Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Socializing As A Single Mom

A topic has come up lately amongst some of my on-line and real life single friends. How do you find time for yourself as a single mom? I wish I had the answer. As you can see by the above pictures, most of my socializing involves my son. I have heard several suggestions and some of them I like more than other. One of the problems is the cost of hiring a babysitter. Another problem is deciding that it is ok to allow myself to sacrifice more time away from my son.

Ok. So I admit that I feel guilty leaving Jacob even for just a few minutes when I am not working. Money is very tight right now and I am working overtime on some of my days off. I make sure that I leave one full day that is just for Jacob. It is a day that I am willing to share with friends and family but Jacob must be included. This day is non-negotiable. I hate not seeing him for more than a few hours on the other days and feel like we both need this time together. I am blessed to have friends who understand this and help to come up with activities we can all do together.

One way around the money issue is to go out on a Monday-Friday evening that I am off. Those are the days that I have already paid for childcare so it won't cost anything to take him there. The only problem with going out these nights is that I cannot work overtime on those days since I still need to leave at least one day for Jacob. It is an option that I will have to explore now that our daycare situation has changed.

So the answer is not simple. I get 1 1/2 hours alone on Friday morning while Jacob goes to preschool. This time is my time to go somewhere and just relax. It doesn't really matter what I do as long as it is quiet and alone. Sorry, but it really is my only time alone during the week.

I have hired a house cleaner to help out with chores. I really don't know how long I will be able to afford that though. I need to really think about if it is worth it. It is one more bill that I don't have the money for and am not sure I need. I plan to cancel my home phone and go with just my cell phone soon. That should free up some money but not all of it. It does save one morning a week and makes me feel better about my home and mothering skills.

I love my son and one of the sacrifices I knew I would make is my alone time. In reality, it is a small sacrifice to make. He brings so much joy and fun to my life that I rarely miss time with friends. It has been about 3 months since I went out without him and I am beginning to think it is time again. Hanging out with Jacob is a blast but sometimes I get tired of asking "What's uh oh" or "Honey, please don't throw toys/food at our friends." A meal where I don't have to check the temperature of the bowl and food or cut anyone's food except my own is a fond memory and not something I experience often.

If anyone has any great ideas for spending time with adults and filling my adult needs as well as Jacob's needs, I would love to hear them. In the meantime, I will continue to look for opportunities to see my adult friends. Even things like attending playgroups once a month help. The children are occupied and I get to see other people who struggle with many of the same issues.

Even with my lack of alone time/adult time, I would not change a thing. I am still hoping to have another child soon and just wish I could afford one now. More children will mean even less adult time but the rewards far outweigh the negatives.


Angela :-) said...

Perhaps invite friends over after Jacob goes to bed. Play some games, etc.

Angela :-)

Starletblue said...

I know some people that do a neighborhood co-op. One mom will watch 2 or 3 kids one night, and then those parents owe her a night. She actually gets more time than she usually needs going this route!