How to run a single mom household like a boss

single mom life tips

Single-mom household management can be challenging.

But with the right tools, organization, and support, you can become exceptionally efficient when it comes to managing day-to-day tasks.

Because let's get real: YOU DON'T HAVE A CHOICE!

By using apps, outsourcing, budgeting, and automating, you can organize your busy life regardless of whether you have multiple children, a demanding career, and a desire for more quality time with your family.

The guide below will show you how to prioritize your calendar and your tasks to keep your family happy, healthy, and balanced.

Single mom household budget

One of the easiest ways to effectively manage your household is by outsourcing.

However, you can’t hire help until you know how much money you have to spend. That’s where budgeting comes in.

Creating your first budget as a single parent can be challenging, especially if you’re used to having dual incomes.

However, with enough tracking and organization, you can find a way to maximize your money time and energy to live the most kickass life you can — and be an awesome role model for your kids (and anyone else who is watching).

How to make a household budget

In How to make a single mom budget you will stick to, I elaborate on budgeting steps. These include:

  1. Choose a budget strategy — Zero-sum, or 50-30-20
  2. Track all your spending
  3. Track your income
  4. Consider child support
  5. Slash extras and cut bills
  6. Focus on growing your income and wealth!

Household budget spreadsheet

When creating a budget, the first place to start is tracking your spending.

Personal Capital is a free tool that shows your whole financial picture including your income, expenses, your debt, and your net worth.

Tiller's budgeting spreadsheet is also a good tool to use to track your spending throughout the month.  (Read my Tiller budget spreadsheet review.)

Household budget template

Here is an example of a single-mom budget template:

Categories for household budget

Once you start tracking your spending, you can create budget categories, keeping in mind that you should have a zero-based budget.

A zero-based budget is when you allocate every dollar you earn to a specific category, including a savings category.

Take some time to think about the budget categories that would make your life easier.

As a single parent, you might need to allocate more to outsourcing certain tasks, like babysitting and housekeeping, while cutting back on some extras like going out to eat.

Household budget categories might include:

  • Housing (rent, mortgage, insurance HOA, PMI, real estate taxes)
  • Utilities, including electric, gas, garbage, and water
  • Cell phone
  • Child care
  • Food
  • Health insurance
  • Out-of-pocket health care costs
  • Car payments, insurance and gas
  • Savings
  • Retirement and other long-term investments
  • Charitable donations
  • Kids' extracurricular activities
  • Gym membership / fitness classes

It will likely take a few months for you to get used to living within a budget.

However, once you have a strong budget in place where you assign every dollar to a category at the beginning of the month, you’ll start to feel empowered with your money.

Household income

Household spending

If you are strapped, get real with yourself a slash all unused services, expenses and subscriptions. 

TrueBill is a free service identifies any recurring subscriptions, and on your behalf will cancel or reduce recurring bills like iTunes, Hulu, SlingTV, cable, Amazon, Internet, cell phone, BlueApron or even Plant Fitness (face it—you never go!). TrueBill is 100% free unless they negotiate down a bill, in which they take 40% of the savings.

TrueBill's ‘Lower My Bill' program works like this:

  1. Create an account at Truebill.com
  2. Upload a recent bill for one of the more than two dozen service providers they work with.
  3. TrueBill then reviews your bill, contacts the company to negotiate a lower rate.
  4. TrueBill then charges you 40% of the savings.

I used TrueBill to negotiate her utilities. TrueBill saved me $16 off my monthly AT&T bill while also getting me a bigger data plan, and $23.20 from my TimeWarner / Spectrum Internet bill.

Learn more about bill negotiation services, or check out TrueBill now >>

Live in a house you can afford

One of the most important things you can do to ensure a sense of control and abundance is to choose a home you can easily afford. So many moms stretch their budgets beyond comfort in order to avoid relocation, to stay in a large home, or the best school district in their area. 

