is in its present state. It is exhausting to want something you can’t have.  Looking at other families and wishing you had a house like theirs, worrying that you aren’t giving your kids the opportunities others give their children in a two parent family (or so you think), or stressing that you’re not as organized or as crafty as the mom across the street will  only make you miserable! Don’t try to overcompensate and wear yourself ragged to prove that you can be like other families that  you perceive to live a picture perfect life because no one does! I’ve seen many two parent families struggling more than many single mothers I know. They appear to be  like the Beavers and unfortunately their reality more resembles the War of the Roses. Listen, the bottom line is every family has their challenges. Your family is a family whether it is a 2 parent family or if it is you as a single mom doing the best she can for her children. The key is finding joy in your circumstances. Rejoice in your family and stop comparing it to others  because it is unique.
Don’t pressure yourself to  be on every single PTA board, hold the best parties for your kids, host the neighborhood potluck all because you want to live up to some non-existent standard. I’ve had my own struggles with overcompensating and it burned me out and made me an absolute nightmare to be around. I had to come to realize that I am who I am, my family is what it is and we are  blessed. God doesn’t want us to compare ourselves or our family  because it is beautiful just the way it is…right at this moment. Find peace in the place you’re family is in and honor it, that is when joy comes in and the Jones’ won’t matter.

 

Avoid Single Mom Burnout Tip #7 Make Your Physical Health a Priority

Tip # 7 is Find Time To Take Care of Yourself Physically

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Moms spend the majority of their time taking care of their kids. We make sure they are well fed, clean, healthy,  take their vitamins, and get enough sleep. That’s what moms do, right? But, do you take care of yourself with the same intention and attention that you care for your children?Is taking care of your physical self a priority in your life? We emphasize the importance of  nurturing our spiritual and emotional well-being, but taking care of your body is important as well. I have a love/hate relationship with exercise. I can hop on that exercise train with great gusto (just look at a couple of my Healthy Me posts) but it doesn’t take long for me to get lazy and hop on the couch with even greater gusto! If I’m not intentional about exercising and eating healthy it can easily slip to the bottom of my priority list.  When I neglect my physical well-being I’m always disappointed because I just feel blah. I know how fantastic it feels to be in optimum shape, to eat good food and to feel comfortable in my own skin. The problem is life gets busy and when it does I conveniently skip out on me. If I skip out one me then it effects how I work, my relationships, and my overall mental state. I’m not at my best because I put me last.  Single moms don’t have a lot of spare time, but if you take care of your physical self then you are giving a gift not only to yourself, but to your kids. You will avoid burnout and be a good role model for them!

 

Find a form of exercise that suits your lifestyle and that you enjoy. If your physical body is tired and out of shape it leads straight to burnout. A fancy gym membership is not a requirement, but what is essential for you to do is to form a habit and a determination to be intentional about getting in some form of exercise. I found that walking after I drop Anya off at school was good for my body and my mind. Morning walks for me are an ideal time to pray, slow down, and heighten my senses to the world around me. When I get my morning walk in, I’m not as lethargic and I feel more motivated for the day ahead. What I eat also has a huge impact on my energy levels. If I stuff my mouth with sugary high fat foods, all I’ll want to do is nothing! Being on the go can make it difficult to eat healthy, so you may have to get a little creative, but it’s worth it! Here are some tips that I use to try to keep my physical state in working shape!

 

