Parenting can be both a rewarding and a challenging experience, but when you’re on your own, things can get stressful and overwhelming. Single parents, especially single moms, certainly have their work cut out for them, and the smallest amount of help is welcome. Refer to our guide to make motherhood more easy and fulfilling for you:

1. Tweak Your Work Schedule
If you work from home, you’re fortunate enough to be able to spend time with your kids even as you make a living. For the rest, it is tricky, but not impossible to achieve a balance between work and family responsibilities. Start by asking your employer for a flexible schedule, where you could perhaps come in and leave sooner than the rest, or telecommute for some days of the week. A good boss usually wants to work with you, and not against you. Better still, check out company policies for family-friendly benefits.

2. Always Ask For Help
Yes, you’re supermom, and you’re doing a fine job managing the kids, the house, the bills, the job, and the rest of your universe. But it’s also okay to ask for a little assistance every now and then. Ask the children to collaborate on simple, age-appropriate tasks like making beds, clearing the table, or picking up their toys. This teaches them to be independent, and work as a team at the same time. Develop an emergency list of friends, family members and even neighbors, who you can call on when needed. When building a support network, don’t just focus on other single parents, but create a diverse social circle.

3. Schedule Some Alone Time
It might seem like a stretch to even think about getting time off for yourself, but it’s essential for your sanity in the long run. Single motherhood is hard work, and you deserve to reward yourself. Hire a babysitter, call your trustworthy neighbor or swap duties with another single mom, but do whatever it takes so you can go get that pedicure, a cup of coffee, or even a trip to the bookstore. Commit to it by marking your calendar, planning ahead, and not making excuses. Taking care of yourself sends a positive message to your kids as well.

4. Stop Keeping Score
It’s nice to have a clean house, everything in its place and no chaos, but what are you willing to sacrifice in order to get there? Instead of trying to be perfect, focus on what needs to get done and do it with the minimum fuss and maximum cooperation from the kids. Eating healthy, being kind to each other, and learning life lessons is more important than making the bed or doing the dishes as soon you’re done eating. Relax a bit, spend quality time with the kids, and ease up on the pressure you put on yourself.

5. Be Present While Multitasking
Moms everywhere are masters of multitasking, but single moms take it to a whole new level. Don’t get carried away with trying to do more all the time, instead strategize, so you can do one work task, and one fun thing at the same time. Doing laundry can be a great time to check your toddler’s knowledge of colors; cooking dinner can be a good way to see what vegetables and fruit your child recognizes.

6. Plan Ahead
It doesn’t matter if you have infants or teens, you need to think ahead for every situation since you’re the only one in charge and can’t rely on someone else to pick up the slack. Your bag and car should always be stocked with some healthy snacks, coloring or picture books, small toys, tissues, and juice boxes. Keep your number written somewhere on your child’s belongings, so you can be contacted in case of an emergency. Teach your child what to do in the event of your being delayed, and always have a back up plan.

7. Be Honest About The Dad Question
Child psychologists suggest you answer questions about their father with as much honesty as they can handle for their age—and then quickly change the subject. Avoid saying negative things, and prepare to answer increasingly complex versions of the same question as they grow older and more curious. It’s normal to feel sad, anxious, guilty or even enraged after having this tricky conversation, but play it cool. Use male role models such as grandparents, uncles, brothers and friends to ensure your children have a masculine energy to balance things out.

Read More:
7 Ways To Improve Your Mother-Daughter Relationship
5 Things You Absolutely Shouldn’t Say To A New Mom

Simona is a journalist who has worked with several leading publications in India over the last 17 years, writing on lifestyle topics and the arts, besides interviewing celebrities. She made the switch to public relations and headed the division as PR Manager at ITC Hotels’ flagship property, the ITC Grand Chola, but has since returned to her first love, journalism. Now she writes on food, which she is sincerely passionate about and wellness, which she finds fascinating and full of surprises. When she isn’t writing, she is busy playing the role of co-founder and communications director of The Bicycle Project, a six-year-old charity initiative that empowers tribal children in rural areas, while addressing the issue of urban waste.