As a result, they are constantly stressed about paying bills, losing their home, or otherwise home instability. 

Other moms report downsizing from a home they own to one they can afford to comfortably rent — and being thrilled by their sense of financial empowerment. Other single moms say that the best thing they did was to move from a large, fancy home, to a smaller, more modest house — and being proud of their savings accounts, as well as the wise financial decisions they model for their children. 

Remember: Once you free up unnecessary financial stress, you create positive energy to attract positive professional opportunities, grow your wealth, and save up for any home that you crave! 

Birthdays and holidays for single moms 

You know you’ll have to attend a million annoying kids’ birthday parties throughout the year.

So, stock up at once to save money and headache.

If you see a great sale on a toy appropriate for your child’s age group, buy several.

Gender-neutral gifts too like books, puzzles, science and cooking projects and outdoor toys streamline this mess.

Then, buy gift bags. Dollar Tree is one of the best places to buy gift bags and cards.

Again, when you go to buy one, buy several.

This eliminates the pre-party stress of needing to spend time buying a gift and wrapping it.

You can start the school year with several wrapped gifts in your closet ready to take to the next kid party.

And don't forget about the best time and money saver: REGIFTING!

Birthday parties for children are way overdone.

Instead of trying to plan a Pinterest-worthy party, opt for experiences instead.

Tell your child they can choose a friend to bring to a theme park, a movie, the aquarium, or some other fun experience.

It will be less expensive for you, and your child will be more likely to remember it.

Save for the holidays year-round

To have enough money for holiday gifts, save a certain amount every month in a high yield savings account.

The average parent spends $422 on Christmas gifts per child for kids ages 8-14.

To hit that goal, you have to save about $35 per month from January-December.

Household debt

Choose the right bank accounts

Make sure you have the best free checking accounts, online saving accounts, and investment accounts for you.

As a single mom, managing your money to the best of your ability is extremely important.

So, you should work with trusted banks who don’t charge exorbitant fees. That way, you can keep more of your hard-earned money for you.

Some examples:

Recommended checking accounts

  • Axos Bank: this online-only bank has accounts with cool features like $0 fees, get your paycheck up to two days early, unlimited ATM fee reimbursements and 1.25% APY.
  • BBVA – a growing U.S. bank whose online accounts are extremely user-friendly. Account holders enjoy a network of more than 55,000 ATMs nationwide.
  • USAA – USAA is for military members and their families. They have no monthly fees and no ATM fees.
  • Charles Schwab – Schwab is known for excellent customer service and no ATM fees.
  • Capital One 360 – Capital One 360 has no fees or minimums and check deposit from anywhere.

Recommended savings accounts

  • CIT Bank’s savings builder account has won a host of awards for its online savings account, which at 2.20% is 4X higher than the national average. That is a lot. CIT Bank is FDIC insured. To earn this rate, CIT requires a $100 minimum deposit, and setup of a new account takes less than 5 minutes (I tried it).
  • UFB Direct: Do you have $10,000 or more to park in a high-yield account? UFB offers 2.25% APY, which beats out the competition.
  • BBVA has a great money market rate for new accounts — no matter how much you deposit (it makes me crazy when banks advertise a high-interest rate — only to disclose in the fine print that it only applies to like $500,000 deposits. None of that baloney with BBVA!). Just $25 to get started, a great app, and takes less than 5 minutes to apply and fund your account.
  • Ally – Ally savings account interest rates are 1.15%. Plus, you can rename the accounts to save for specific goals.
  • Goldman Sachs –  Get 1.2% on your savings with no minimum balance to open and no transaction fees.

Recommended investment accounts

I am on a personal mission to get women to save and invest more.

There are some fascinating studies that find that women are actually better at investing that men, but they save and invest far too little, too infrequently, which puts us at a huge disadvantage.

