Guest blog by Wilhelmina Elsa Ford

I have always been a routine kind of gal, but when I first had Dustin, my now 3 year old, I was running a very large business I had grown over 9 years and I was such a control freak with it daily that I had to have a good routine at his early age so that I could manage both with nurturing and attention. The routine was good for both of us so Dustin could learn when was play and when was mummy working and when it was dinner, bath time or play time and he grew, learnt and flourished.Our play routine was as much outside as possible as we lived on a beautiful 27 acre property and my business was dog boarding training so there was always much happening and loads to see. Upon waking every day we would sit in front of the bay window and watch the birds and eat a bowl of fruit together and yoghurt or porridge if it was cold. We would chat about the birds and ducks and wildlife that was around and make the noises they make and it was something he looked forward to so much so that his first word was duck and he pointed at the ducks.

We would then get ready for the day and Dustin would play by himself or nap and when 8.30am came we would sit at the bay window again for at least an hour and watch the staff let the dogs out and talk about them and then we would go outside and pat all the small friendly dogs and talk about the different colours and sizes and their names.

The rest of the day was nap time then lunch and then a poke of the head out to say bye to staff and dogs and by 5.00pm we were doing our daily walk (he was in a carrier until he could walk) with our dog Roxy around our property and I would talk to him about everything I could hear and see and eventually once he could talk we would converse together about everything and become mindful and still while learning about the bush. We would pretend to be kangaroos or ducks and make the body movements and noises.

Our play routine was different to most and got even more unique when I had my second child, Monique, and 3 months later became a single mum, in a new State, without my business (because I sold it) and now at 1 years old, my two kids and I have established a lovely routine that helps me time wise for efficiency, creates bonding with the both of them, allows them individual play time and also has some crazy as well as reflection all mixed in.

I play quietly with Monique until Dustin wakes and also dress her and give her a nappy change and once he wakes we go to his room and Monique plays alone with his toys and I change Dustin for the day and then Dustin continues on play with Monique in his room and this is their morning routine of bonding and play, meanwhile I am making breakfast. After breakfast Monique goes back to a nap and Dustin watches TV while I get ready, about 20 minutes. Once I am dressed we go to his room and read books until Monique wakes up. Once she is awake we are off on our daily errands, routines such as daycare and I go to the gym and Monique has some bubs classes and at the end of the day we spend it in the garden watering it, picking the vegies and playing fetch with Roxy and talking about our days. As it gets darker we all go inside and start the bathing routine and then Monique and Dustin play in the lounge room with her toys, another bonding with them and I join in here and there as I prepare dinner. After dinner we have another 20 mins of TV, they sit and watch it together while I have a shower and clean up dinner and then we go to Dustins room and play with quiet games, like reading or puzzles or building train tracks and Monique is the big dinosaur that tramples everything and its very entertaining.

Once its 7.00pm we go out and I out on classical music on the TV and we sit and watch the stars through the windows and lie down on the mattress on the floor and they both drift off to sleep. I put them in their beds and start work on my new business, Parenting Reimagined.

My play is focused on routine, on how to make it mindful, intelligent play but also I throw in dance parties and running around chasing and ticking if they wont sleep and they need to burn energy. I need the routine to work so I can get time to do things as it is just me raising them. I feel that mindfulness and independent play together between them is really important but the play with me and each one while the other is asleep is vital for my bonding also. Not everyday is the same, my routine needs to be flexible to adjust to changing moods, energy levels and weather as well as my load I am carrying. Like anything in life to be successful we have to be dynamic and able to change, play routines included.

Wilhelmina is the Founder of Parenting Reimagined. Parenting Reimagined is founded on the principle that if you align your thoughts with your dreams and desires you can re-invent, re-define and re-imagine what your journey of single parenting is and have it be one of success, fulfilment and happiness.  And as a by product of gaining a better understanding of yourself, the parenting  of your children will shift because when you feel good about yourself you are much better able to extend this positive sense of self to your children.   
Single parenting is challenging but it doesn’t have to be a frustrating, lonely or a difficult journey.  Don’t let the single parent paradigm define you and shape your life and those within it.  You have the choice to make of it what you want and with the help offered here, it can be a choice of happiness, gratitude and success.
If you would like to connect with Wilhelmina, here is where you can find her: