We recently published the story A day in the life of a single mom in which we followed two moms as they took us through their day-to-day, providing some insightful advice for other single parents too.
Being a parent, generally, is challenging and completely exhausting. Being a single parent and a working one at the same time – well, that's something else entirely. One mom wrote in sharing how her day goes with her full-time job, her two boys and their rescue puppy.
Read the full story here: A day in the life of a single mom
I am a 47-year-old divorced mom of two boys aged 15 and 11, and a rescue puppy (6 months). The boys see their father every second weekend. My “normal” day is below. My parents are my biggest help, and do all the running around after school and are also doggy daycare. They also help support us financially as my salary does not cover all the costs involved.
It’s not easy being a single mom and I didn’t plan it that way. The hard parts for me are time management – two different schools with overlapping schedules and two drop-offs is hectic.
I also battle with being the “bad guy” sometimes. Two boys, a teenager and a pre-teen, with very different personalities and needs takes it out of me some days. I hate conflict, so dealing with fights is difficult for me.
And of course trying to balance the budget on one salary is no walk in the park either. But I love the time we spend together, the chats, the laughs, the memories. I love being there and watching them grow. I love being their mom.
Also read: Morning chaos and a single mom
A day in the life…
4:45am – The alarm goes off. For the fourth time. Love that snooze function! Haul my butt out of bed, taking care not to disturb the dog or the 11 year old, sprawled out, fast asleep, taking up most of the bed.
5:15am – Showered and dressed (provided there is water). Sort a load of washing (same comment re water). The never ending story of my life. Get the dog outside for a pee, get the washing started. Get lunch started. Pack lunches x 3. Run some water for washing dishes. Boil the kettle.
6:00am – Wake up the boys. Take breakfast orders.
6:10am – Wake up the boys. Let them eat breakfast in bed as it’s easier than trying to tear them away from the TV just now.
6:15am – Wake up the boys - Repeat this every 5 minutes until 6:30am, then lose it momentarily.
6:17am – Take the washing out and hang around the house like we live in a laundry.
6:30am – On the verge of a nervous breakdown, sweep through the bedrooms like a hurricane organising uniforms for the day, otherwise we will never leave the house.
6:40am – Check that school bags have lunch boxes and water packed. Briefly check all books are in the primary school bag. Make sure homework diary is signed. Check sports bag has soccer kit (primary school) and rugby kit (high school).
6:42am – Pack rugby boots in sports bag.
6:43am – Pick up a dog poo. Wash the floor.
6:45am – Finish putting my face on.
6:47am – Unknot shoelaces.
6:48am – Chase the dog to retrieve the school shoe.
6:50am – Remind kids about the importance of brushing teeth.
6:53am – Load the car (this is like a game of tetris for me)
6:55am – Grab the dog bowl. Get the harness and leash on the dog.
6:57am – Spot the 11 year old trying to get his hair flat
6:58am – Chase everyone out the house. Lock up. And go.
6:59am – Unlock everything to get the dog bowl / phone / project / diary / whatever.
7:00am – Finally get going.
7:05am – Primary school drop off. Try to figure out why everyone must check their Facebook / Instagram account while dropping off their child. 10 parking spots and none available. Drive around the block. Kiss youngest goodbye for the day.
7:15am – High school drop off. Deal with every idiot in the traffic. Eldest son offloaded. Deal with road rage guy wanting to punch my face.
7:20am – Drop dog at my parents.
Start the 30km commute to work.
8am (depending on loadshedding / traffic crises) arrive at work. Relax.
Between 2pm and 5pm my mom is the shuttle service for extra murals / appointments / picking up a loaf of bread etc.
4:30pm – Leave work.
5:00pm – Arrive at parents to collect dog and youngest.
5:20pm – Collect eldest from rugby practise.
5:30pm – Get home. Get homework diary to sign – no homework written down. Start the 20 question game. Listen to all the excitement of the day at (primary) school. Who did what to who and who said what to the other. No homework. Start supper.
5:35pm – Referee a boxing match/argument between the boys.
6:00pm – Sort another load of laundry. Chase the dog to retrieve a slipper.
6:30pm – Sit at the table to eat supper.
6:40pm – Do the dishes. Hang more laundry. Referee another argument about who gets to shower first.
7:00pm – Youngest remembers he has to build some elaborate piece of architecture from recycled materials for a project. Due tomorrow.
8:00pm – Eldest remembers he needs 20 photos of something obscure for an Afrikaans speech. Also has a technical drawing to complete and write up a set of books to trial balance for accounting.
8:30pm – Youngest to bed (he is allowed to read for 30 minutes)
9:00pm – Print 20 photos. Help with speech. Google translate for Afrikaans.
11:00pm – Finally finished homework. Time for bed. Try to squeeze in next to dog and 11 year old with barely any duvet for myself. Hit the pillow and sleep. Wake up at 4:30am in the same position and cold.
Are you a single parent? Share your story with us and we may publish it.