Single Mom Tips & Tricks...Especially for Tight Budgets!

[deleted account] ( 8 moms have responded )

Single Moms, please share your tips and tricks for accomplishing anything and everything, from getting shower to completing important tasks, and for making time for yourself and still spending quality time together.

I always feel that balance between work & "me time" vs. Mommy time is a constant inner struggle. I probably over-balance toward the quality time with Ella Claire (which makes me feel good) but I don't always do enough for myself and feel like I'm always behind on everything else which is stressful.
My daughter (21 mos.) doesn't nap well some days (and some days not at all!) and goes to bed late, so I don't get to do much while she sleeps (like I hear from other moms). We live with my mom, but "Grandma" still works full-time over an hour away, so she's not home until late. I like that we eat a late dinner together as a family most nights, but that doesn't leave much time to get things done before the "witching hour" hits and Ella Claire only wants Mommy. At that point, I'm exhausted and we go to bed together so I can't do much then. I also feel guilty that Grandma does so much on the weekends for us and that eats into her personal time. She loves time with her granddaughter, but sometimes she feels like she needs to be doing something else. Last but not least, my ex-husband has supervised visitation, so I don't get that "break" that some single moms get when Daddy picks up for the weekend because I'm still there with them and doing all the driving because he can't drive right now.

I have learned a few tricks that help and I'd like to share with others:

1- I learned that bathing with my child can be fun quality time and really helps solve the no-good-time-for-a-shower issue. Then, occasionally I get a hot shower (HEAVEN!) when Grandma's around.
2- I took Ella out of home daycare for the summer & hired a summer babysitter - my friend's 13 yr. old daughter who is very responsible for her age and has safety training. It's saving me a TON of money so I can afford a few extra hours to get more done and it's been fun for Ella Claire to be home.
3- I'm learning to cook larger servings of food and freeze leftovers for busy or no-nap-day-whiny nights and times where we need to eat dinner before Grandma gets home.
4- I spend time on occasion with friends who have older kids so I can have adult conversations while their 10-12 yr. olds watch and entertain Ella Claire in the next room.

Ok, that's a few... now, please share your tricks with me & other single moms too!!!


[deleted account]

To Nichole: I freeze just about EVERYTHING! Spaghetti, chicken pot pie, other casseroles, mac&cheese, grilled chicken, hamburgers, any leftovers that are excessive and may not get used in a few days. I haven't tried chicken salad, egg salad, or tuna salad... curious about those though because they always go bad quickly.


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[deleted account]

Okay here are a few of my tips and I want to say thank you for the single mom "share care" idea. I will deffinantly be trying that one out in the future. :)

Alright even with a newborn housework can get done along with everything else through each day. It is all about time management and the fact that your child does NOT need your constant attention. They need to be able to self entertain or self guide as it will go a long way towards their independence. Taking a shower each night before bed isn't hard and even if you are exhausted can be managed in 10minutes BY YOURSELF. Or set your alarm and get up 15 minutes early and do it in the morning. Pre-making food or making extra and freezing it is a great idea. I will add to that though. Remember that fresh fruits and veggies are always best. They are quick and easy to add to any meal and if your child refuses to eat then they don't eat. Trust me. Each of us has what is called a survival instinct. (even small children/toddlers) If they get hungry they WILL eat what is set before them. They won't starve no matter what they whine, moan, or scream about. Just stick to your guns and it will work out in the end. :) Make set routines for your child. i.e. morning rountine, bedtime routine, meal time routine, etc. If your child knows what to expect and when to expect it then it will relieve a lot of stress the child will feel when they don't know what to expect. Plus it is just calming for anyone to know what to expect and when to expect it. Why wouldn't it be the same for your child/children?

I don't know if any of this helps but it is a few things that keep my household sane. :) Seeing as I have 4 girls and am now a single mom I think I am doing great. :) hehe

Tiffany - posted on 07/14/2011




Nichole, I so commend you. I love the idea of simplicity, but I know there's no way I could go to 100 items. (I'm too much of a book nut). Does that include everything you own? What about your children? Are they minimalist too? What a great lesson for them: to value people and experiences over "things". I've been to third-world countries and in orphanages where children have nothing of their own...even the clothes and beds are shared. Here we have so much excess and waste and seem to only want more. I have been wearing about 10-15 pieces only out of my wardrobe, but honestly that's because I don't fit in most of my pre-baby clothes and refuse to buy new. What do you do when you entertain guests? I dream of a day with less laundry, but for now my boys are great mess makers and go through a lot of clothes and diapers (I do cloth).

