Are you a single, working mom struggling to keep things together? Here are some practical daily life tips for single moms to create a single mom routine that works.
As a single mom of 2 little girls, I know that life can be hard. Single moms often have to play the role of both mom and dad, keep the home clean, make sure the kids eat, pay the bills, and try to squeeze in time for themselves…
Having a simple, effective routine goes a long way into helping me feel prepared and organized (and schedule in time for self care!).
Most guides for single moms will tell you to do things like:
- get up 1 hour early and have that time to yourself before your kids get up
- meal plan meticulously
- fit in ALL the things
Before you set up a single mom routine, you should ask yourself these 2 important questions:
- What are the most important things that need to get done daily?
- What can you let go of? (Seriously!)
Do not list an overwhelming number of things in #1.
Instead, pick 5-7 and stick with those. You can have 3-5 for the morning and 3-5 for the evening if that seems better. The important point is do not have a huge number of tasks on the list. Stick with essentials!
The key to having a solid routine and daily plan is to set clear priorities and determine what you can let go of.
Once you have these things set, you can set up a schedule that works for you and your kids!
A single mom routine can help you:
- Spend quality time with your kids
- Manage your daily household chores
- Carve out time for yourself
- Not run yourself ragged!
Yes, it is possible to organize a routine that will help you and your family. Preparation will help you stick to your daily routine (be sure to have your kids help!).
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Setting Up a Single Mom Routine
First, some basic tips that will help before you get started. Even though these items don’t specifically help you set up a routine, if you have them under control it will help tremendously:
- Get on top of your finances
- Have a general plan for your days, weeks, and months
- Set up a support network
Related: Single Mom Financial Tips
Other things to consider:
- How many kids you have and how old they are
- Your work life (do you work at home or at the office?)
- School situation for your kids
- Co-parenting schedule
Then, stick to the necessities.
Your kids need to:
- get dressed
- be ready for the day
Forget gourmet breakfasts and don’t worry about fancy stuff. I’m sure you have seen that meme, “I kept small humans alive today,” well, if that’s what you did, you succeeded!
Single Mom Morning Routine
Here are some ideas for building a helpful single mom morning routine. Pick 3-5ish things that you need to cover:
- wake up a bit earlier than your kids (15 minutes, more if you can!)
- get ready before your kids get up
- check your to-do list
- know what you’ll do for breakfast
Get your kids used to a morning routine.
Some ideas for your kids:
- get dressed
- eat breakfast
- make bed
- brush teeth/wash face
Some things that I do that help me and my girls:
- pack lunches and bags the night before (I actually put backpacks in the trunk of car the night before!)
- set out breakfast – just the basics, and I let my kids do as much as possible. For example, I let my 6 year old make breakfast most mornings. Sometimes we have instant oatmeal. We have an electric kettle like this one, and she knows how to boil water to make oatmeal for herself and her little sister. Or, I’ll cut up an apple and they’ll eat apple slices and peanut butter – my 6 year old will set the table, scoop the peanut butter, etc. We keep it really simple and easy on purpose.
- have my work bag packed and ready by the door
- set out clothes the night before
Single Mom Evening Routine
Set up a kids evening routine. Pick 3-5ish things that you want your kids to do each evening.
- clean floors (i.e. put all toys and clothes away)
- take a bath
- pack backpack for tomorrow
- put on pajamas and brush teeth
Set up a family evening routine.
- clear table and stack dishwasher together
- sweep floors
- hang up clothes
- get clothes ready for the morning
- pack backpacks and lunches
- tidy up (everyone in the house should help and have a specific job to do)
Set up a routine for yourself.
- write a to-do list for the next day (I use this weekly calendar for the fridge, and it’s fabulous! I actually write events for the whole week out on Sunday evening.)
- meal plan – I do NOT plan every single meal. In fact, since becoming a single mom, I found that I can plan 2-3 dinners per week and eat quick, easy meals for other times of the day (like instant oatmeal, sandwiches, veggies and hummus, or fruits, nuts, & cheese sticks on a plate)
- take some time for yourself (read, crochet, watch tv, exercise)
The key here is to encourage kids to do as much as they can on their own. If your kids are little, this can be hard, but even little kids can help. Every ounce of effort you put into teaching them to do something will pay large dividends down the road and will also help you to raise independent kids and teach them responsibility!
Single Mom Routine for Cleaning
Aim to follow a very simple cleaning schedule.
Here are some tips:
- sweep daily
- laundry daily (what?! yes, I do laundry almost daily. We throw dirty clothes right inside the washing machine and wash when it’s full. I HATE doing several mountains of laundry all at once and would rather do a really quick load once a day or every other day. And my girls help fold and put things away!)
- dust once a week
- yardwork biweekly
- trash once a week
Pick what works for your family and what is easiest.
I hate general dusting so I don’t do it very often, ha! But, I definitely want clean floors and counters.
Remember, even little kids can do chores!
Even though you might feel super busy, it is important to make time for yourself daily. Even just 5-10 minutes a day can help you recharge.
If you don’t take care of yourself, you will run ragged trying to fill everyone else’s cup, and kid’s cups never seem to be filled!
Related: 12 Tips to Beat Single Mom Burnout
You can try to:
- get up a bit earlier than your kids
- exercise a few times a week
- take a warm bath
- read a book
- do a puzzle
Finally, being a single mom is hard, but you can help yourself by focusing on creating a single mom routine that works for you and your family! Pick a few must-do’s and stick to them. Have your kids help out every day. Make time for yourself and do something you enjoy. These are the keys to creating a single mom routine that works! What other things would you suggest?