The wealth gap is a terrible issue, as women have far less invested and saved than men, and we need those long-term assets even more than dudes since we live longer than men, and as single moms, are far more likely to be responsible for children, grandchildren and aging parents long-term. 

I wrote this post on how to get started investing for single moms, which explains all the basics, in plain language, that anyone can understand.

Remember: You are a brilliant person raising children alone. Do not be intimidated by all that financial jargon that was written by rich white men on Wall Street. 

If you want to get started right away, check out Ellevest. This genius robo-advisor was created specifically for women, taking into account that we often take time off to have babies, suffer at the hands of the pay gap, and like pretty websites! The founder is Sallie Krawcheck, a female Wall Street trailblazer who has been a guest on my Like a Mother podcast, and I love the interface, which creates a custom financial plan for you — for free — for whatever your financial goals, including planning for kids, buying a house, paying off debt, or, of course, retirement. No minimum investment.

Use this link to get your free financial plan from Ellevest + $50 to start investing >>

My investing advice for single moms

  1. Prioritize retirement investing far above your kids' college education. An Allianz survey found that Americans over-save for their kids' college fund when compared with retirement, and guilt-ridden single moms are especially prone to this mistake. Remember: the best gift you can give your kids is your own financial health. This makes you a less-stressed, more secure mom today, and relieves your children from the worry and resentment for caring for you in your later years. There are countless ways to finance college, but no Pell grants or loans for retirement!
  2. Believe that you are worth it. You deserve to have a fat wad in the bank, peace of mind and confidence that you can have a comfortable, joyful life and financial future!
  3. You are not dumb or lazy because you have not started investing — or not saved enough. The system is stacked against you. You are smart and you can do this. When you succeed in your finances, all women succeed. We lift each other up, set great role models for one another, and together we are going to close the pay and wealth gaps!

Household chores

Someone has to keep the house clean, lawn mowed, repairs up-to-date, laundry done.

PSA: You don't have to do everything!

In fact, I urge you to reconsider even doing most of it. The more hours you spend doing tasks you are over-qualified for, that you hate, and that you can outsource, means more time you can invest in your career, a side business, exercise, getting laid, having fun with your kids, relaxing or doing nothing at all.

Instead:

  • Relax your cleaning standards
  • Give your kids chores
  • Outsource household chores to professionals — or even non-professionals!

You're welcome!

Outsourcing for single moms

Another great way to improve your time management is to outsource.

No one ever became wealthy without outsourcing. After all, you already outsource your laundry to a washer and dryer, and transportation to a car or bus or plane. Take it a step further and outsource housekeeping, and errand running.

My world was rocked by a recent New York Times piece about Mary Wells Lawrence, the iconic 1960s female advertising exec on whom Mad Men’s Peggy is roughly based. Yeah, it was pretty cool that this chick from Ohio blew into New York and started an ad agency in 1966 that billed $39 million in its first year. She was a 27-year-old single mom of two at the time, before Gloria Steinem and her feminist harem bitch-slapped the macho establishment into shape.

But what really blew my mind was the part of the story that points out that for most of their lives, Lawrence’s daughters saw their jet-setting mother mostly on weekends only—and that Lawrence was totally cool with that:

What is striking about talking to Ms. Lawrence now … is how little emotional torture seemed to surround the effort to amalgamate professional and maternal responsibilities. “I think women who spend the most productive years of their life nurturing children are unhappy,” Ms. Lawrence said.

Them’s fighting words! I, too, am a single professional mom of two. But I a) don’t bill in the millions, b) truly believe that children are the greatest joy, and c) am fully tortured all day long by the struggle to balance my time between two forces that I both love and need. Some days I am convinced that I really can have it all. The rest of the time I beat myself up for failing to meet what feels like an impossible standard to simultaneously be a fully engaged mom and a successful writer.

For a full rundown of all the best outsourcing services, read, Save sanity and time: Outsourcelaundry and household chores.

