How to Reduce Your Scope of Work in a Single-Parent Household
Raising children in separate homes often expands the scope of work for each parent individually. As children move between homes, many of the physical responsibilities involved with raising them shifts from one parent to the other. This expands and contracts the range of responsibilities that each parent faces based on where their children are at the moment.
Play dates, extracurriculars, bedtime routines, dietary restrictions, and other variables all can impact a household routine as parenting time shifts between homes. The same can happen, only in reverse, when the kids go to their other parent's house, leaving the home a little quieter. And while parents are happy to take on these tasks and responsibilities for their kids, it can sometimes feel like a lot in a single-parent household.
If you find your routine shifting along with your parenting time, how can you reduce your scope of work as the only parent in your household?
Commit to your parenting time
Going from an empty nest to a full house creates a big switch in dynamic at home. It can feel overwhelming as you ease into a shared parenting routine. Accepting and committing to these ebbs and flows in your household dynamic is a positive course of action. Put the needs of your child and their routine above aspects of your personal routine that you can control. This might mean scheduling plans with friends over dates that your kids are with your co-parent or recording your favorite TV shows to watch on other nights in favor of more family-friendly programming to enjoy with your children.
Moreover, accept the scope of work you are tasked with during your parenting time without bitterness. Going from parenting together in one home to doing so in separate homes is not a simple transition to make, yet acknowledging this change without feeling sorry about it can help to reduce your risk of adding unnecessary stress to the situation.
Communicate about your child's needs
The scope of work in a single-parent household can feel huge, but working together as co-parents may help to reduce it. Maintain a dialog with your co-parent about your children's needs. Help keep each other prepared to handle issues or surprise factors that pertain to your child. This won't only help to reduce the scope of work in your single-parent household, but it will help to keep things running smoothly for your kids. Share important details that could help one another sustain a peaceful, healthy environment for your children no matter whose home they are staying in on any given day. Keep this information organized and accessible whenever either of you may need it.
Take care of your needs
You may wish that your children with always with you, but when they aren't, use that time to take care of yourself. Get together with friends, take trips, and do other things for you that don't need to involve your kids. Take care of tasks you need to get done like projects around your house or personal appointments. When you don't have the added pressure of work outside of parenting baring down on you, you'll be better able to keep your focus on your kids.
Parenting is a lot of work, and being the only parent in the home at a time can magnify the scope of this work. Yet when co-parents can support each other and work together to make shared parenting as smooth as possible, the magnitude of the work involved in shared parenting can feel less massive than it might otherwise.