Single Mothers: Parenting One Day at a Time in Autumn

Single Mothers: Parenting One Day at a Time in Autumn

Have you ever noticed how autumn brings so many changes in your children’s lives–and yours? So much to attend to all at once. New grade in school, maybe a new school, maybe a nest fly-out, maybe school for the first time, soccer, football, tennis, ballet, modern dance, the class play, a visit to college, and all these multiplied by the number of children you have. It’s drive here, pick up there–make dinner, make lunches, do homework…and most, if not all of it, falls on you!And of course, there is still your job to go to or to do.

So, how do you manage that sense of overload when you are wishing you could just be sitting out under the blazing color of a gorgeous maple? Well, take heart. There is hope.

When I was in the full throes of single mothering, I utilized an idea that is a standard slogan of all 12-step programs: One-Day-at-A-Time.

While saying OneDayataTime can sound too glib and lose a bit of meaning when you are totally exhausted after only One Day, there is a mind set that you can achieve that can help you. You can learn to BE in the day you are in, while allowing the next day to wait in the wings for your attention.

I am not suggesting that you throw away your appointment book, your phone, your blackberry or the calendar on the fridge. No, just the opposite. I am suggesting that you plan your days in your new age or old school devices, and keep your mental energy in the day you are in.

It is normal to look ahead, and adjust coping strategies for what is to come next, however, staying focused in the day you are in and allowing the next day to come as the earth turns and not before, can help you conserve precious energy, shlepp the kids around with a bit more patience, and begin to reduce your anxiety.

Now here’s a “trick.”

If you find it difficult to do one day at a time, just do one hour!

Keep your mental attention only in the moment you are in. Be present to it. Be aware of what you are thinking and feeling and doing. BE with the children, BE on your job with mind-aware attention. The experts today call it mindfulness. I think mindfulness requires a certain certain Mind Lessness. Lessness of mind attention on the next day or even the next hour. You won’t forget what is coming, and if you do, you have the old android or iPhone to whistle or hoot at you. Or if you are a low-tech like me, you can open your appointment book and look!

But you can learn to forget the next moment for a moment, and when the moment comes, you will have more momentum to live it.


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