A Day In The Life Of A Single Mom Building A Business
It’s 8:00 a.m.
I wake up, though I’m not really sure what time it is or even, honestly, what day of the week is.
I pick up my iPhone (that I forgot to charge the night before) to check the time and date. What do I have on my calendar today? Do I have an appointment, deadline or commitment? I scramble through a pile of books (that I’m behind on reading), notebooks and journals to find my dayplanner that is basically my life in a book.
A few years ago, my mornings as a working mom were very, very different…
In 2017, my then-husband walked out the front door and never returned. We were married for 20 years and had two sons, who were 9 and 17 at the time.
My kids and I were devastated. Our world was rocked and turned upside down.
It took me many months to accept the fact that was I was a single mom. I felt lost and completely out of my element. I now had the sole responsibility to financially support my family, which included the mortgage on our family home, utility bills, groceries for my new family of three, and… I worked for myself as a blogger. I didn’t have a boss to cut me a check for sitting at a desk while being mentally checked out. Instead, it was up to me to keep an income coming in while I was going through the brutal steps of the grieving process.
Looking back at it now, I have no idea how I managed to mentally, emotionally and physically get through that season of my life while raising two children, which included sending my oldest off to college in a different state (that’s a WHOLE other grieving process as well) but somehow, I did. I paid the bills. I grieved with my sons. It may have taken us two years to develop our new normal, but we slowly built one. And we did it together.
In early 2020, I was at my healthiest post-divorce and my business started to thrive again. I was occasionally traveling for work trips, which has always been a huge asset for my business. Word-of-mouth has always been the glue that’s kept my professional relationships developing. It’s what I’m good at. It’s also what inspires me to continue to create work that helps moms and families.
2020 was going to be MY YEAR. I even made a vision board of my future dreams and goals. Yes, life looked very different now, but I was back in my element and creating some of my best blog posts and social media content that I’d ever created before.
Then a global pandemic hit in March.
Schools closed and moved to virtual learning at home. Life seemed to have stopped. My work seemed to have stopped, too.
My first priorities were keeping my family safe, gathering information about what COVID was, researching the best ways to protect myself and my loved ones, and prepping my home with household goods to last for an unknown length of time. My oldest son also took a hiatus from college out-of-state to move back home to hunker down with my younger son and me, as well as help me juggle the even bigger load I was about to carry.
Then I had to think about my self-made career that provided for my family. How was the pandemic was going to affect it? There was really no way to predict what would happen with my client’s budgets, how brands were going to spend their marketing dollars, or what my readers were going to consume online.
And to add to that work uncertainty, my usual working hours were thwarted by my youngest son being home full-time, learning virtually, and I was now his teacher!
I would be lying if I didn’t say that my head was spinning for a few weeks. I’m sure many single working mom’s minds were, too.
But then I remembered… I have been in the trenches before. And it didn’t stop me from thriving. Thanks to my therapist and many, many friends and family who held me up during my hardest season, I have learned that life is always unpredictable. Life is full of immense joy and deep sadness. You can always count on both showing up as we walk through each day, week and year. So, how am I going to respond to the tough parts?
And that is exactly what I did.
Fast-forward to today, in 2021, and I have grown and flourished to a new, yet as usual, imperfect normal.
How do I manage this “new normal” while still staying motivated and remembering to take care of myself?
Here are a few of my tips to share that may help you, too:
I delegate as many tasks as possible
I order our groceries online to be delivered to my front door or pick them up curbside, which saves me a huge amount of time. I also get my kids involved by helping with household chores and cooking meals (many times they handle dinner all on their own and I’ll take care of the dishes). We’ve established a team-like style for managing home responsibilities and it’s actually brought us closer together by doing so!
I organize our week like a boss
If you were to walk into my home, you would see calendars, sticky note reminders, and planners just about everywhere. This organization and planning take effort, but it significantly helps my family day-to-day. I use a dry erase board calendar in the family “command center” (a place where we dump car keys, stack up mail and hang coats) so my kids and I can easily see what we have going on during the week. For myself, I use a personal planner (paper-and-pen style) for work and appointments. I carry it everywhere and would be lost without it. The same could be done using an online calendar or planner app, but I’m old-school and love the satisfaction of physically marking off a task on my list.
I carve out time for myself
When my youngest son is visiting his dad, I use this time to slow down, read nap, and basically do whatever I feel like doing. This is my “me time.” If my budget allows, I may even book a hotel room downtown and explore the city, try new foods, meet up with good friends, or simply stay in the hotel room and order room service. (I typically do the latter.)
I anticipate that some days will not go to plan
Some days are just plain overwhelming and don’t go as expected, so I have learned to be gentle with myself when this happens. Problem-solving has become my new superpower when days like this pop-up and if my ideas don’t work, I’m okay with it. If there is one thing we can count on in life, it’s that every day can throw a curveball at us that we didn’t have written in our calendars. I have become resilient out of necessity and have learned that that is the key to keeping my sanity.
I never in a million years thought that I would be a single working mom living through a pandemic in 2021, but here I am. Here many of us are.
I will keep being resilient, no matter what life throws at me, and my children and I will thrive because of that resilience. I hope you will, too.