Keep reading to learn how to create a single-mom household schedule that makes your life awesome …

Cleaning schedule for working moms

As long as CPS would not give you an infraction, you're good. Proceed.

If you're like me, and hate cleaning, but need your home to be tidy for your own mental health, get serious about a chore schedule for any kid over the age of 5. By age 9, they should be able to do every household chore, including cooking.

Fun fact: My first job was mowing the lawn at my grandparents' farm. My brother and I shared the $5 fee, and took turns driving the riding lawn more to cut 3 acres of grass — starting at ages 5 and 7!

House cleaning and laundry

Combine this child labor with hiring professional cleaning services. My wonderful housekeeper Sandra comes once per week, does my laundry and changes the linens and even organizes my Tupperware drawer, before my family turns it into an unorganized disaster before her next visit.

Find a quality housekeeper, or local laundry service at Care.com >>

Babysitters and childcare:

It’s important to have several babysitters on call for moments when you need more help.

For example, you might want to have a younger babysitter who charges less per hour for a night out with your girlfriends.

Then, you might want a trusted babysitter who is older with a clean driving record to help you get your kids to and from activities after school.

Having several different babysitters who are different ages will help you feel confident when making plans or scheduling important events.

Care.com is a great resource to find caretakers!

Lawn Maintenance and care

If you enjoy working in your yard, feel free to complete this task yourself.

However, if you want to spend your weekend enjoying your children instead of mowing the lawn, this is an inexpensive task to outsource.

Ask around for local landscaping business, a neighborhood teenager, or a retired person seeking a side gig. Maybe there is single mom in your area who is thrilled to earn extra cash in exchange for taking care of your yard.

TaskRabbit is an excellent marketplace of area professionals who can help with lawn care, as well as:

  • Furniture assembly
  • Yardwork
  • Errands
  • Furniture delivery services
  • Delivery service
  • Grocery shopping
  • IKEA assembly
  • Handyman
  • Help moving
  • Interior painting
  • TV mounting
  • Light installation
  • Hanging pictures & shelves

New TaskRabbit customers get $10 off with the coupon code NEW10US >>

House cleaning and laundry

The only way to grow your income and reduce your stress is to outsource things that you hate or are bad at — or are below your pay grade.

Laundry and housekeeping are top of this list.

Some people enjoy laundry (the soothing quality, the warm towels in the winter, yada yada), and if that is you, I think you are an alien.

If this is you, consider laundry a hobby — not an obligation.

Never feel guilty for hiring someone to clean your house and do your laundry.

All you’re doing is paying someone else to free up your valuable time, so you can grow your business, relax, exercise, hang out with your kids or date.

In New York City where I live, it is common to send your laundry out to a local wash and fold service or laundromat for $1.25 per pound, and within 24 hours you get all your unmentionables and more washed, dried and folded. BOOM.

Ask around if such a service exists in your area. Perhaps your regular house cleaner can add this to their services for you, or you can ask if a local parent might consider an at-home laundry service.

If nothing else, search Care.com for local options.

Errands and maintenance

How many times have you said, “I need a personal assistant!” Luckily, with apps like TaskRabbit, you can hire someone to do small maintenance tasks around your home, run errands or otherwise boss around (nicely) for a reasonable fee.

GENIUS.

New TaskRabbit customers get $10 off with the coupon code NEW10US >>

Household essentials for single moms

Time management for single moms

In addition to following a budget, one of the most important aspects of running a single-mom household is time management.

This can be challenging when you have to coordinate work, after school activities, nights out with friends, and more.

To manage your time more effectively, look at your current schedule.

How many extracurricular activities are on your calendar? Recent research shows that parents spend an average of $739 per year and countless hours on after school activities.

Not only are extracurricular activities expensive, but they take up a lot of time.

Can you pick just one activity per child?

Can you stop participating in the one activity you dread driving to each week?

After all, your kids aren't getting maximum value out of the experience if their mom is grumpy about that hour round-trip drive to the expensive gymnastics class that your kid isn't even that interested in!

