Create a family calendar.
When you’re a single mother, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the details of your life. You might forget the responsibilities you have, or miss out on important events because they fall at the same time as other things. You need a system that helps keep everything straight so that nothing falls through the cracks — and that system is a family calendar.
A family calendar doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive; all you really need is a piece of paper with enough space for everyone in your household to write down their own activities each day, week, and month (and probably year). A dry-erase board is another possibility if you don’t mind erasing things every day or two!
No matter what kind of calendar method works best for your household, make sure it stays somewhere central where everyone can see it easily—the kitchen door would be ideal! Write down birthdays and anniversaries as well as school events and holidays so there will never be any surprises come party time again!
I currently have a large, dry-erase calendar that I purchased from Home Goods in my bedroom. The children add their events, work schedules, appointments, etc. on a regular basis. I have dry erase markers readily available for them. My children monitor it, just like I do. We also share a family calendar via iOS. Even though my oldest is in college, we know when he has important events, as well because of the shared family calendar.
Create a budget.
After you have a firm grasp on your income and expenses, it is time to create a budget. Make sure that the budget you create uses realistic numbers. For example, if you spend $100 per month on takeout food, don’t include this expense in your monthly budget. Instead, save up until you have enough money to purchase one or two meals per week at restaurants so that when an emergency arises or a friend comes to visit and wants to grab dinner with friends, there will be some wiggle room in your budget for these things—things that can happen from time to time without breaking the bank!
- Remember that having fun costs money too! Don’t forget about entertainment expenses such as going out for drinks with friends or taking vacations. Also, remember that sometimes even small amounts of savings go a long way: It’s better than nothing!
Have a ready supply of grab-and-go snacks.
As a single mother, you’ve got enough on your plate. You don’t want to be the one who has to worry about stocking up on snack foods for your kids every week. So here are some tips for keeping a well-stocked pantry and fridge that will help you stay organized:
- Make sure you have plenty of grab-and-go snacks available. Some good options include granola bars, fruit leathers or dried fruit, yogurt tubes (if they’re not too messy), packaged nuts or trail mix with low sugar content, and even frozen treats like popsicles (or ice cream sandwiches!) can be useful if it’s hot outside and you need something cool fast.
- Keep all of these foods in airtight containers so they don’t spoil as quickly—and make sure they’re easy to find! You’ll save time when the kids start getting hungry but just remember which ones are already open so you don’t accidentally double up on any foods that aren’t shelf-stable yet (such as fresh berries).
Try to get your children to help with chores around the home.
- Make a chore chart. Chore charts help kids get used to regular, daily responsibilities and can be extremely helpful for single mothers. For example, if your child is in school from 8:00-3:30 every day, it’s not realistic for you to expect them to come home and make their own lunch or do the laundry immediately after school. Instead, encourage them to make their lunch on Sunday night (or whenever they have time) so that it’s ready for Monday morning; that way, there’s no need for you or other family members to prepare food when everyone is exhausted at the end of the weekend!
- Ask them to help with daily tasks. If your son wants nothing more than cereal in the morning but doesn’t want anything other than fruit loops until bedtime because he thinks they’re delicious (which they are), let him choose what he eats first thing in the morning—but only if he helps set up his own breakfast table by placing his bowl on top of his plate (with utensils) and putting everything else where it belongs before sitting down with mommy who will then serve her baby boy some deliciousness! The same goes for choosing what he wears throughout his day; if he wants another pair of pants instead of jeans today because “they’re comfy!”, let him decide how many pairs should be hung up as opposed to folded neatly into drawers – but only if ____________(fill in blank with name)!
Keep a journal!
You’re going to need a journal. There are many apps out there that can help you organize your life, but nothing beats the tactile sensation of writing something down on paper.
What should you write about in your journal? It’s up to you! The point is simply that when you write down what happened during the day, it helps keep your thoughts organized and reduces stress because it’s all captured in one place. You don’t have to focus on remembering every detail at once—just take a few minutes each night (or whenever works best for you) and write everything down so it doesn’t slip through the cracks.
Why do this? Because keeping track of everything will allow you more time and energy for other things in life! Whether that means having more fun with friends or spending more time with family members, being organized will give you the opportunity to do whatever makes YOU happy.
When should I write in my journal? This is crucial: write every day! Even if something didn’t go well during that particular day, try not to dwell on negative things—focus instead on how much better tomorrow will be than today (or last week). When things get rough or stressful at work/home/school etc., always remember why we stay optimistic despite our circumstances (a quote from Confucius comes in handy here: “Our greatest glory lies not in never falling but rising every time we fall.”).
Utilize online tools like synced calendars and lists that can be accessed on multiple devices.
- Utilize online tools like synced calendars and lists that can be accessed on multiple devices.
- Use a calendar app to sync your personal and work calendars, so you always know what’s going on. You can also use the calendar app to share tasks between family members or friends, so everyone knows what needs to get done when it needs to get done. The same goes for using a list app—these are great ways of sharing grocery lists or other important information that every single parent will need access to at some point during the day.
Check out my post on using Google Calendar.
De-clutter your home regularly.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by clutter. If you’re a single mother, it can seem like there’s never enough time in the day to get everything done, so why devote even more of your precious hours to cleaning up? The trick is finding ways to declutter without going overboard.
One strategy is not buying too much stuff in the first place. You don’t need 50 pairs of shoes or 100 shirts or even 10 pairs of jeans—you only need what you wear regularly and feel comfortable wearing on a day-to-day basis. If you have an overflowing closet full of clothes that are rarely worn because they’re either outdated or just don’t look good on your body type, consider donating them before the next season comes around.
Another way that single mothers can de-clutter their homes quickly and easily is by avoiding storage solutions that require too much effort for someone who already has many responsibilities outside of home life—such as renting an extra storage unit down the street from their apartment building every month because they’ve bought more than they need over time (and then having trouble getting rid of those extra items when it comes time). Instead, use cardboard boxes under your bed or other large pieces of furniture as temporary storage for seasonal items such as summer clothing and winter coats until these items become relevant again later on down the road (or pass them to someone else). This will save money while keeping things organized at home!
Your life will be less hectic if you stay organized–and wouldn’t that be nice?
Being organized will make your life less hectic and more manageable, which is one of the main reasons why people are drawn to it. With less stress and more time for other things in life, you’ll be able to have a better quality of life overall. Here are some other benefits:
- You’re more likely to get things done on time.
- You’ll be less likely to forget things or lose them—especially if they’re put away properly in their proper locations (did you know there’s a difference between misplacing and losing something?).
- It’s easier for you to find what you need when it’s needed because everything has its own spot where it belongs, so you can quickly locate an item when needed.