Single at Christmas
Christmas can be a tough time for single and separated parents.

No matter how you found your way to solo parenthood - sex before marriage, divorce or artificial insemination this is the time of the year when the juggle can work in or out of your favour - depending which way you are able to manage it.

Your kids may have time with your former significant other, providing you with much needed time-out. Even though you may feel like you have just cut the umbilical chord as you wave them farewell on their holiday or Christmas Day (this year) without you...... this does mean the arrival of time-out and the New Year can actually serve as a moment in time for you and for poignant Self-reflection.

If you're feeling chubby, smoke, or are highly unsatisfied with your work life or relationship status, there is a good chance you may have started to think about changing it.

Single mums (and dads) are prone to becoming dissatisfied in the same life areas as the rest of the world - health, love and relationships, career, spirituality and wealth. But, without partners around to lend a hand, one of the things most of us do really badly is make enough time in the day to polish our own dreams, define our goals or just purely relax.

A few months ago journalist Eloise King started sending her young son for his first stay at his dads each week. Suddenly, the "luxury" of spare time arrived!

"After being joined at the hip (or breast) 24/7 for almost 15 months, relinquishing control of his world for one night and two whole days each week rattled me in a big way. I mean, what on earth was my baby going to do without me?" said Eloise

"On my first night without parental responsibility I hosted a ‘Return to Freedom' party. I rallied friends around to help stay focused on the positives and keep the separation anxiety and mother-guilt at bay. The next day, while nursing a devil-delivered hangover I could've done anything my heart desired - beach, shopping, alfresco dining, massage, hair. But having been consumed by Max's needs alone for so long, I felt like a rudderless boat lost in high seas".

For the most part of the next six weeks (of one night sleepovers), while her son was out of her care, Eloise swung between being socially drunk or hungover in an attempt to ignore the strong-mix of emotions. Until one day, she actually realized she was enjoying the time off.

All single mums and dads transit through the guilt phase of what on earth to do with FREE time when the kids are - suddenly gone - but in the safe care of an ex or ex's relatives.

This is the time to reclaim some of your dreams and aspirations.

Spending time with your children is absolutely the most valuable thing you can provide them with. But taking regular time out to refuel your own soul and ambitions allows you to reconnect with your passion and zest for life which can only be good for everyone around you too. Why not make the coming year your year to reclaim a piece of yourself?

HOW TO MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF

  • Get your ex to share the load, only if it is practical and safe.
  • Get a trusted relative/friend to baby sit.
  • Join a gym nearby with a crèche eg Fitness First.
  • Spend your child's day nap time on you, not your housework. Read a book, listen to music, complete a yoga dvd.
  • Organise regular child-minding swaps with another mum, half/whole day.
  • See a movie that you and your child/ren will enjoy and sink into the escapism.
  • Join a playgroup - kiddies play, adults talk.
  • Use local childcare facilities.
  • At the very least, push the pram and get outdoors for a walk.
 
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