This is a post about me rediscovering how to make my home life easier day to day. Nothing earth shattering, but things that have been on my mind lately as I’ve adjusted to my new circumstances.
Why I hear you ask? (ok, I know I can’t but humour me)
Well since my last post back in February there have been a few changes in my life. New car, new house, new job and biggest and best of all, newly single!
With the exception that I wish I’d followed my heart and bought a mini cooper instead of the more practical Holden Captiva (big family beast of a car for those not in Oz) I can honestly say I’m really happy with all these changes!
Not that it hasn’t had its moments of heartbreak, especially with my two mini men, but honestly I’m loving my life and finally feeling settled enough to start writing again.
Mission Possible – Being A Single Mum
So yes I am now officially a single mum! The family home as was, is gone, and funnily enough was always going to be as the landlord is getting married and moving in. Fate?
I know the phrase single mum usually generates an image of a haggard, worn down, scraped back pony tail wearing teenager with three kids in tow, at least in Eastenders anyway. I think they’ve stopped including a fag dangling from their mouths now. But I’m genuinely enjoying the experience, it’s so much more straightforward doing it on my own.
In real terms, I was always the main breadwinner, so things are a little tighter but I’m not in a bad position. Luckily I don’t actually need any support from the ex. The kids are with me, but still see their dad regularly which is great. It also gives me a couple of nights a week free which I never had during my marriage. Luxury indeed!
I have to do most of the pick-ups and drop offs at nursery, and come in make tea, do the washing, baths, cleaning etc etc but again I can cope with that, and it’s not that different.
It can be a little lonely but only if you let it be. But I work full time with a great crew, I’m actually pretty happy with time to myself and my but actually I’ve discovered just how good my friends are! Thanks guys, love you all!
And unexpected bonus has been a new awareness of the men around me, the discovery of flirting (I went into my last relationship age 19, mumble mumble teen years ago! and flirting was not allowed), and general enjoyment of some of the sites around me ;-).
The biggest constraint really has been the not being able to nip anywhere. It takes a full family expedition to get fresh milk when we run out. ANSWER – plan better and don’t run out of milk, even if that means keeping some UHT in (bleurgh!).
So when I started writing this post, what was on my mind was the most useful piece of advice I read when I was pregnant 6 years ago with my first baby.
It was simple but for me infinitely useful piece of advice……..
DON’T GO ANYWHERE EMPTY HANDED
Obvious isn’t it. If you’re going to the kitchen to grab some biscuits, take those empty cups with you and put them by the sink.
If you’re walking upstairs to fetch a nappy, take the washing you just folded with you and put it in the airing cupboard.
As you come back downstairs with the nappy, bring the dirty clothes you saw and put them in the wash basket as you go past.
Going outside to fetch the post? Take the rubbish out to the bin on your way.
So simple. So easy. Save you so much time through the day, and yet I’d forgotten it through time. Instead I’d get to the end of the day, or worse still the weekend, with a list of jobs so long and not even started that my motivation to do any of them was at an all-time low. So much to do I just couldn’t decide where to start.
It’s a mindset to get into, but once you get into the habit it really doesn’t take much effort. And by doing things as I go, even though in most cases it only gets the job started, everything is so much less daunting.
I mentioned list of jobs, and actually that’s something else I’ve started to do. Keeping lists for things I need from the shops, because I can’t just nip back to get what I forgot. Making a list at the start of the weekend for what I was to achieve over the weekend. I find if I do it while the kids are eating their porridge on Saturday morning, I can use writing the list as an excuse to be sitting down with a cup of tea (coffee/ whisky/ whatever it takes J) for ten minutes.
I admit I rarely complete everything on the list, but just writing one usually jogs my memory, in an “oh shh ugar, the kids have a birthday party and I haven’t bought a present yet” kind of way. And by writing it down I find it really easy then to figure out what’s really important to get done, and whether there is any kind of timeline to follow.
So this is definitely not a post to say being a single mum is a piece of confectionary of any kind, just a few thoughts on how to make the work side of being a mum, single or not, a little easier.
Final tip – do it all to music (dance when no one is looking)
Really final tip – sometimes its ok to not get things done and not stress about it J