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Any Other Exhausted and Discouraged Single Parents Out There?

dejavu2 posted 3/14/2019 20:34 PM

I'm feeling a mixture of exhaustion and that my life is whizzing by so quickly that I can't catch my breath. I have a demanding job that keeps me super busy and my mind engaged 40-45 hours a week. Then I come home to a routine of walk the dog, feed pets, cook dinner, eat, clean dishes, homework with daughter, story, get daughter ready for bed, laundry, hour of tv, bed, repeat. Weekend is lots of housework, errands, and then Any free time spent with boyfriend and young daughter. The days and weeks and months fly by and before I know it the year is over and I'm yet another year older. I don't feel like I'm able to enjoy my life or catch my breath. I always feel like I'm running from one task to the other and only able to give everything half-assed effort. It's discouraging and.....exhausting.

Any tips on how to stay on top of it all or at least not feel guilty about NOT being on top of it all? I want to enjoy life more, but how can I do that and still maintain demanding job, demanding kid, demanding pets, demanding boyfriend, and 4-bedroom house, yard, etc? What tricks do you have to stay afloat in the world of single, working parenthood?

homewrecked2011 posted 3/14/2019 21:18 PM

My friend told me she has someone clean her house 1x a week. The reason? She said if she does all this on her own, and works, sheís going to need therapy, and therapy costs more than the housekeeper!

Just a thought for you, if you can afford it, have someone mow your yard 1 day a week, (mine charges 40.00), and someone clean your house 1 day a week (havenít tried this yet).

SallyShrink81 posted 3/14/2019 21:42 PM

I've just tried to minimize my life as much as possible. I still live in the marital home which is a 4 bedroom colonial with a fairly large backyard that I maintain by myself with 2 young kiddos. Sometimes I bite off too much to handle, like right now I'm working 45-50 hours and volunteered to be my daughter's GirlScout troops cookie mom. BIG MISTAKE! However it's totally worth it and I'm NEVER doing that shit again!!

I have a SO and things are complicated with our schedules right now because we're not meeting each other's kiddos until the summer but we figure it out. Trying to make it as simple as possible. I wish I could be more helpful than that! Good luck!! Being a single parent is the hardest shit in the world but our kiddos make it totally worth it!

lizgwvet posted 3/14/2019 22:48 PM

Simple answer, get someone to clean your house and cut your grass.
Skimp on other things.

nightowl1975 posted 3/15/2019 01:05 AM

Iím entering year nine of single parenting. When I divorced, my kids were 8, 8, 7, and 4, and I hadnít worked in a decade. Fast forward almost 9 years. My kids are now 17, 17, 16, and 12. I work in the medical field running a rehab/therapy department. My job is 24/7, and of course single motherhood is 24/7. My ex moved to another state to be with his mistress about six years ago (I think, honestly I lost track of when that happened but it was years ago).

The last nine years have FLOWN by. I feel like I mostly try to keep our heads above water and soak up as much life as we possibly can. My 12 year old was diagnosed with a brain tumor 16 months ago. My ex isnít involved at all in anything medical (he did come for 72 hours when she had her initial brain surgery, but heís never met her oncologist or gone to any of her pre-op or follow up appointments). Two of my teens have had catastrophic orthopedic injuries with sports that Iíve also handled completely without his help.

Then of course thereís life. Bills and errands and meals and dishes and teens and pre-teens and school stuff and sports and theater and cheer and drama and assorted pets and household maintenance on what was supposed to be our marital home that now feels more like a noose most of the time. It really does feel endless most days.

But one thing I learned with my daughterís diagnosis... soak up every minute of life that you possibly can. We live four months at a time because thatís how often she has brain MRIís. We get a clear scan, and I feel like we can plan life out for the next four months. I am fortunate in that while my career is very demanding, itís also very well-paid, so I can afford help with yard upkeep and a cleaning service. We eat out fairly often and take nice vacations. I do spend more money on travel since my daughterís diagnosis. Thereís something about not knowing if your child will grow up that impacts you in ways you never imagined.

I donít seriously date, and nobody meets my kids. That keeps life a bit simpler. I imagine I will eventually date seriously and maybe even cohabitate/remarry one day when my kids are grown, but I donít make the time for it now.