Exercise
  • Cardio- I try to get in at least an hour of walking in the day. Everyone’s schedule is different but if you can get in at least 30 minutes of cardio you see a big difference. If you need to make walking a family affair that is okay too! Can’t get a walk in at all? Try just walking the stairs in your home a few times. Anything that gets your heart rate going will help! If you want to record the number of miles you are walking try one of the many free apps that let you know how many miles you are logging. I use an app called Runtastic and it totally motivates me to go further!
  • Strength Training- I do crunches, squats, and lift 3-5 pound weights for my arm. It is really important to keep our core strong. You can do this while watching television or listening to a podcast. This is so easy and you can almost do it anywhere.
  • Sneak Exercise in Your Day- Park further away from the grocery store, do squats while you’re  drying the dishes, anything that will get your body moving just do it!
Nutrition
  • Vitamins-Take them!
  • Fruits and Vegetables- Eat more veggies and fruit! The great thing about veggies is you can eat as much as you want! Hone in on those vegetables you enjoy and implement them in your meals
  • Eat Leaner Meats and More Fish– I love salmon and can eat it every day, but if you like meat try a leaner version like turkey meat which is delicious!
  • Prepare Healthy Snacks- Take time to divide healthy snacks in baggies, so when you are hungry you can just grab them and go. Some snacks that I always have on hand are almonds, grapes, clementines, hard-boiled eggs and granola bars.
  • Drink Water- Water is essential for a healthy body. Drink water whenever you can! It is great for your organ, your skin and it fights off exhaustion.
A healthy you is a better you so take time to get a little pampering in too! Take a little longer in the shower, treat yourself to a refreshing body scrub, paint your nails, anything that will give you a little oomph will certainly help you feel better and renewed! Remember you deserve it!

Avoid Single Mom Burnout Tip #6 Create Your Community

Tip #6 is Create Your Community
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I still struggle with the super single mom syndrome. I have a tendency to try to do it all myself which is absolutely ludicrous! I used to feel out of control if I asked anyone for anything. In my mind reaching out for help meant I wasn’t capable of taking care of our little family or I was in some way failing  as a mom. When in fact the responsible and smart thing to do was to push my pride and ego aside and ask for help so that I didn’t get burned out! If you want to burn out quickly one then refuse to lay down your supermom cape and ask for help. You may be moving along just fine for awhile, but prepare to crash and burn.
 
One of the most vital things you can do as a single mom is to create a community of support for yourself and your family. If you have family that lives close and willing to help you, God bless you! Take advantage (in a good way) of being able to call on your family when you need them. If you don’t have family in close proximity, start reaching out to create a supportive community.  I know this isn’t always easy, especially if you’re unsure of where to start, but sometimes it really is as simple as saying hello. You’d be surprised how many women  are searching for that same sense of community. Bonding with other single moms is a gift because they really understand some of the unique challenges you face on a daily basis.
 
I sincerely appreciate and love my single mom friends. Let me give you a glimpse into how one of my dearest friends Christina another single mom has come to my rescue on several occasions.  One year I had the flu so badly that I literally couldn’t move. Being stubborn I refused to call anyone, until I was parked in my daughter’s school parking lot unable to do anything but cry. Christina picked me up brought me to urgent care, got my meds then picked  my daughter up from school and continued to help me through the entire time I was ill. Another time she saved my sanity when I couldn’t get my 7 foot Christmas tree to stop tumbling over. was She went to Home Depot and bought a larger stand and then helped with the tree. She’s always there ready to talk to me for hours when I need an ear and honestly she is one of the best friends I’ve ever had and we’ve only known each other for about 6 years! She has become one of my greatest blessings. Do you have a Christina in your life? If not it is time to try and get one! Here are a couple ideas on how to start creating that community:
 
-Talk to moms at your children’s school. Invite them out for a cup of coffee or have a play date.
-Reach out to your sisters at church and consider creating a mom’s ministry or a single mom’s ministry.
-Start a meet up group for single moms
-Look for parenting groups in your area
-Try to find a mentor who can give you sound guidance 
-Be open to sharing resources with other moms (for examples tips, babysitters, etc.)
 
Once you start forming your community remember you only get out of it what you put it into it, all relationships need to be reciprocal. Discuss the areas you struggle in and how you can help each other out. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Be creative in finding ways to be supportive. For example, maybe you can babysit her kids for an hour on parent’s night and then when you return she can watch your kids, do a dinner potluck once every couple weeks, or share family dinners on Sunday, there are countless ways you can help lighten one another’s load. These relationships can bloom into something beautiful if you spend the time to nurture them. So get out there and create your community!

