Kimberly is today’s balancing life feature. She is a single mother of two boys AND a blogger. (You can visit her over at Rubber Chicken Madness.)
Name (feel free to remain anonymous or make up a name), and city you live in?
Kimberly – Kansas City
How many children do you have?
divorced for 7 years
full time + blog
What is your work schedule?
M-F 8-4 (full time job) + hours and hours on the weekend for the blog.
Do you kids attend school/daycare?
My oldest is a freshman in high school, my younger son is in 6th grade
Do you have help? Family? Friends?
I have help from my dad, my former in-laws, my best friend, karate instructors, other karate moms, other friends from work. As a single mother who does so much, I have to use my whole village to raise these boys.
What is a regular day for you – from rise and shine to goodnight moon?
The alarm blares at 6:00 a.m. I stumble out of bed and unload the dishwasher (I won’t mention ALL the chores I do, we know what those are, but I must mention the dishwasher because it is the most crucial chore of the day. I get my highschooler up and on his way by 6:30, then get myself ready for work. My younger son gets himself out of bed and gets ready for school. If I have time, I’ll pay a couple bills or check my blog comments. I work as a school librarian (1070 students, 80 teachers, and two schools) all day. When the work day ends, we hit the ground running for after school events (taekwondo, guitar lessons, art club), homework completion and I try hit the gym 3 days a week. Dinner on taekwondo nights has to be simple. It’s either frozen something or other, takeout, or leftovers. The other nights, to save money, I cook dinner. I can’t remember the last time the boys and I went to a sit down restaurant. I usually also pick up the house after dinner, take care of any household business, and collapse in front of the TV.
If single parent – do your kids spend time with their other parent?
My children see their dad about three times a year for a few hours each visit.
If yes, above what do you do when your kids are with their other parent?
While the kids are gone, I try to really enjoy the quiet house. I don’t have the TV on. I won’t run the washer or dryer. I just enjoy the solitude because I know it’s only for about three hours!
Do your kids take part in extra-curricular activities ie sports, hobbies, lessons of any kind?
My boys are both active in taekwondo. They are second degree black belts. We’ve been involved in taekwondo solidly for five and a half years. My older son also takes guitar lessons. My younger son is a student council representative, a school ambassador, and is a member of art club.
How many days per week are you overwhelmed?
Um…it wouldn’t be a lie to say seven.
How do you deal with the everyday non-stop pressures of being a single parent?
I insist on letting some things go. I don’t volunteer at school anymore. I don’t have a perfectly clean house. I make sure my kids are loved and fed and sheltered. After that, anything else that gets done is a bonus.
What is “me time” for you?
I run at the gym. I love to get the occasional pedi. I have happy hour time with my girlfriends from work. Even just reading a book for 15 minutes after the boys are in bed is soothing.
Do you ever get time alone?
Rarely. My alone time is in my car from the house to work. I usually keep the radio off. I just need quiet during that time.
How often do you spend quality time with the kids? And what does that consist of?
As the boys have gotten older, our quality time has shifted. We often leave the radio off on the way to and from taekwondo (25 minutes each way) and we talk during that time. It’s not “fancy” but we’re touching base and finding out what happened during the day. I also try to spend a bit of time with each boy separately from his brother from time to time. This week, for example, Eric has a doctor’s appt on Wednesday morning, so we are going to get breakfast (just the two of us). Jason and I spent time together yesterday just sitting on the porch swing talking about books we love. I grab those moments when I can find them.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I had to let go of a lot of perfectionistic ideas in the past several years. There is no such thing as “the perfect parent” whether you’re single or otherwise. Believing that there is is a perfect set up for failure of epic proportions. My boys know without a shadow of a doubt that they are loved. I consciously try to really LISTEN to them when they talk to me. I glean tons of information from them in conversations that are casual.
I also think I’d like to add that for any woman who is raising boys with an absent father, find all the positive male role models you can. I’ve found mine in my dad, my ex’s dad, friends’ husbands, karate instructors. You WILL need those men to help you with male perspective and to show your male child how to be a confident, positive, self-determined man. The same is probably true for girls, but I can only speak from my experience as a woman trying to raise young men.