Iím also very particular about anything ďextraĒ I agree to. Between work and my kids, thereís just not a lot of extra time. My ex does see the kids for roughly 24 hours twice a month, so I try to do one thing just for me on those days. A massage, manicure/pedicure, a new hardback book that I read for hours, etc. Itís my time and I guard it.

ZenMumWalking posted 3/15/2019 05:53 AM

Not sure how old your DD is, but can she help with some of the tasks/errands - for example, putting laundry in the machine while you make dinner and then hanging it up to dry (or putting in dryer) while you do dishes? I taught my boys how to work the washing machine when they were around 8 or maybe 9, although I would sort the clothes.

Or she could help with the cooking/dish cleaning?

For other things, see what you can delegate. Instead of housework, can you hire someone else to do it?

You might also want to think about whether it is feasible to cut down on the number of hours that you spend working.

In any case, you want to get this as figured out as possible before you burn out.

((((dejavu2))))

EvenKeel posted 3/15/2019 07:43 AM

If you can outsource anything - do it.

When I was at that stage, unfortunately I had to let go of my helpers due to money...but if you can swing someone to clean even every other week - it is tremendous!

Are you using all 4 bedrooms? If not, close them off for now.

I would have a heart to heart with "a demanding boyfriend". When I was dating at that stage, they knew they were way down on my list so if they needed more from me at that point of my life, they needed to move along.

My BF now is very helpful. He typically cuts the grass, he brings me a meal each Wednesday night to take one night of chores off my to-do list. I am not recommending outsourcing to your BF but he should be your reprieve, not 'one more thing' that overwhelms you right now.

IDK the age of your DD - but I can tell you that I do remember have a similar post when I was a year out from my D. Both of my kids played sports so many nights I didn't even get home until after dark! It was right from work to games to a drive-thru dinner to bed!

You can't do it all 100% so you need to figure out what is top priorities and give yourself slack on the rest!

I know it doesn't feel like it, but you will blink and this stage will be gone. The older your DD gets, the better it gets due to helping, extra driver, etc.

In the interim, cut corners where you can and MAKE SURE you carve out YOU time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It will save you mentally!

Biggest help was shortcut meals. Think slowcooker. Think one thing that makes many meals. Like if you roast a chicken on Sunday - uses all the left overs for things like quick chicken fajitas, tacos, chicken salad, etc.

Other thing I did was a load of clothes daily - this was manageable without getting overwhelming.

Hang in there - it will get better!

LilBlackCat posted 3/15/2019 12:25 PM

Sounds like you are living a full life.. which is/can be exhausting.

Count your blessings.. Not everyone is lucky enough to have everything you mentioned.. as draining as it may be.

Dishes for me... LMAO!! (I'm tempted to hire someone to help with them) been sick and with trips lately out with the kids.. I need a major reset.

Cleaning the house.. that is not so bad.. just slacked off some with everyone having the flu recently.

Our cat is easy to care for.. very low maintenance.. I could not handle having a dog or fish right now.. btdt.. way too much work.

Hawke posted 3/15/2019 12:59 PM

Yes, it is exhausting. Job, kids, boyfriend, house, yard, etc. I have a nanny who does some cooking when both kids are in school (3 mornings per week), and she cleans every other week (separate from her tasks as a nanny). Everything is still a rush and half-assed. I missed a parent-teacher interview a couple of weeks ago because I put it in my personal calendar instead of my work calendar and didn't see the pop-up until too late.

Now that the kids are 7 and 4 instead of 4 and 1, it is a bit easier, as they are a more self-reliant and can entertain each other sometimes. I know I need to get more sleep, eat better and exercise more, but those things all take time, which I feel like I never have enough of.

It can be a slog just making sure everyone (including myself) is dressed, fed and clean, but rather than be discouraged, I try to be grateful for the moments of rare beauty that occur. Doing the bedtime routine is one of my favourite parts of the day, when the kids are snuggly, we read books together and my son often shares his innermost feelings. My daughter is saying her first words, including "mom" (she has autism, so her speech has been quite delayed). Sorry if that's too Pollyanna - I try to look on the bright side if I can.

wildbananas posted 3/15/2019 13:43 PM

I've been single 12 years and a 100% single parent for 10 of them, not even CS. I can't give you any better advice than this:

You can't do it all 100% so you need to figure out what is top priorities and give yourself slack on the rest!

