Advice for a newly separated mum

Whether you are recently divorced or newly separated, it is completely understandable for you to be feeling lost and alone. The shift into ‘single-hood’ certainly isn’t easy and times are bound to be tough and daunting. The adjustments can be even more challenging if you have little ones to care for as well. In order to support yourself as a single parent and find your feet, you may have to make some changes. A reader recently asked me for advice, and as I haven’t been through this myself, I asked the community for their advice for a newly separated mum, which I share below.  I hope these ideas make the transition a little smoother.

A big thank you to our community on facebook for helping and sharing their ideas.

  • Create a weekly meal plan – ask the kids what they feel like too, this will save so much time in the evenings
  • Cook in bulk and freeze – Kat has a great freezer meal ideas in this meals 50+ for new mums post.
  • Shop online and save time – You can create a list of regular items you use every week to save time
  • Ensure the kids are responsible for bringing back their things from one house to another
  • Use an app called Time Tree. It is linked to each others phone so you can put everything the kids have going on so both parents know.
  • Have a month by month chart on the wall to help with organisation.
  • Have a school roster. Label everything. Create checklists.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Make all the lunches for the week on a Sunday afternoon and freeze them.
  • Weekly plan for chores and cleaning.
  • Establish and maintain a routine. Kids actually thrive on routine.
  • Try and establish a new structure but be easy on all of you. What was working before may not be the best routine for now, adapt it to your new lifestyle.
  • Try to take some of your alone time to do something nice for yourself – a bath with wine and a podcast helps me to unwind and only takes 30 minutes.
  • On your child free time, do something for you. A hobby, sport whatever, but time just for you. It helps you to recharge before the hectic times when you’re doing everything on your own.
  • Nothing gets carted between houses.
  • Suggest both wash uniforms and that it’s not left to one parent.
  • Both parents have pjs, swimmers, shoes, clothes, toys, games etc at their house, less for the kids to carry back and forth.
  • Have a rule that no toys go from one house to another.
  • Getting the kids to be responsible for packing their school bags, making sure they have their iPod, etc also helps.
  • Make individual checklists and laminating for each child.
  • Use shopping lists and smart easy goals.
  • Get the school to provide 2 home letters when they come so each parent can take one.
  • Hold weekly family meetings to check in where everyone is at.
  • Eat healthy and drink lots of water. Sleep.
  • A family planner on the wall. Each day of the week with items listed for what they need for school and activities. Make children responsible to ensure they have their gear.
  • Most of all love and cherish your children and let them witness a strong and loving mum.

TOOLS THAT MAY HELP YOU

WEEKLY PLANNER – The weekly pad features a line for you to pencil in your daily meal ideas. By giving yourself a visualisation of your dinners for the week, it encourages you to plan your shopping list, and you won’t be left struggling to think of a meal to eat after a busy day. I also like that the meal plan section is directly under the days events. I did this to make it easier to plan a dinner that isn’t so time consuming on an afternoon that you will be out of the house. ie. if after school sports don’t finish till 6pm, then you can see you will want a quick and easy dinner. Available here. 

The Organised Housewife Weekly Planner Pad is the ideal tool for your home to help you stay organised throughout the week. The A4 (297mm x 210mm) undated weekly planner pad has 60 tear-off pages which will last you for a whole year. The planner gives you the ability to look at your week as a whole and allows you enough space to add appointments, deadlines, things to do and plan your dinner ideas. It also has a section that you can personalise yourself. It's up to you!

FREEZER INVENTORY – Keep track of what items you have in your freezer use this freezer inventory list. Available here.

CLEANING CHECKLIST – A cleaning checklist which includes daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual tasks.  This checklist will help you remember cleaning tasks and create a routine to suit the time you have available. Available Here.

What would your best advice be to a newly separated parent?

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3 comments

Lisa Stevenson March 21, 2017 - 11:51 AM

Hi Kat,

That’s great advice and I agree with most of it. The only thing I would change is that the kids should be allowed to take their favourite teddy or stuffed animal with them between houses. If they have a special bond with a particular toy that they like to sleep with, it can be quite traumatic if they are not allowed to take it with them to the other house. This is happening to a friend’s 4 year old girl at the moment, the Dad and new step-mum won’t allow the little girl to bring her favourite cuddly toy to their house and the effect is really devastating. My six year old also has a teddy that he has slept with every night since he was a toddler. He would be inconsolable if I or his father said that he couldn’t take it with him when he swapped houses. I think we need to remember that the kids didn’t ask for the split and are innocent parties in it all, and it is a massive upheaval for them as well. We as their parents need to make it as non-threatening as we can. While I agree that they shouldn’t be carting all of their toys, clothes and shoes backwards and forwards, they should be allowed to take their special cuddly with them to ease the stress a bit. In fact, I think it should be encouraged, so that they feel more comfortable in a new bed.

Other than that, great advice for people going through one of life’s most difficult transitions.

Thanks very much,
Lisa

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Rosie T March 21, 2017 - 5:19 PM

Hey Kat this are some great tips for mums like me whose husbands run their own businesses and are out of the home a lot! It’s overwhelming as I’m the one doing the school and kindy run, making lunches, swimming lessons, parties, play dates etc. it’s exhausting at times. Thank you for your timely posts xxx

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Polla March 25, 2017 - 8:50 PM

I was tipped suddenly into “single-dom” when I was widowed at 30, when my 1st bub was 4 months old. I would strongly agree with the suggestion regarding routine – routine is a saviour when chaos threatens physically and emotionally. Organisation strategies sure help too so you can avoid thinking (and over thinking) and switch to auto-pilot. When things get tough, just take it step by step. Just wanted to add the importance of asking for help. There can be a lot of pressure Mums put on ourselves to look totally in charge and in control – in front of friends, family, the school Mums, the ex and the kids. The best thing kids can have is a healthy Mum. If things are get overwhelming, practice good self care and get help if you need to – especially if it is in regards to your mental or physical health. Fight the feeling of being embarrassed or shy. Find your tribe… be they from internet forums, community groups, many different health practitioners, family, friends, neighbours, follow blogs, join a club.

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