As a single mother of 4, it can be hard to find balance. They're all young and require a lot of care and attention. They make a lot of messes. Oftentimes, people wonder how I stay sane. Sometimes, I don't. There are a few things sacred to me, to help me run my family and keep the balance. My life is quite structured, and I like to keep it that way. This means that:
-Bedtimes are sacred. I don't have a partner around to help me, so at the end of the day I desperately need some me-time. That means that I don't care that it's the weekend, or the kids have a week or 2 off. Bedtime rolls around, they go to bed with few exceptions. Not only do I think that structural bedtimes are healthy for kids, they are healthy for the entire family.
There will be times that I will allow the children to read for an extra 30 minutes, but they
do so in their bed.
-Routines are sacred. Everything happens at around the same time every day, and in the same order. If I don't stick to that, I forget things, and chaos ensues. There are also fewer questions from the children. They know exactly at which hour lunchtime rolls around, and when it's time to have a snack, or dinner.
As for myself, I also do my housekeeping according to a schedule. I always start with the same room every day, and work my way around the house to clean up.
-My PC is mine. The kids cannot touch it. They have their own PC, which has everything they need. I will not risk them messing up my means of entertainment. I don't watch TV at all (with the exception of 3 series), and in order to wind down at the end of the day, I need to have a working PC and a crumb-free keyboard.
-I'm not too difficult. You want to watch TV? Go ahead. Want to play on your PC? Fine. Want to make a drawing? Here are the pencils. Fortunately, they also have plenty of toys that they enjoy playing with.
I've been single for a little over a year now and it has taken me 10 months to find the balance between keeping the house clean, the kids happy, and my own need to relax and do "grown-up" stuff. So far, it works pretty well! Of course chaos will ensue from time to time. Kids get sick, or decide to empty a large bag of lego's on the floor.
What can I say? Shit happens. Fortunately I have a handle on things and it's not too catastrophic when it hits the fan.