Remember, it’s OK to send your kids to football but not have them compete on the traveling competition team.

It’s also OK to send your kids to tennis lessons without them taking part in tournaments every weekend.

Essentially, do what works for your family.

Plus, single parents have an extra layer of scheduling to consider if you share custody of your children and the related scheduling.

At the same time, you need to remain flexible if you or your ex is traveling, or one of you has a work conflict or illness come up.

While maintaining all this might seem overwhelming, there are many ways to consolidate and organize even the busiest schedule.

Apps for single moms

  • Tiller is a great spreadsheet-based budgeting app thousands of moms swear by. in the post now:
  • TrueBill: Will scour your bank or credit card accounts for subscriptions, and cancel for you the ones you don't use. TrueBill also negotiates down your utility and phone bills! For free!
  • Care.com: Care.com is the go-to resource for finding a quality babysitter, nanny, housekeeper, laundry service, and elder and pet care.
  • Cozi: Cozi is one of the most popular family organizing apps available. You can manage your family’s schedules in one place as well as store your grocery lists and to-do lists. Best of all, you can access it across multiple devices so your kids can see the schedule too.
  • TaskRabbit: Where smart moms find services to help with everything from lawncare, errands, Ikea assembly, moving, home repair and more.
  • Amazon Subscribe and Save: This is a great way to create subscriptions for items like toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, cleaning supplies and whatever else you use regularly, and get it automatically delivered every couple of weeks — at a discount.

Scheduling for single moms

If you have an iPhone, you can ask Siri to add things to your calendar.

Tell Siri “Add a haircut at 9 AM tomorrow to my calendar.”

She will automatically add the appointment to your phone without you having to type it in.

Meal planning for moms

The idea of planning an entire month’s worth of meals seems daunting.

Luckily, thanks to the beauty of technology, you can make grocery shopping, prepping dinner, and even finding inexpensive restaurants much easier.

Here’s how to make meal planning easier and cheaper:

Grocery Shopping

We all want to make healthy meals for our family, but sometimes, going to the grocery store can be such a chore. Here are a couple of ways to make it easier:

  • Menu Planning: You can sit down, sift through dozens of Pinterest recipes, and plan your menus yourself, or you can pay for a service to do it for you. Some great menu planning services are Plan to Eat and the Dinner Daily.
  • Delivery: Subscribe to Amazon Fresh, and they will deliver groceries right to your door. If you don’t want to pay for a premium service, you can order food from Brandless, where everything is $3. Many local grocery stores also now offer curbside pickup for a nominal fee.  You can also use a service like Instacart, Shipt, or Peapod to hire someone to shop at your local stores.

Meal Delivery

The popularity of meal delivery services is on the rise.

These are more expensive than getting your groceries delivered to you.

However, they can be a great way to try new recipes in the kitchen.

Some favorites include Hello Fresh and Green Chef (for families who like to eat primarily organic food.)

Both of these options also have vegetarian menus as well.

Restaurants

If you want to go to a restaurant with your kids to save yourself from a messy kitchen, that’s understandable.

You can cut down the cost in a few ways.

  • Use Restaurant.com. Here, you can put in your zip code and find coupons for restaurants in your area. Usually, they’re good coupons too!
  • Use the Kids Eat Free App. Allow this app to see your location, and it will show you restaurants where kids eat free (or very cheaply) near you.

Single mom quotes on overwhelm

To wit:

My most cherished part of the day: “Mommy!” my 2- and 4-year-olds rush to greet me with glowing faces and hugs when I pick them up from daycare.
Two seconds out the door: Checking my iPhone for a message from a potential client. Guilt ensues.

Another highlight: Sitting down to the hot breakfast I proudly cook each morning, answering my precocious 4-year-old daughter’s questions about NPR’s report on Afghanistan.
Simultaneously: Thinking through the story I will write in my home office as soon as I dump these kids back at said daycare. Again, that guilt!

