Blog 19 of Top 25 Single Moms - 2012
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Between raising your children, working, and managing your home, how do you carve out time for yourself?
Being a single mom, I've always found it a challenge to find a balance where I can nurture myself, and take care of my own needs. When my daughter was a baby, I never left her with a babysitter and brought her everywhere with me. My friends were always very supportive of this, and so my "me time" evolved into having friends over to drink herbal teas and watch movies after she was tucked into bed at night. Over the years I've come to embrace the early mornings, before she wakes up. It's quiet and the whole world is still and calm for that brief time. This is my "me time"....when I nurture myself and practice meditation and yoga poses to help me focus and prepare for the busy day. Sometimes, I make a pot of strong coffee and sit down to write, blog, and just center myself.
What's your favorite thing to do with your children on the weekends or other free time?
On the weekends, we start first thing Saturday mornings. We're off to the local Farmer's market and sometimes yard sales in the summer; followed by her dance lessons, or baseball practice or whatever she's been involved in over the years. Throughout her childhood, if I was lucky enough to have weekends off, they were always reserved for embracing the seasons where we live. In the summer that means going to the park, having picnics by the lake, going fishing, swimming, age appropriate nature walks and hikes. Also during the summer months, we always pick our own fruit....strawberries, blueberries cherries, and peaches, and traditionally, we go to to our local pumpkin patch every fall. In the winter...ice skating, tobogganing down the hills at our favourite parks, and of course, making a snowman was always top priority after a snowfall when my daughter was younger. From the time my little girl started kindergarten I claimed Friday nights as "staying up late night", ( a tradition I grew up with). Sometimes we'd get pizza, other times I'd take her to the store to pick out a bag of chips, a chocolate bar or some other junk food item, and always make popcorn. And I let her pick out movies to rent and stay up until she fell asleep on the couch and I'd carry her to bed. These days, it's still "staying up late night", but she's more apt to spend it with friends or have a sleepover. So we try to reserve one night during the week now for "retro-movie night"....that is I choose a movie that her generation has missed, but one I still think is a classic and great movie for her to see at 16. Our list so far, includes Stand By Me, Dead Poet's Society, Good Will Hunting, The Godfather, Helter Skelter, Jaws, Soylent Green. Midnight Express and some classic horror films that we both have a passion for. And instead of playing at the park, we're more likely to go to the mall, or even more likely as she's growing up, it's just her who goes to the mall with her friends instead of me. No matter how old she gets, how busy and independent of me she is these days, we always meet back at our home to spend Sunday evenings together, just chilling after dinner, talking, bonding, and preparing for the busy week ahead.
What responsibilities or chores do your children have to help you around the house?
When my daughter was little, she had age-appropriate chores; like setting the dinner table with a center-piece of her choice. I allowed her full artistic license and she would pick anything from a Lego block to a Barbie doll to a glass filled with freshly picked dandelions. It was our way of re-connecting as a family, small as it is, after a day of her being at school and daycare and me at work. My daughter recently turned 16, and is a typical teenager in the way that her bedroom is littered with clothes and her bed is rarely made. And I have been the one to take her dog out every day for walks and to go potty. You know the dog she promised she would train and feed and take care of exclusively, if I got it for her 13th birthday? Yeah, that dog, but I have to admit she is becoming more hands on. She is a wonderful help to me in household chores as she is growing into her teens. We don't have a car and being old enough now, she often helps me cart groceries home on the bus....a great help! We work together as a team, and I haven't assigned her any one particular chore of her own, except for vacuuming because she loves it. She also recycles down to the last bread tie and takes the garbage out to our apartment building's community bin more often than me these days. Over the years of watching me make everything from scratch in the kitchen, my daughter has developed a love for cooking and baking, and usually is the one to ask to make our Sunday dinners. These days, we maintain a habit of doing dishes together after dinner. We don't have a dishwasher, so after both our busy days, it's a good time to decompress and talk about our day together while cleaning up the kitchen.
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