Other Articles from Sharon Mutua
Cheat Sheet to Single Parenting
Being a mother is a full time job. Being a single mother is like having two full-time jobs. As such, single parents are always on-the-go because they are solely responsible for their children’s well-being. So when it comes to cutting down costs and sticking to a budget they have this at their fingertips because their lives depend on it.
I met a lady called Waciki who openly revealed that she is a single mother of two kids and works 8-5. Her favourite time of day is when she gets to pick up her children from school in the evening. According to her, hearing all the different stories and interesting events that happened brighten her day. Waciki jokingly admits that during her afternoon runs to get home after picking up her children she does not break any traffic rules. She even drives at the recommended speed or slower.
When I asked why she said verbatim “It is our special moment, once we get into the house they rush to watch their favourite animated shows and my evening routine begins.”
This got me thinking In the midst of all the Nairobi traffic especially after 5pm all you want to do in the scorching heat is get to your destination as fast as possible. Here you have a mother savouring the few minutes she has on the road to listen to her children’s banter.
Out of curiosity I prodded her with more questions.
“Where do your kids sit in the car?”
(Laughing)They all sit at the back seat. I don’t let them sit at the front. I only have two children and their safety is my main concern. Also, my youngest is in kindergarten and she needs a booster seat which means her elder brother has to keep her company at the back. This works perfectly for me as I watch them through the rear view mirror.
Their routine works and Waciki does everything in her power to ensure it works. Every morning at 6.30am, she does a complete check on her car. That involves running her engine to warm it up, checking on the oil and water levels and of course the tyre pressure.
By this time I am totally amused and thinking that she might be going over the top with this car checks. She was amused at my reaction but brushed it off by saying, “I was one of those pestering car buyers who asked the dealer every possible question about handling my car after all, I am the one driving it. I had a patient agent and he was kind enough to suggest looking into an insurance option that offers discounts that would meet my needs. I will forever be grateful for that informative tip because it has made a big difference.”
The other thing she mentioned was that she has a good relationship with her mechanic and over time he has taught her simple hacks that have made it easier to maneuver her car with no hindrance. “If you don’t mind me asking, what simple hack do you live by?”
She indulged me saying, “Did you know that the arrow on your gas gauge will point out to the side the gas tank is on?” Clearly I was not aware of that fact but I am sure I am one out of many people who did not know this.
Ensuring that her car was in good condition would give her peace of mind when she was driving her children around. Many at times, car owners forget to check their cars or go for service thus the numerous vehicles stalled on the side of the road. For Waciki, there was more at stake when it came to her car and she made it clear to me it was their safe space and she owed it to her children to make the extra effort.
My take-home that day from a fellow mum was that you have to create a space where your children can feel at ease when talking to you. Being a working mum does not necessarily mean you can’t have time for your children. Waciki created her own ‘safe space’ for her children and with this she was confident that her children would grow to love car rides with her even when they are teenagers.
Do you have a safe space? It’s particularly important if you are constantly busy. Even as an adult you need a safe space. A space where you can go to when you are feeling down and leave it feeling elevated.
Waciki and her two children continue to enjoy their weekday evening car rides. She has found a simple and manageable way in her busy schedule to spend time with her children and create more unforgettable memories. Truly winning at being a mummy!
Author’s tip : Here are simple hacks that can ease your schedule as a single parent
- Keep a positive connection with your kids whether its during school runs or evening walks. Create time each day to find out about the major events of their day and what they’re looking forward to tomorrow.
- Keep the car stocked with essentials such as first aid kit, water, waste bags etc
- It is worthwhile to hire a domestic manager for your time consuming chores and remember to seek help from family members when you need some “me-time”.
- Create a meal plan; Plan for the week’s meals on Sunday to avoid thinking of what to cook after work. Cook twice as much and half as often.
- Create a bedtime routine and avoid wasting time in the morning; lay out clothes the night before and pack school bags with the essentials.
- Compile a list of emergency contacts and stick it on your fridge for your nanny’s consideration.
- Lastly, take each day as it comes. This is your life- cherish it and most of all, celebrate it.