Self Care Sundays

We all know that self care is absolutely critical when you’re a sole parent. After all, there’s no one else to take care of you. And if you run yourself into the ground then you can get sick or depressed, and of course this impacts negatively on your child and anyone else in your life. It’s not good for anybody.

I’ve always tried to make sure that at least some of each Sunday is given over to self care. It doesn’t always work! But when it does work, it can both make up for a hard week and prepare me for the week ahead. I think it’s been an instinctive part of my life for years, even in my carefree younger days. I just didn’t realise that it is a “thing”, until I found link on Pinterest to this great post:

57 Ideas for your Self Care Sunday Routine” by Rhiannon Day

Rhiannon’s post lists so many things that I already do on my Sundays! Even if I just fit one or two of these things in, like:

  • sleeping late
  • breakfasting in bed
  • walking the dog
  • yoga
  • meditation
  • gardening
  • diffusing essential oils

… it makes a difference to my life. On those rare days when I fit lots of these things in, it makes a HUGE difference to my life! Rhiannon also lists things I haven’t done, particularly one that my son would LOVE for me to do with him, “build the epic blanket fort of your dreams”. This will have to happen sometime soon!

In future posts I’ll be talking more about how I practice self care on a tight financial budget, and with little time to spare. But I’m not one for re-inventing the wheel, so for now I’m just going to refer you to Rhiannon’s post. It lists a lot of things which are actually easily achievable for single parents like me.

Do you practice self care Sundays – and if so, what are your favourite ways to spend them?

How I Taught my Son to let me Sleep Late on Weekends

I’ve always been a night person, not a morning person. It’s easier for me to stay up all night and watch the sun rising, than it is for me to go to bed early and leap out of bed in the morning. When my son was smaller I’d spend all day with him and then start working when he went to sleep at night, even if “working” was just doing household chores. As a single parent, it’s hard to get everything done in daytime hours when you’ve got a small child following you around demanding your constant attention.

When my son was little, say 3 years old, he started waking really early. Okay, I know “really early” means different things to different people. To me, it is like… 5:30am. I was not happy to have to crawl out of bed to supervise my son from this hour. Often it meant I’d only had 4 to 5 hours sleep. Not enough!! So I bought him a sleep training clock.

The one we settled on is a friendly looking elephant called “Mumbo” which makes calming ambient jungle sounds at the set wake-up time, instead of a loud beeping alarm sound. When you set it at night, it closes it’s eyes. When it’s time to wake up, it opens it’s eyes and makes it’s jungle noises. I simply set it for 7:00am and told him he had to stay in bed until Mumbo’s eyes are open. It took him a while to get used to it, of course.

To start with, he’d just get up whenever he felt like it. I had my own alarm set for 7:00am too. So if he was up and about too early, I’d just send him back to his bedroom. I told him that I didn’t mind if he played quietly in there, but that he had to stay in bed until Mumbo woke up. When he did stay in his room till 7:00am, I’d shower him with praise. It took months to work consistently, but work it did! For the past 5 years he’s slept until a respectable hour and not bothered me on the rare occasions he does wake up early. Mumbo saved my sanity!

In the last year or so, as he’s become more sensible and responsible, I’ve taken it a step further. When it was school holidays or the weekend and I knew I wanted to sleep late, I’d tell him I was tired and ask him to please let me sleep later, so that I wouldn’t be grumpy. I hate being grumpy with my child, but no doubt you know it’s hard not to be when running on little sleep. And when he did let me sleep late, I’d reward him with praise and treats like pancakes for breakfast or organising a friend to visit. Success!

I think it was the bribery that worked the best. Now I could sleep late most weekends if I want to. Of course, because weekends can still be busy we’re often up early anyway, getting ready to go somewhere or do something. But on those rare occasions when we have nothing planned, I love staying snuggled in bed and catching up on some of that sleep I missed during the week.

When I occasionally tell friends and family that I slept in until 10:00am, they are always astonished. Apparently this is not something that most parents of 8 year olds, single or otherwise, get to do very often. It wasn’t all smooth sailing. Plenty of times he let me sleep in, while making a massive mess of the kitchen or lounge room. But, in the end, it’s been worth it.

Do you ever get to sleep in? Please share any advice you have on how you get your child to cooperate.

Photo by Nikldn on Unsplash at https://unsplash.com/photos/qp7WA8AV2x0