Are you a single mom who has a professional career and also is constantly ON the grind and feeling like everyday you’re hustling?
Are you running from conference calls to the next presentation to meetings, to after school practice for your kids and making it just in time?
Does your calendar look like a bunch of sticky notes and reminders and or back to back meetings with no breaks in between? Is this tracking with you?
If you answered yes to any or most of the questions you are killing the single mom hustle. You have mastered it. Mastered keeping all those balls in the air and not dropping any cause that’s what we do.
As Nelson Mandela said “It always seems impossible until it is done.”
That’s you, you are on overdrive doing it all to make sure nothing falls apart.
People wonder how you do it.
It seems impossible to others on how you are holding everything down, and still manage to look put together but it’s your normal. Proudly wearing your Wonder Woman cape everywhere you go.
As a single mom, you do it all on your own most days, do not want to let anybody see you sweat, your inner voice saying “I can’t let my kids down”, “not everybody is available to help they got their own stuff they are managing”, “I’ve been doing this on my own for so long let’s not mess with the success and rhythm I have got.”
But secretly the single moms I talk to are trying to take off their capes. Quiet as it’s kept, they can use support, they can use companionship, they can use a day off, they can use some “me” time away from the hustle but many of them struggle with creating those opportunities for themselves because they grapple with 2 things in particular:
Creating healthy boundaries and Saying “No”.
Many of the single moms I speak to are nurturers and givers by nature, they give to their kids, they give to their friends and family, to work, but when they are giving to so many others they forget to fill their own cup and they leave themselves out of the equation.
They FAIL to give to themselves.
One thing I encourage the single moms I talk to is to plan for tomorrow today and what that means is looking at your schedule in a way where you are intentional about what you are planning to create the following day for yourself.
By planning tomorrow today, you get to create opportunities in your schedule to take breaks, eat lunch, create blocks of space on your calendar when you would like to detach from the work and focus on some “you” time. This allows you to create healthy boundaries.
The second thing I see often is that because “we” are natural givers there is a tendency to say yes and take on more than you actually should. Consider that by saying yes to others you are saying no to you.
What could you be doing for yourself if you had not committed to go pick up Fulana de tal’s kids and drive them home, what could you be doing for yourself if you had not decided to volunteer to bake two dozen cookies for the school fundraiser, what could you be doing for yourself if you had not decided to go to that event that so and so best friend’s cousin is hosting and you said you would go?
See the pattern, you are out here committing to events and activities that you said yes to but that don’t always serve your higher purpose and your being.
Consider giving to you before you give to others and one of the easiest ways to do that is to practice a polite no.
I recently read an article from the Harvard Business Review that talked about nine ways to practice a “no”, quick and easy and spot on and I encourage you to read it if saying no is not your strong suit, then practice, practice, practice.
Let’s face it as a single mom you won’t have a ton of time, before you have to jump in and support your kids with homework/school projects, go food shopping or hustle along to some other activity. However you do get to choose how you spend your time. If you really take on planning for tomorrow today you can create opportunities to spend your time differently. And by differently I mean thinking about “sourcing” activities that can “fill your cup” versus deplete you.
Regardless of how big or small those available chunks of time are in your schedule I encourage you to make sure that you create a “fill the cup” list and engage in those activities as a commitment to you.
Intentionally incorporate them into your day so that you feed your essence and not the single mom hustle.
Some of my intentional fill the cup activities are 10 – 30 minute power nap, dancing in my room to one of my jams, a glass of wine, cup of coffee, walking outside for fresh air, going to the gym, taking pictures, chilling with my kids, talking with any of my sisters, watching TV and surfing social media. Those are some of mine to name of few… you will need to figure out your own or borrow some of mine but don’t skip out on it.
Do it. You owe it to yourself as a single mom to fill your cup and drink it too 🙂