Recently a reader commented:
I'm a single mother too...but I just don't know how I would find time for a man. My daughter takes up all of my time outside of work and I would feel like I was neglecting her if I started leaving her with sitters so I could go out on dates...I could only really feel comfortable with one date a week...but I would feel that one date a week would be neglecting the man's needs as well. I just feel like there's not enough of me to go around. How do you find the time to do it and do you have any advice?
It's true - solo parenting is an all-consuming task and there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all I wish I could do. There are few margins in life and fitting one more something in takes effort. However, because I actively co-parent with my former spouse, I usually have at least one free night each week. As we wrestled with the pareting time and plan at the time of our separation, one of my dearest friends jokingly encouraged that this night without children could become my date night. I just stared at her in horror, because the LAST thing I wanted at that point was to date. Seriously?
So my nights off became nights for myself. Early on, this night became the evening I went to my therapist. I spent much of my time catching up with housework, never-ending laundry an extra project like painting a room. I made the effort to get out with my girlfriends every so often and spent some time alone shopping/wishingful thinking. Many times, I just zoned in front of the tv and enjoyed downtime. I did a lot of processing, healing, dreaming and becoming more myself. Learning who I am and to be comfortable in my own skin is going to be a life-long journey, I think. Eventually, I admitted, that even though I don't need a man, I really do want that kind of relationship in my life. Deep down, there is still a bit of hopeless romantic in me. Soon after and quite unexpectedly - I had my first ever blind date.
We're still seeing each other, and it hasn't been easy to make it happen because of busy schedules. He has children, too, and we both had rich, full lives before meeting. Yet being with him is a priority. So, I've had to adjust to fit more chores into daily life and leave that weeknight free. I still make time to be with my friends through small group at church and monthly girls' nights out. So when do I see my man?
- Very occassionally, we meet for a lunch date - what a great escape during the work week!
- He joins me at home after the children are in bed - scandalous!
- I meet him after church for lunch and we spend the afternoon together with his children - mine are with their Daddy most Sunday afternoons.
- I hired a babysitter - frivolous, yes?
- We bring the whole crew together (hello, five children between us) - it's only happened a couple of times with varying degrees of enjoyment.
The bottom line is that you make time for what is important and Mr. K. has become very important to me. Shhhhh - no one has noticed that my bathrooms and floors aren't cleaned quite as often. Have you ever made room for something or someone else in your schedule? When you prioritize, what
is the first to go?
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