I recently came across a post by a single parent who was about to have a sudden chunk of free time one afternoon while another person took her son off of her hands for a few hours. She was asking what sorts of things she should do with her free time, and I made a list based off of my own experiences. So, if you are a single parent who is responsible for earning the money, paying the bills, and raising the kids/securing the daycare, and you find yourself with a sudden bit of truly free time that doesn’t need to be budgeted for or have an itinerary, here are my top ten suggestions, in order of preference:
1. Nap (if that’s something you can do).
2. Catch up on cleaning but while listening to your very favorite music (at full volume).
3. Perform a small intention-setting and release ceremony on the top of a lesser-travelled road. I use crystals and incense and it can really, really help me when I need to reconnect spiritually, or align other parts of my life that aren’t quite working right. I’ll post another blog about my own experiences with creating one of these ceremonies, but you can find them under a search for “full moon ceremony,” and the secret is that it doesn’t have to be a full moon to do some great energy shifting.
4. Drive somewhere forest-y 45-60 minutes away and put your feet on the earth. Wiggle your toes into the dirt and then scream at the top of your lungs until you run out of air. Breathe in until you can’t get another drop of air into your lungs, pause, and then scream a second time until you run out of air. Repeat until the endorphins hit.
5. Go through your closet and put everything that you don’t LOVE in to a garbage bag, drive over to your favorite thrift store (at some stores, when you donate you get a coupon!). Next, go inside (with or without a coupon) and buy yourself and your kid/s a bunch of “new” stuff in your current sizes and tastes.
6. Depending on your alignment on the sexual/asexual spectrum, sometimes taking the time for a nice, uninterrupted time of self-love and body exploration can be awesome when you can take your time and know you won’t be interrupted by a tiny human. Lock the front door and put on some music (at full volume).
7. Download tinder and spend the two hours it takes before you regret that decision switching between visiting the app and doomscrolling on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Reddit.
8. Sign up to drive for Doordash or Amazon Flex or something and then make a bit of extra $$ while listening to your favorite music (at full volume).
9. Sit down in front of the TV with some yarn and a crochet hook/knitting needles and just mindlessly create.
10. Give yourself an uninterrupted twenty minutes to feel all the weight of the heavy nature of single motherhood and sob loudly and without worrying about distressing your kiddo/s. For bonus points, do this while showering and kill two birds with one stone. Once finished, treat yourself to a pint of ice cream.
I was a single mom and sole provider of two for a little over three years, and had no local family to rely on, but a few loving friends who were able to give me breaks here and there sometimes. These are a few of the things I did some of those spare hours. I know so much what this is like.
Parenthood is already thankless, but so much harder when you don’t have any other person to share it with, and you’re the one providing for every financial, emotional, spiritual, AND physical need. In case nobody has told you today: I love you, I’m proud of you, and you are doing a fantastic job against impossible circumstances. 💜
Here are three photos from a two-day period during my single parenthood. My two tiny humans filled their bodies up with scribbles, and the next day I wore a hat to work because I hadn’t managed to get a shower in (for several days in a row). We do what we can.