8:04 p.m.: Heart melting as my toddler son asks, “Hold hand, Mommy?” as I sing him “The Garden Song” at bedtime.
8:17 p.m.: Sprinting down the hall to set up interviews for the next deadline. Ditto. And I’m not even Catholic.

[Feel like therapy could help, but you are short on time and money? Online counseling is a great option that helps hundreds of thousands of people through text, email, video and phone therapy. I evaluate the top online therapy companies in this post.]

Cue heavenly choral music as I receive an email from my friend Laura Vanderkam offering me a free time makeover. Laura is a fellow mom and freelance writer who seriously changed my life with her first book, 168 HoursYou Have More Time Than You Think.

The gist is that many of us blow our most precious commodity (time) by not spending it on our core competencies, and not thinking critically about how we while away hours. For me, core competencies include my work and mothering. These are what I do best, so there is no reason to spend my precious time, say, cleaning the crud that accumulates under my dining table each week. Instead, Laura argues, I should outsource everything that I don’t enjoy, which makes time, money and emotional sense.

Case in point: Laundry. Laundry is Laura’s pet peeve. “Laundry is the biggest time suck,” she said over a wine-filled dinner a few years ago. What?! Wasn’t laundry just a part of being an adult? But in my Astoria, Queens, New York neighborhood, I learned to pay someone about $25 per week to pick up my dirty things, wash, dry, fold and sort them and return them to my door the same day. Doing the same task myself would cost two hours and save me $15 in quarters. In two hours I make way more money writing stories for this and other fine publications. I like writing these stories. Plus, I have to write them so my family can eat. I don’t like laundry.

[How to slash overwhelm by outsourcing laundry and other household tasks]

The thing with Laura and her books (she has a similar one on money management) is that they can be a bit sanctimonious. For me, it took a lot of time, practice and emotional growth to sign on to the notion that I cannot afford not to pay someone else to clean my house. At first I felt guilty that Sandra, my amazing house cleaner, visited once per month. But I have gradually inched up to outsourcing this loathed task every week. I love it. It’s a stress relief that no doubt translates into a less harried and more fun mom.

As this order has benefited my home life, my financial life has benefited, too. It’s impossible to quantify the correlation, but in the past couple of years as I’ve implemented Laura’s edicts, I’ve increasingly made more money. I’ve started outsourcing other things: at tax time this year I breezily paid my accountant to sort and tally my business receipts, and when a closet full of cast-offs wouldn’t take care of itself, I hired a nice woman from TaskRabbit.com to haul it all to a local charity. I think I should be creating more single mom memes on my Instagram account about this!

That’s the back story.

Single mom inspirational stories

Laura Vanderkam's book, Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done, might just change your life. It changed mine.

Upon hearing about this theory, my knee-jerk reaction was to say, “Before breakfast I’m sleeping! Because as a single working mom of two kids who are up and down all night I’m exhausted, you sanctimonious whore!” But I shut it and accepted Laura’s generous offer to give me a time makeover, which she also wrote about on her CBS MoneyWatch blog.

For one week I logged every hour of my day in an Excel spreadsheet. One thing I felt good about: My days were indeed full. From the time I woke until the kids went down were chockablock with work, exercise and the personal tasks I simply cannot do without childcare. But the evenings were often squandered as I either dithered it away on the Internet or as I lay motionless on my bed in an exhaustion coma.

In my email to Laura I laid out a few goals: Spend 20 minutes of one-on-one time with each kid each day, find a chunk of alone time regularly, tackle the marketing and strategic planning that a business requires and get a grip on all the little household projects that pile up. Oh, and remove the sense of chaos from my life.

In our phone consultation, Laura started out with some heavy petting: “First, congratulations,” she said. “Your schedule is amazing. You have a lot of professional success in not a lot of work hours [the kids are in daycare between 30 and 35 hours each week], and you’re spending a lot of time with the kids as well.” Okay, I thought, keep talking.

