Nowadays, professional parents are continuously facing physical and mind challenges raising their kids. By the end of the week, when the nanny is gone, we are trying to embrace our kids, and also to handle the never-ending house chores. So, the weekend is not a break, it is actually more demanding than any weekday. And what happens if your partner is not here to help, due to work or other personal commitments. Then it becomes a double whammy situation, which quickly escalates to a weekend I am not looking forward to….
Unfortunately, since I have returned to work from my maternity leave, on top of the mental stressful & odd job hours during the weekdays, I have to be a single parent for many weekends. I am taking care of a 2.5 years old who wants to do everything her own way, plus a 5 month old who can’t do much herself. To combat this challenging situation, here are 10 things I keep under my belt, to save my sanity. Some weekends I do some of them, other weekends I have to tick all the boxes…I am looking forward to hear other parents’ best practices…simply, to make the single parent weekends less tougher & more fun, hopefully…
- New toy: My recent acquisitions are hoopla hoop, balance board and spelling puzzle. Although engagement time on each toy is probably only 10-15 minutes, I have come to realize that as long as I have a master plan and I break down my daily activities into bitable sizes, time flies by. Otherwise, even a minute drags.
- New book: My recent acquisition is an app called “Epic!”. I have it on my phone and ipad, it has thousands of educational and fun books in cloud. So I never run out of books to read to my kids. The challenge is that my opinionated 2.5 years old would want to control the device.
- New show: My favorite is the educational Chinese Mandarin program that my parents mail to me every quarter from Taiwan. It is a monthly subscription, a little tiger called “Ciao Hu” teaches kids manner and speaks Mandarin, much more effective than me J I saved some special shows my kids have never seen before, novelty keeps them engaged.
- Dine out together: Don’t get worried…there is a parameter I follow though, I either go to the restaurant that everyone knows me and have proven they are willing to put up with me (after my kid breaks one glass and splashes water from sippy cup twice), OR I would go to the restaurant that I will never return again, but just tip big (I learn over time that issues could be resolved by money is NOT a big issue)
- Hire 4 hours sitter: So my girlfriend and I could take a lap dance class at Flirty Girl on Friday night, following a gourmet sushi meal… just to be completely de-stress before a long weekend alone with two monkeys. I have to stop before staring again.
- Invite single friends over for potluck & co-babysit: It is not fair to get your single friends to engage you and your kids during their golden weekend, however, when my single friends are so kind to offer help, I take it.
- Invite friends with similar age kids over to make a house party: Although my place may get compromised, it is nice for kids to learn sharing and it is fun for parents to get a bit booze. Clean up becomes more fun afterwards.
- Visit friends with similar age kids for activity based play: I don’t like to drive around the city with kids for two reasons A) I am not a good driver (not just a Hollywood stigma about Asian women driver) B) Complicated Logistics to track two kids with all the necessaries, it is like if one thing is missing, the entire experience is ruined. However, kids love to visit other friends’ house and others’ toys are always more desirable. Even better, when your kids have blowouts accidents, your friends have everything ready to support you and not to judge you. Imagine the same thing happens at a gallery like home…I have done that, and will not repeat the same mistake.
- Send older kid to half-day enrichment program: We are very happy with Language Star at Lincoln Park location. Maia loves to spend 3 hours language emerging time between Mandarin Chinese & Spanish on Saturday morning, when I could recollect myself and stroll the younger one peacefully at a local farmer’s market.
- Visit a physical demanding playground: When you are a single parent, you couldn’t afford to let your kids be free-range chicken. Figure out where the kids-friendly parks are, and which route leads to emergency restroom break, is critical. When weather is nice, there are a few beautiful walking distance parks, during bad weather; we dodge into “Pump It Up”, so everyone has a good nap afterwards.
What is on your to-do list? I am keen to grow my list for future weekends to come.