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 06/10/2011




I downsized a bunch. Even dishes! I have 4 of everything out - cups, spoons, forks, 8 plates, 2 pans and 2 pots. I've made full meals that last us a week off of this set up so I don't believe we need a bunch of dishes stacking up. Which has helped me, because now when a cup is dirty, I wash one really quick which isn't as big a deal as we think it is when there are 8 or 12 laying around to chose from. But later on, it only takes me 30 minutes if EVERYTHING in the kitchen is dirty! It's awesome. We cook spaghetti by the 2-3lb boxes and put it in the fridge for lunches and later dinner (can make a crockpot lasagna out of it. I layered cottage cheese and cheese inbetween to keep the lasagna feel) so you get a variety out of it too.

Haven't yet done the crockpot cooking thing, but it does only take 1 pan to clean in the end and you can start it in the morning and let it simmer all day while you are gone? I know a few women who do this. Can pretty much put whatever you want in there to cook, too.

I also only use about 1/4 of my wardrobe right now. I went back to simple basic peices that are very versatile. Put together a solid look that can be interchanged with eachother. Recently have only been able to wear birkenstocks due to the arch support needed. So I don't have to worry about sandals anymore, which is actually nice! Mine are black, haven't had a problem yet with them and from now on I'm going straight for 'more bang for your buck' with paying more for these........ had my pair a year (paid 50$ at marshalls) and I looooove them. Only thing else I need for shoes is a few house flip flops (don't take up much room) and sneakers.

This has helped me not need to do 10 loads of laundry weekly, spend time all 1 day a week folding clothes all day, putting them away, sorting through it all....... blah

I was inspried by reading up on minimalizing and organizing websites. This blog really got me:

The guy actually only has 72 items! He even took a photo of all of them for you to see! Verrrrry inspirational. So I made my own list and guess what? It was around 50 items that I 'needed' to where I had to walk around the house and pick up a few things I missed (deoderant, how did that happen. oh heck no! lol) and for me it was realllllly hard to hit 100. This is based on an original book titled '100 things or less'. It was a real eye opener.

This has also saved me from spending unnecessarily when out shopping. I just threw out 5 garbage bags full of clothes, went to Goodwill. Gone. Why would I shop again? It makes me sick to think of everything we've just given away, to go buy more! I don't need it. So the whole process has really been awesome and there have been sooooooooo many benefits along the way. I know it's random, but since it helped me in so many different ways I hope this helps some how

[deleted account]

Thanks Sherry! Some great tips! And thankfully my mom is very understanding when she comes home to a pile of dishes or laundry. I'm very fortunate to have asuch a great mm and Grandma for Ella Claire! :-)

Sherry - posted on 06/09/2011




Those are some great tips, Holly! I especially like the one about spending time with friends with older kids. It will get a little easier as your daughter gets a bit older. She is on the precipice of becoming more independent and you will be amazed at the things she will be able to do in the coming months like dressing herself and using the toilet. I know it is hard being a single parent. Hang in there and try to cherish each moment with your daughter.

My tips for you are:
1. Try to connect with other single moms with kids the same age who are interested in share care. That is, trading times where you both watch each other's children. This saves a ton of money as well, and you could even trade overnights upon occasion if you want to have a night out.

2. Join a gym with childcare. The hour or so when you workout is "me-time" and your daughter is having fun in the onsite child care.

3. This may be hard because you live with your mother, but let the housework go if you need a little me time or time to spend with your daughter. i.e. spending time taking care of yourself and your connecting with your daughter trumps doing the dishes.

Those are my tricks - I'm curious to know what other Single Moms do.

P.S. There are communities on here that are just for Single Moms - check them out!

JuLeah - posted on 06/09/2011




You are doing it all right. It is just what it is right now. Time will help, but ya gotta hang in and hang on. You mom was a mom, she she knows.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 06/09/2011




What do you freeze? I'd love to know. Been trying to do this myself. So far, chicken soup works great. Even the noodles are ok frozen. I haven't tried anything else. Was thinking about spaghetti next.

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