Listed in the order I learned them:
- Make valuable use of your time: With a baby that sleeps for a couple of hours at a time, you have to learn how to manage those waking & sleeping hours. Anytime she closes her eyes, you need to close yours as well – the laundry, cleaning, dishes etc. can wait. And you can do them together. You don’t pass up an opportunity to nap with a newborn baby.
- Manage your money: You don’t have enough money, and won’t for a very long time. You pay the bills that HAVE to be paid first, you buy things you HAVE to have for your baby, pay the bills that can be late without causing serious issues, buy things you need for yourself. In that order.
- Have high expectations: Of everyone, at all times.. including yourself. Ditch the loser boyfriend & phase out the no good friends. Set impossible goals for yourself to ensure you are doing your absolute best. Do not let anyone be intimately involved with you (romantic or otherwise) that is not contributing to your life in a positive way.
- Always be prepared: Never leave the house with your kid unless you are toting 1 extra set of clothes, an emergency snack & drink, tissues or wet wipes. Until she’s 5, then make sure you carry $$ in the event that you need something you didn’t bring.
- Take every opportunity: Being a single mom can be boring, depressing, overwhelming, monotonous and occasionally soul-crushing. If someone offers you a chance to do something different from the daily grind (at work, school or in your personal life), for God’s sake – DO IT. Don’t be such a homebody, you’re not wearing a house arrest anklet.
- Don’t give up: Regardless of how bad you just messed up, how wrong somebody did you, or how suckish life can be at times… you don’t have the option of throwing in the towel. Work smarter, do better, push harder. Set an example for your daughter that she will not soon forget. Strong women don’t stay down, they get up and keep it moving.
- Play: You are not too cool to pick up a Barbie and go on an imaginary trip to the beach. Nor do you have the right to deny your kid outside time because “you don’t feel like it.” Stop being lazy and thinking about yourself – it’s not about you anymore!
- Be tough, not harsh: Just because you can yell louder, use profanities and issue punishments willy-nilly does NOT mean you should do so. Being rational, understanding and fair will get your point across much more effectively.
- Cook real food: Chicken Helper, Hamburger Helper, Grilled Cheese, Hot Dogs, Macaroni & Cheese Frozen Pizzas, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Cereal and Kid Cuisine do not constitute healthy well-balanced meals. Especially if served every night. Learn how to buy groceries and cook your daughter a real dinner for once. And for always. Save the crap food for emergency back-up only.
- Be nice: The entire world is not out to get you, despite what you think. Some people genuinely want to be your friend, help you out or just spend time around you. Not every guy is going to go psycho on you like your babby daddy did. Stop being so mad at the world and make yourself approachable from time to time.
- Laugh every day: If you haven’t laughed today, you’re doing it wrong. No matter how dreary the last 12 hours or so have been, you are still alive. Be thankful and enjoy yourself! Make each day fun, and don’t forget to laugh. It burns calories too I heard.
- Be involved: Even though being the Girl Scout cookie mom can suck the big one sometimes, your daughter feels extra special that you took the job! She will also never forget the time you ate lunch with her at school, volunteered in her class, chaperoned a field trip or particpated in a fundraiser. Kids really appreciate your involvement and are better off for it.
- Be consistent: As she reaches an age where the questions get more complicated and the issues are more pressing, don’t forget what your rules are. You can’t twist or alter them when a particular incident has you especially pissed off. You also can’t go light on them when you’re in a good mood. The more she knows what to expect from you, the better her behavior will be.
What can you add??