One of the hardest adjustments single parents have to make is finding time for anything other than caring for their children. As a daycare provider, I'm still finding it difficult to carve minutes out of my day to cater to my "me" time.
Coordinating "quiet time" with five to six children under the age of five is sometimes impossible. But also possible. As in now (ahh, quiet time). What I have learned to do is abide by the "Law of the Youngest." Older children are more adaptable and less likely to balk if they are made to wait an extra half hour for lunch. Babies will not tolerate having to wait for anything.
So, baby wins. Do not confuse "baby wins" with "baby runs house." NOT the same. I guide baby gently into the rhythms of the house. For instance, quiet time follows lunch time. But if baby needs a morning nap the minute he arrives, lunch is served earlier than usual.
Same thing follows if baby's morning nap occurs just before lunch. Lunch will be served at the regular time. But we adjust afternoon quiet time for later in the afternoon when baby becomes tired again. Why? BECAUSE I NEED SOME PEACE AND QUIET!
Did I exclaim that loudly enough?
And yet, because of my job, I know that sometimes, I will have to forfeit quiet time, my ONLY time to write. It's all about adaptation and knowing that "this too shall pass," something everyone learns eventually. When you realize that nothing lasts forever, including your children's youth, you become more appreciative of the time you have with them.
As a daycare provider who is also a writer trying to eventually make a living with my writing, carving minutes here and there means leaving tiny notebooks EVERYWHERE – in the bathrooms, in the kitchen, by my bed, near my computer, in my car, everywhere a thought, a well-turned phrase, or an idea might occur.
Finding time to be alone is sometimes impossible, especially when you have young children who follow you into the bathroom and hang onto your leg as you drag them around the house. Maybe what you need to do is exchange baby sitting with another single parent who would love, as much as you would, some alone time.
One day, they will run into the house, drop their book bags, head outside to play with their friends, and attempt to come home only to eat and sleep. Then YOU will be finding time to BE with them.