Happy New Year!! I’m so grateful to be here another year with the opportunity to share my knowledge and do life with you! Often times we focus on setting resolutions and goals for the new year and we forget about the simple, yet impactful things. I want to encourage you to do ten things this year that will improve your life.
Practice gratitude daily. It is so easy to get caught up in what you don’t have or what could be. Practicing gratitude daily allows you to focus more on the things that you do have and what’s happening around you. I really want us to complain less and become more grateful as a community. There is always someone out there in a worse situation than you. If you don’t have a journal, get a notebook and write down three things that you are grateful for each day, whether it is before bed or first thing in the morning. This practice can change your life, especially if you’re one who complains a lot.
Create a budget. As single moms, finances is one of the number one issues. How can you fix the issue if you don’t know where your money is going? Make this the year you stop spending without knowing where your money is going. I am currently trying zero-based budgeting. It is simply where you take your income and subtract everything that you have on your budget from it and get zero. If you do not have a budget at this time, I encourage you to create one. Figure out what type of budget works best for you. You may want to first spend some time tracking your spending over a month by just writing it down. Then, develop the budget. In the zero-based budgeting method, everything is accounted for from bills down to savings. If you try zero-based budgeting and the budget doesn’t equal zero right now, it’s okay. It is a process. Figure out how to get to zero whether it means decreasing expenses or increasing income.
Get a side hustle. I constantly hear every single mom should have a side hustle and I now understand why. I also understand that everyone is not able to start their own business and become a mompreneur but everyone is able to get a side hustle. Our 9-5 full-time income is good but what happens if you get fired or your salary gets cut due to budgeting? You will have to figure it out but if you have a side hustle, you at least have some income flowing outside of your primary income. You should never be solely dependent on one source of income and I’m talking to myself too. I had a side hustle but I was not consistent last yea. I will do better this year. Having a side hustle also helps you not depend on child support. What happens when the child support doesn’t come or it gets decreased? I know that you can list it as a source of income but this year, I want you to make it a goal to not have to rely on child support as a source of income. What do I mean when I say this? You are actually able to pay all of your bills without it (and put money aside). Who knows? Your side-hustle may just become your full-time gig one day! Here are some side hustle ideas to get you started: babysitting, blogging, baking, podcasting, planning events, tutoring, housecleaning, delivering groceries (Shipt, Postmatets, or Instacart), driving people around (Uber or Lyft), mystery shopping, photography, odd jobs (Taskrabbit), coaching, and direct sales (usually requires little money to start).
Put you at the top of your to do list. Another thing I hear often is “I don’t have time for myself.” I’m too busy. If you have been following me for quite some time, you know that I get up an hour or two before my daughter to have some “me” time and if I want to take it a step further, I will stay up an hour or so after her bedtime. This allows me to make time to do things for myself. You can do it to. Instead of laying in bed and mindlessly scrolling on social media when you wake or or before you go to bed, figure out what things make you happy and begin to incorporate them into your schedule. It may seem impossible when you’re thinking about it, but I promise you can do it. Start off with 15 minutes and gradually increase it over time.
Learn to manage your time. I always hear “I don’t have enough time” or “I’m too busy.” I know. Life is tough. You are trying to juggle so much between your life and the life of your kids all on your own, whether co-parenting or not. I want you all to evaluate your daily schedule and see where your time is going. If you are not where you want to be, I do not think you should ever be too busy to work on things that will benefit you. I like to plan out my week on Saturday or Sunday morning then block off my time on Google calendar and sync it with iCal. It allows me to receive notifications right before it’s time to start my next task. Scheduling everything allows you to see where your time is going and holds you accountable.
Spend quality time with your kids. This is something that I am going to do a better job of. I asked a question in Single Mom Chat (on Instagram Live each and every Thursday at 7:30PM CST) about how moms are spending time with their kids. There were some really good ideas such as date night during the week on days that kids eat free, carving out time on the weekend to go to the park, or simply having a movie night. Doing these things while eliminating distractions sounded great! I’m going to incorporate one of them. I have grown to understand that time is the one thing you cannot get back and kids grow so fast that if you blink you might miss a major milestone!
Invest in your personal development. How will you grow if your mindset is messed up? After learning how to manage your time, evaluate your morning routine. Are you feeding your brain? I suggest listening to podcasts, reading books and/or e-books, taking advantage of free courses, or even educational or motivational videos on YouTube at least once daily. It may seem like a lot but it’s not. You can do this in the morning when you get up before the kids or at night after the kids go to sleep. This does not cost you anything and doesn’t have to take up much time. I encourage you to take it a step further and attend a conference or consider joining a local community or organization with like-minded women. See if there are local single mom communities in your area. Google, Facebook, MeetUp, and Instagram are great places to start searching.
Deal with the stuff you have been carrying. Mental health is very important. I recently found an interest in Child Psychology and learned that a lot of the things that affected us in our childhood later affects us in adulthood. We carry baggage and become bitter about what happened to us. Begin to journal, talk to a trusted friend or family member, or seek therapy if neither of those work. I hear that a lot of you are still holding on to things that your child’s father did two and three years ago. It is time to let that stuff go. How can we operate in excellence if our focus is back in 2016? We have to learn how to move forward. You can’t heal what you don’t reveal. I have some questions about my childhood that may be the cause for some of my actions. I want an unbiased opinion so I am in the process of finding a therapist for that reason. I will be sharing the journey. Stay tuned for that.
Invest in your professional development. If you are not were you want to be in your career, this is necessary. Commit to growth this year! Similar to personal development, you should attend a conference or join a local organization. I cannot tell you how networking has opened so many doors. Don’t be afraid to discuss your professional goals with your leaders. The company may have funds allocated for professional development. You won’t know until you ask. Also, find a mentor or someone in the company or field that is where you want to be and reach out to them. Most people love to talk about their journeys and how they got where they are. If you are a work at home mom and you are looking to grow, there are also conferences that you can attend, Facebook groups, and organizations that you can join. You can also look for other work at home moms to see how they are doing it. I want us to become more resourceful. We often discount our abilities simply because of the lack of financial resources. Learn to use Google and YouTube. It is life changing! If you do have the financial means and do not prefer to do the research, take this thing a step further and invest in a coach. The coach has already done the research and is able to help you get to the next level. Be sure to research the coach and read reviews, if there are any. In this age of social media and coaching, it is easy to be fooled.
Make relationship building a priority. In 2018, my goal was to make connections. This year I am focusing on relationship building. It’s important that I make time to build my tribe here in Houston. I’ve been living here for three years now and I have made connections with moms but haven’t built one relationship. I know that I could do a whole lot more with a support system. Parenting alone can be isolating. By having a support system of moms, I could help them and they could help me, whether babysitting or a simple moms night out to vent and share advice. It’s easy for me to connect with moms on social but so hard to connect off social due to scheduling and the lack of time. I’ve connected with some young ladies off social who were not moms and they have been so helpful but they don’t understand a lot of the struggles that I go through. It’s just something about being able to talk to people who are going through similar issues and get it. I’m honestly not sure how I have made it this far without knowing any other moms that are local. We have to make time to make this happen. Houston moms, lookout for more meetups this year!
Let me know below what you are working on and if you find any of these things helpful!