Avoid Single Mom Burnout Tip #5 Get Organized

Tip # 5
Get Organized!
Organization Tip: Set a timer for each room that you clean. Give yourself a set time to get it done, then take a break so you don't wear yourself out!

Organization Tip: Set a timer for each room that you clean. Give yourself a set time to get it done, then take a break so you don’t wear yourself out!

In my single years pre-Anya the word organization wasn’t in my vocabulary! I managed well and didn’t give a second thought to organization.  Then I became a mother. Then I became a single mother and life got extra hectic. I hit a brick wall when Anya was three years old. I was juggling a dozen balls in the air and trying to keep them from dropping on my head was taking a serious toll on me. I was burned out, cranky, out of sorts and exhausted. I couldn’t catch my breath and always felt twenty steps behind. I desired to create a cozy, clean, organized home along with a life that didn’t feel as though I was just going through the motions. I simply wanted to simplify my life, but had no idea where to start.

Then one day I came across a site called Homemakers by Choice that would literally change the way I lived and how I managed my household. The founder Donna Otto had written a book called, Secrets to Getting More Done in Less Time that I recommend you read as soon as possible if you are serious about getting organized. I devoured it and  begin to listen to her daily podcasts. It completely changed my outlook and my actions about organization. I developed an appreciation for order and how it effected my spiritual life as well. How could I do God’s will for my life if my world was a mess? I found myself wanting to get organized! An orderly home no longer seemed unattainable instead it became a God send! When I made organization a priority I had more time to spend with my daughter, do the things I enjoyed, and create the home I envisioned for myself and Anya. I noticed an immediate change in my attitude and the overall mood in our home approved.

Organization looks different for everyone. What may work for me, may not work for you. If you’re intimidated by the idea of getting organized, take one step at a time. Here is how I got started:

  • First: Consider the level of organization you would need to maintain in order for your week to run smoother. Ask yourself, “What are some things I can do that would lessen my stress?
  • Second: Take an inventory. Go to each room of your house and simply write down what needs done. While your taking inventory make note if you need storage bins, labels, etc. Tackle the room that needs the least amount of energy and work. If you get one room done quickly then it will motivate you to go to the next.
  • Third: Create a schedule. Give yourself a snapshot of what needs done weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.
  • Fourth: Invest in a good planner and calendar. There are so many cool tools and resources available that can keep you on track.  Previously, I wrote about Cozi an app that I have on my phone that stores my calendar, to do list and shopping lists. You may want to create a chore schedule that is in plan view so that your kids know what chores they are expected to complete.
  • Fifth: Be intentional about maintenance and preparation. You don’t have to get all OCD, but preparation goes a long way. For example, if you are able to prepare lunches for the week your shaving minutest off of your morning routine which is easily one of the busiest and stressful prone times of day. Maintenance with kids may seem impossible, but the more you are able to maintain the less you have to do during your already busy day.
  • A lack of organization can leave you feeling burned out and depleted. Examine what role organization has in your life. Is it a leading contributing factor to your stress? If it is then think about these 5 steps and start making changes. I promise it will change your world!

    Avoid Single Mom Burnout Tip #4

    Tip #4 Pursue Your Passion!
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    If your like me and so many moms out there you will do anything for your children. You do what you can to make sure they are in the activities they love, you try to expose them to different opportunities, you drive them around, you take them on play dates, you provide a home for them, you take them to church, you’ll fight tooth and nail to give them the best start you can because you are mom and it is a what you do. When I do things for Anya I don’t think about it because it is part of my every day life and I enjoy raising her. In the midst of play dates, cooking and cleaning and the host of other stuff we on the schedule we often forget to pencil in ourselves.  Our dreams are often pushed aside and sometimes buried under mommy hood altogether. You can be a great mom and still be an individual who is creative and can work toward your dreams and goals!
    What do you love to do? What did you enjoy doing pre-kids? Are you living the creative life you want to live right now? Are you squashing your potential? Only you can answer these questions, but I do know that there is a fire in your belly to do what God in his workmanship created you to do. Maybe the fire is just crackling or maybe it is so hot that you can barely contain it, but believe me it is burning. If you want to avoid burnout and avoid burning this soul fulfilling fire out, remember to pursue the things you love! Don’t bury your dreams because of a hectic life. God intended for you to use your gifts, talents and abilities! When you don’t use your gifts you start to burn out physically and mentally because you are going against your grain.
    Each day taken an intentional step towards your dreams, no matter how big or small. When you are actively doing what you love doors open and opportunities arise. Did I mention that you are also a happier mom and an inspiration to your kids when you don’t ignore your dreams? Cease from focusing on the obstacles or time constraints. Instead set your sites on how you can  make your dreams a reality. Utilize those spare minutes you can find when the kids are in activities or with their dad to pursue your passion.This time is an investment in you! Maybe doing what you lovewill never make you rich, but it enriches your life. That is what matters. Pursuing what you love gives you that glow, that pep in your step that make life just a little more fun!