After 30 minutes I got some great suggestions. But the general takeaway was to have more fun and meaning in life. Happy people are more engaged and better doing whatever it is that they do. Also, I remember how long it took me to sign on to Laura’s other time-saving edicts, so while I clearly have a long way to go, I am hopeful.

Time management for single moms

Here is a summary of our consultation:

Suggestion 1: Create a buffer time before I pick up the kids from their daycare, which is a two-minute walk from my apartment. “There is a reason people have commutes,” she said. “It gives people transition time between work and their professional lives, and working out of a home office you don’t have that decompression time,” which contributes to my sense of harriedness. “When you’re toggling back and forth, you’re not doing anything fully, which is not efficient.”

In practice: Yesterday, my first day of the rest of my life, I did just that: took 20 minutes before pickup to straighten up my bedroom/office and do a bit of yoga—things that felt good and improved my physical and mental wellbeing. Guess what? During my afternoon with the kids, I felt a little more engaged and only checked my email four times. A feat.

Suggestion 2: Designate an hour each week for marketing and making a list of household tasks, and tackle one per week. “When you set time for things, you can dismiss the nagging feeling associated with them by telling yourself, ‘Now is not the time to do that.’”

[Lies that keep single moms broke, stressed-out and alone]

In practice: Created an electronic sticky note on my computer desktop with an intimidatingly long list. After the kids went to sleep yesterday I straightened out the kitchen junk drawer. It took all of seven minutes and felt awesome.

Suggestion 3: This one surprised me: Get up an hour earlier than normal and do some creative writing. I hadn’t mentioned any lack of creative fulfillment, but when she said that I immediately got very excited. Somehow she intuitively tapped into this unmet need, and I loved the sound of it.

In practice: Today, I climbed out of bed a half hour after the beep, made a coffee and cranked out 1,000 words of this story. When the kids woke an hour later, I felt excited and happy, and my phone was on the other side of the house and I didn’t even miss it. This may change my life.

Suggestion 4: “Create pockets of happy time. This is fun and relaxing stuff, not just stuff that is meaningful like raising children and meaningful work,” Laura said.

In practice: Last weekend I unexpectedly found myself alone for two hours when my kids were with their dad and I normally spend precious time with my boyfriend, Larry. Instead, I sat quietly eating a dinner of leftover corn chowder and reading the Sunday Times. Bliss. I need to do this every week, Laura said. Today I wrote on my to-do list to tell Larry that from now on I’ll be arriving two hours later on Saturday nights.

Suggestion 5: Give myself a bedtime routine. Limit my Internet dawdling to half an hour, then designate another half hour of magazine reading or movie watching to unwind. Go to bed at a set hour.

In practice: Last night I read half of March’s issue of More magazine before dozing off. No idea what time that was.

Suggestion 6: Let some of it go. Laura and I brainstormed ways to get a little one-on-one time with each of my children, and nothing made sense. She gave me permission to park that idea for a year or two.

In practice: Done.

Do you have any other tips, apps, or tools for single parents who want to successfully run their households? Share in the comments!

About Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, noted blogger, and bestselling author. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.  Find out Emma's top Single Mom Resources here.

4 Comments

  1. Karla Martinez on May 15, 2019 at 8:22 pm

    Thank you very much for all the information. I am zero savvy when it comes to investment and such. But now reading this its giving me a more clear insight.

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  3. […]  Managing a household is hard enough as it is without having to be the only person in charge of said household. You could have a network of family and friends willing to step in and help, but they’re not going to be with you at every hour of the day. If your financial situation doesn’t call for it, you’ll also very much be alone with the housework and cleaning. […]

  4. Kim on February 26, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    Thank you for all of the great tips, ideas and resources. I am completely new to this world and have no clue what’s out there to help. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge with us!

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