Being a single mom is hard. Just ask the over 15 million women in the U.S. raising kids on their own. But, being a working single mother is even harder. If that’s your current situation, you already know the juggling act that comes from trying to balance spending time with your little ones and giving enough attention to your career.
It’s not uncommon for single mothers to struggle with “mom guilt” when they work full time. You might feel like you’re not home enough, or that you’re not bonding with your baby the way you should.
You don’t have to feel that way or struggle with worrying about your bond. It’s important to stay involved in your career so you can provide for your child. But, there’s no reason you can’t find time each day to bond with them, either.
With a few simple tips and tricks, you can turn just about any moment you’re home into an opportunity to bond with your baby. Not sure how to get started? Let’s cover a few ideas that can help you make the most of your time with your little one.
Create a Relaxing Nighttime Routine
Even when you work full-time, you’ll probably always be there when it’s time for your baby to go to sleep. You can turn bedtime into a special experience for both of you by establishing a nighttime routine.
Start by creating a cozy, calming space for your baby. Having a few essential items will make that easier, including
- A crib and cozy bedding
- A changing table
- A rocking chair
- Stuffed animals
- A baby mobile
Not only will a relaxing environment help your little one fall asleep, but it can help you unwind after a long day of work so you can let go of your stress and focus solely on the time spent with your baby.
Your nighttime routine could also include things like a bath, a few minutes of play, reading a book, or rocking together until your child falls asleep. Those are all fantastic ways to boost your bond while winding down. When you’re the last person your child sees before bed, they can sleep with a sense of comfort and security.
Make the Most of Every Morning
You can also establish morning routines with your little one that will allow you to bond before you head off to work. Things like getting them dressed for the day, feeding them breakfast, and watching a show or playing together before you have to head off can all make a big impact on your baby. They’ll develop a more secure attachment, and even if you’re gone all day they will understand that part of their routine and how important it is.
Establishing a morning routine isn’t just a positive thing for your child. It can force you to slow down in the morning and enjoy the most important meal of the day – no, that’s not just a saying. Taking the time to sit down and have breakfast will give you more energy to get through the day, and can even improve your mental health.
If you’re busy in the mornings, take time to prepare something to eat the night before. Overnight oats are a great option, but there’s nothing wrong with a quick bowl of cereal or some fruit and toast. Do what works for you, just make sure to be present in that time spent with your baby. It’s something you can both look forward to.
Scheduling Time for Yourself and Your Baby
It might seem strange to have to schedule time for your baby. But, if you’re swamped with work and in other areas of life, it could be necessary. Writing things down or committing to a calendar will prioritize what you want to accomplish – including bonding with your baby.
Your free time should be split between caring for your baby and caring for yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and if you don’t take the time to practice self-care, you aren’t going to be able to give your child your best. So, don’t feel guilty about prioritizing your mental health. Regular self-care can include
- Reading a good book
- Spending time with a friend
Caring for yourself will boost your mood and your energy, so you’ll be more focused and present when you spend time with your baby.
The time you schedule with your baby should be free of any other distractions. Turn off your phone and go for a walk around the neighborhood with your little one in a stroller. Read a book together in the afternoon. Go to a local park and find a spot to play underneath a shady tree. The options are endless, and you can cater what you do to your baby’s interests.
As a working mother, it’s important not to be too hard on yourself. You’re doing everything you can to care for your child, and striking a balance between work and bonding with them can take some effort. The tips listed here can make it easier, so you can incorporate more bonding time into your everyday routine and let go of the “mom guilt” that might be plaguing you.