Single Mom Overwhelmed: Throw Me a Rope

Holly V

By Holly Vanderhaar

Back from a brief hiatus! It’s been a remarkably busy few months around our house. I was working two jobs for the first part of the summer, and then we had a three-week trip back East. The girls started 4th grade after Labor Day, and the following weekend we flew to Arizona to surprise my mom for her 85th birthday. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get caught up…and in another month or so I will be filling in for a friend/former co-worker who will be taking her parental leave.

This is the part where I admit that single parenting is hard, at least right now. I love my life and wouldn’t change a bit of it—though it would be nice to have a little extra money and a lot of extra hours in a day—but to be honest, I feel like I’m losing my grip on all the things I need to be taking care of, and I feel like I could use some back-up.

Fourth grade has brought with it more—and harder—homework. I’m gradually trying to train the kids to be more responsible and accountable, and I’ve asked the teachers for feedback (like I do every year), so I can gauge how much I need to get involved and how much I need to let them “sink or swim.” And, as usual, I haven’t gotten much feedback so far. They are starting to get grades on individual assignments, rather than whole units, with a rubric and an explanation for each mark-down. I know it’s not trendy to be in favor of grades, but I’m rejoicing, because I think now they’ll finally stop doing just enough to get by. The additional work has been harder for me to keep up with too; they’re in 5th grade math, and we’re skating perilously close to the limits of my knowledge now. Geometry I can still help with, but algebra? :::shudder:::

I’ve been lucky for the last year and a half in that my work schedule has been flexible enough to allow me to work from home and/or work after they’re in bed, so I haven’t had to put them in after-school care. It helped to be able to pick them up at 3:00, have a snack, and get the homework and violin practice done before dinner. They got a little down time before bed, I didn’t feel so rushed with dinner, and we were all better organized. But this year because of scheduling demands, I’ve put them back in after-school care. They like it, and their teacher is fantastic, but getting home at 5:30 rather than 3:00 means we’re scrambling, especially since they still go to bed at 8:00.

But everything else is falling by the wayside. I can’t get on top of the housework. I manage to get the laundry done once a week and that’s about it. I’m buried in stacks of clothes because it’s that time of year to switch out the closets, and I can’t get motivated to finish the job. So I have a pile of winter clothes that need to be hung up, and a pile of summer clothes that need to go in storage bags, and a pile of stuff the girls have outgrown that needs to go to Goodwill. And all I want to do is lie on the couch, drink tea, and watch Doctor Who.

What are your strategies for those times when you just feel overwhelmed by it all?

The post Single Mom Overwhelmed: Throw Me a Rope appeared first on The Next Family.

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