I'm down to 1 banana at home and believe me, I'm not as on top of cooking and cleaning as I used to be. And I don't care in the least. I do what's important to me and my youngest, and let the rest slide. It's not like it's going anywhere, right? It'll be waiting for me when I'm ready to pick it up again.

I have to echo the sentiment about the "demanding boyfriend," too. I had one of those and really, it took time and attention from the other stuff I needed to do. Looking back, he should have been the last on my list... or not there at all. (He was a jerk though; not a nice guy. If he'd been nice, it might have been a different story.)

This single parent thing is HARD. Go easy on yourself.

annanew posted 3/15/2019 13:55 PM

I'm a single mom with a super demanding job and a 5 year old. I'm also struggling with multiple health issues which are causing a pretty serious depressive reaction. I'm really not one to give advice but here goes.

demanding job, demanding kid, demanding pets, demanding boyfriend, and 4-bedroom house, yard

Some of these are changeable and some aren't.

Kids are demanding. So nothing to be done there.

I assume that by "demanding boyfriend" you are not saying that your boyfriend is particularly demanding, but just that relationships are demanding if you want to maintain them. How serious is this relationship? If on the casual side, it's perfectly ok to end it so that you have more time for other things.

Pet? I know people love their pets... but... what if you found an equally loving home for your doggie and other pets? Would your daughter be traumatized or just sad? Or, can walking the dog be something you do WITH your daughter so at least you get some quality time in with her at the same time? Do you have spare $$ for a dog walker?

Is the hour of TV necessary? For me, TV is not really a mental break. It's relaxing, sure, but it doesn't renew me in any way. An hour is a lot of time. Try cutting out TV and doing something that makes you feel more like you are having "me" time.

Job is a tough one. My job is insane. I do like the work, but I'm considering other options. You might want to as well, unless you absolutely love what you do. Somehow I have this feeling that on my death bed I will be saying "I wish I had taken a job as a barista at Starbucks and lived cheaply and just enjoyed my daughter while she was young". Even thought I KNOW that... it's hard to act on it.

House.... consider downsizing? Unless you just love your house.

Meals... can you do pre-prepared some nights? Or even just pizza?

Let me know if you figure it all out!


EvenKeel posted 3/15/2019 14:14 PM

I am back with more thoughts.

I don't feel like I'm able to enjoy my life or catch my breath.
Think about your life 15 years out What will you wished you would have done?
A. let the housework slide and had more fun evenings with DD?
B. had a spotless house?

My mom was a single mom (who was on the road 2 weeks a month!). I think back to my childhood and what do I remember? The times she got me out of school early just to play hookie because it was a nice day or just random stuff we did.

Our house was not spotless - but that is not what memories are made of (unless Hoarders shows up to tape an episode).


dejavu2 posted 3/15/2019 19:40 PM

Thanks for all the advice. I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining- I went through 5 years of infertility and 2 miscarriages to have my daughter. I love her more than words and am so grateful to have her in my life. She is 8 years old and definitely easier now than when I first became a single Full-time Mom when she was 5 years old. Also, my boyfriend is super patient and helpful. He helps me with chores on the weekend- bringing in wood for the fire, mowing during the summer, cooking an occasional meal, fixing things when they break. He even helped me paint the hallway last month. I suppose I spend so much time cleaning the house because I know he's a bit OCD and I don't want him to think I'm a grub. Also, I feel like I need to devote a certain amount of time and energy to the relationship- which can really be a drain when I'm so exhausted that the last thing I want to do is have sex or talk on the phone. But if I don't do it, I'm afraid he will think less of me or I feel so guilty that I can't relax.

I guess I feel so incredibly overwhelmed because my assistant quit a few weeks ago and im struggling to do both our jobs. I'm so busy at work that I can't see straight. Important tasks are falling through the cracks, I work late, work through lunch and occasionally bring work home to do after daughter goes to bed. I can't sleep because I'm so worried about all I have to do, and then I come home to my mountain of chores and daughter's needs.