     

    Avoid the Single Mom Burnout Tip #2

    Tip # 2 Don’t Constantly Complain About or Bad Mouth The Father of Your Children
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    The father-child bond is still important, we should still foster it when we can.

    There is no faster way to fall into a rabbit hole of negativity and burnout than constantly complaining or bad mouthing your children’s father. There is a verse in the bible that talks about how worrying never changes anything, well neither does complaining or bad mouthing it only keeps that bad energy circulating and festering inside of your heart. Burnout happens when we are exhausted, depressed, angry, sad, and a host of other draining emotions. If you’re constantly angry or harboring bitterness you are keeping yourself stuck in a no win situation. I’m not implying that you shouldn’t vent or neatly tuck away all your emotions  because that is simply denial. There is obviously a reason you aren’t in a union any longer so all the things that contributed to the split are most likely still lingering. He may drive you crazy because of a number of reasons, but complaining about it won’t change his actions. If his actions are negatively impacting your children, of course you should address it with him. Will it change? Maybe, or maybe not, you can only be responsible for yourself and what you put out there.
    If you’ve ever been in the company of women who constantly complain about their ex it is exhausting. You should be able to talk to your friends, but when it is all you talk about it actually makes you dig in your memory conjuring up all the bad times and next thing you know you’re reliving events from the past that are getting you mad all over again! There is enough sadness and pain when you go through a separation and if you’re able to reach a place of healing in any area, try to focus on that which will give you peace and celebrate that victory, regardless of how small it may be… it matters. We all have our faults, and I’m not trying to minimize anyone’s situation, but wellbeing comes from a place of peace, respect, and kindness. Think about it, do you ever feel good after an ugly rant? Most likely not. There is a difference between a rant and talking about your feelings without all the yucky name calling and dirt slinging. This isn’t always easy, emotions run high because we’ve had a child with this person, but we can either take the high road or stay in the gutter.
    Don’t spend your day consumed with anger. If you can’t overcome the negative feelings, pray for healing, and seek godly council. Be careful of others in the same boat who want to only keep the conversation to berate their ex, remember misery loves company.  Life is too short to let bitterness reside in our heart. Dare I say maybe you can start a new relationship with this person, different but better in some ways? I pray so :)
    *Try praying for your children’s father for 30 days, you’ll be surprised of the outcome!

    Avoid the Single Mom Burnout Tip #1 Dive Into the Sciptures!

    Tip #1 Dive Into Scripture
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    2 Timothy 3:16-17
    “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

    The Number 1 surefire tip I have for avoiding single mom burnout is to consistently spend time in the scriptures. When I  read the scriptures  I have a renewed sense of hope and reassurance of God’s promises. Being a single mom tests your faith every day, but you can stand strong in your faith when you are armed with the gospel. When you are grounded in God’s word, when you know His precepts  those impossible days become bearable. The Bible is our blueprint for life and it is at your fingertips begging for you to open it, read it, and apply it to your life. Before you pick up the phone and call a friend pick up the Bible. The word is living and breathing so every day try to live it and breathe it in so you can extinguish the burnout before it becomes a wildfire!