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We all know that life as a parent is a juggling act–from work, housekeeping and meals to dance classes, sports and bedtimes, life can get a little bit crazy! The true test comes when you have to balance it all alone. Whatever the reason you’ve been thrust into single parenthood (be it a single parent household or a parent who might be deployed), know that you are not alone!

I’ve been a single parent for several years now and have come up with some strategies to help balance the craziness that is our day-to-day life!

Routine-It’s not just for kids anymore.

The importance of settling into a good routine is important for the entire family-myself included! Especially as my daughter gets older, participating in school functions, going to movies with friends and taking dance classes six days a week, having day in and out routines makes our lives so much easier. Now that my son is in school and beginning to get involved in extra curricular activities, having the consistency of bedtime, mealtimes, and after school care is vital. Even my routine keeps me sane! The hardest time to juggle the routine was while I was taking graduate courses in the evening in addition to working full time. After the kids go to bed every night, I have the same routine. Every morning, I get up at the same time and have a set routine!

The small things are just that-small things.

When I was first a single mom, I felt like I needed to make sure things appeared perfect–at least to people on the outside. I have learned that the happiness of our family is much more important that the appearance of perfection. Dishes don’t get done, we go out to eat more than we should because I don’t have time or energy to cook, we sometimes have lazy Sundays were we don’t even change out of pajamas. Does my laundry get put away every weekend? Certainly not. Is it going to hurt anyone in my family to take their clean clothes from the basket instead of the closet? Not one bit.

It’s OK to reach out to others.

Along the lines of trying to appear perfect, I used to never ask for help unless I absolutely needed it. This was for two reasons; 1-The only family I have locally is my mother and 2-I felt like I should be able to handle it all on my own. Well, guess what? Everyone needs help sometimes. Since I don’t have much family, I ended up having to search for babysitters. I tried, but ended up finding the best babysitters through word of mouth from neighbors and coworkers. Sometimes it’s just too much to juggle it all on my own. I still struggle in asking for help, but I have gotten much better. It does hurt my pride, though!

Make time-for your children, yourself, and your work.

I make an effort to spend alone time with each of my children. Finding small (and free!) ways to show my love to them is very important. We also make sure in the hectic day in and out insanity that we spend time together as a whole family. Equally important is making sure you have time for yourself. Some nights, I don’t get much of anything done after the children go to bed because I just need to take some time to do nothing! And guess what? That’s okay (and yes, I still feel like I need to be doing 100 things when I’m trying to spend time for myself). Lastly, work is important, especially as the only income provider for our families. So, even though I never put work first, it is important that I am always offering my best self to work in addition to my family.

No matter how big or small your family is, remember that your family is wonderful and perfect–just the way it is.

Do you have any tips that get your through each day?

Check out this article:

10 Misconceptions about Single Moms