Good news is that we are very close to hiring someone new so there is light at the end of the tunnel. Also, my boss put me in for a large raise so I may be able to afford a cleaning person every other week if it gets approved- I definitely appreciate those suggestions. That would free me up on Saturday mornings for some me time when daughter is with her Dad, or quality time with my daughter if she's with me.

Again I don't mean to sound so negative- I know I'm lucky in many ways and have much to be grateful for. I suppose I just expected that my life would be different and I'd have a partner to share life's trials and tribulations with. Instead the weight of these responsibilities is on my shoulders alone.

isitme24 posted 3/15/2019 21:31 PM

dejavu

I'm going to give you some advice from a male perspective. That won't be well received as it won't be viewed as empathetic and considerate of your feelings.

If you feel like you have too many demands....then, well you probably have too many demands. You can either prioritize them or you can continue to be overwhelmed and build resentments.

1. Demanding job- Jobs are just that. Find some balance between what you need to do and what you think you need to do.

2. Demanding kid- She's 8. Find some balance between what you need to do and what you think you need to do.

3. Demanding pets- C'mon!

4. Demanding boyfriend- That's concerning. If that's the way you feel about him then you need to reassess whether you should be in the relationship. If sex and talking are a chore then there is a fundamental problem either with him or with you.

5. 4-bedroom house and yard- That one is easy. Sell and move into a townhouse. Why in God's name do you and your 8 year old daughter need a 4 bedroom house with all the accompanying maintenance?

So here's the sensitive and empathetic portion of my response. I completely understand how you feel exhausted and overwhelmed. You've been thrust into a situation you didn't plan for by someone else's shitty behavior and decisions. You didn't deserve it.

Now, I don't know you, but I'm pretty sure you aren't Wonder Woman. Guess what...nobody other than you believes that either. Give yourself a break. Life takes left turns on us sometimes. Loosen your grip on the wheel and lean into it. Take a deep breath and start looking for balance in your new reality.

isitme24

CaliforniaNative posted 3/16/2019 09:50 AM

Dejavi2-

I bet I have you beat. I only have one child who plays two sports, BUT one dog, one cat, full time demanding job, live in 4 bedroom home with pool, I am building a new home where previous home was destroyed by fire and t am very hands on meeting with contractor often, trying to date......

I am tired too. No words other then look forward to a vacation when the house is done. My coworkers look at me in awe.

Zamboni posted 3/16/2019 10:33 AM

Totally agree with the other posters ó get someone to clean your home. Itís a game-changer.

I also have used a laundry service. You put your dirty clothes in bags, they pick it up, and deliver it the next day. Itís great for sheets and bedding which is always a huge pain to wash.

Simplify your life. I went on a huge purge and threw out so much stuff. Itís a lot easier to maintain things without a lot of clutter around (Thank you Marie Kondo!).

I havenít done this yet, but I know a lot of working moms that cook a lot of meals ahead on Sunday and then have them for the week.

LilBlackCat posted 3/18/2019 16:19 PM

I suppose I just expected that my life would be different and I'd have a partner to share life's trials and tribulations with. Instead the weight of these responsibilities is on my shoulders alone.
I can see how this can make things feel negative.. but also, depending on the status of your relationship, maybe he doesn't know he is able to step up more??

Honestly, I'd be ok with a lazy gf.. better than no gf at all.. which has been my status, since like forever now. lol!

CatsEye posted 3/21/2019 14:59 PM

I would like to add my voice to the people who suggest outsourcing whatever you can and offer a suggestion: do you have any family or friends who don't work who might be willing to chip in and help with cleaning, yard work, pet maintenance, child sitting, etc.?

I would also like to add my voice to those who say that if your relationship with your "demanding" boyfriend feels like a burden, then you should get out of the relationship. If he is there to be impressed by how perfectly you keep the house clean under these circumstances, you don't need him. If his OCD and the condition of your house bothers him, he can bloody well clean it up himself. Are you sure you aren't projecting your own insecurities on him? Have you talked to him about any of this?

I would also like to point out that no one is perfect. No one can do everything you are trying to do and do it all perfectly all the time. And that's fine. One day your child will grow up and have a home of her own. Do you want her to have learned that if she doesn't have everything in her life and household absolutely perfect every second of every day that she has somehow failed? Or do you want her to learn that sometimes the best you can do has to be good enough?

Best of luck.

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