Single Parenting in a 2 Parent Household
My client was on overload. She stated that her husband’s work encompassed his being. She explained that she was quite different from her husband. Her role, her essence, was that of a manager. She managed the kids, put in a full day at work, and helped at her children’s’ school. She saw herself as a life manager. Her job was to plan, coordinate, and delegate.
Lately my client’s life had felt out of balance. Her husband had been depressed and he was saving all of his energy for his work. She was on overload and it depleted her of her spirit. She was functioning on “automatic”. As a result, she was emotionally drained, sleep-deprived, and less able to experience the joy in her life. Her resentment was affecting her children because she knew that she was less tolerant, less able to enjoy them and not nearly as focused on their activities.
She was trying to be “Supermom” because of perfectionistic tendencies and life circumstances. Normally, I would have encouraged my client to create more lifelines and find more ways to replenish herself. However, she said she was so exhausted that she needed to simply meet her basic needs—like sleeping.
Since her role was to manage the family, she had gone into overdrive. When you go into overdrive for an extended period of time, the “automatic pilot” kicks in and it’s tougher to enjoy life. Research has shown that the quickest way to finding the state of happiness is to be able to deal with life in the present. If you want to be a happy parent than you need to stay focused on what is happening right in front of you.
Unfortunately, my client was feeding into her own problem, since she was supporting her own role of “single parent in a two-parent household”. She must do something to get out of overdrive and share the piloting again. However, there was no guarantee that this woman could have gotten her husband to participate more. Regardless of outcome, she did need to assert herself and ask for his help. She is a very strong woman, but her schedule was so engrained that she needed some strategies to break the cycle, not to mention that SHE needed the extra support.
If this profile fits you, it’s time for you to approach your life differently. Here are five things you can do to invest your energy differently:
• Slow down! No matter how hectic your day, make an effort to slow it down.
• Do less! Look at your day differently. Multitask less. Women are notorious for multitasking. This actually can take a toll on your energy. Do things differently—at home and at work. Put the kids to bed earlier. Make fewer trips to the store. Prepare meals straight out of the refrigerator. Who cares if you’re out of milk? Right now, you’re trying to fortify yourself. Take on less at work.
• Get more sleep. If you are sleep deprived, you can not proceed with the normal activities and enjoy them as you should. Call a friend to take the kids so that you can take a two-hour nap. Tell your spouse that you are going to get to bed fifteen minutes earlier.
• Replenish! Tell a few good friends that you are exhausted so that they can hold you accountable. Use some self care strategies to recharge you.
• Ask for help from anyone who can give it.
• Lastly, find ways to put yourself first.