I remember as a kid being disappointed when I asked my mom what was for dinner and she said “leftovers”. For some reason the food just didn’t taste as good to me the second, or even third time around in the microwave. My kids are the same way-they grumble when I use that three syllable “L” word. But, after a long day at work or how ever we fill our time during the day, sometimes we just don’t have the energy to create a new meal, or we want to stretch last night’s dinner a little further.

When I worked full time outside our home and then came home at night to my responsibilities as a wife, mother, and homemaker, I was exhausted. And not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, too. I often felt like I had been run over repeatedly by the demands of the day and didn’t have anything left to give. The last thing I wanted to hear was “what’s for dinner?” So, leftovers it often was.

Kids and the single mom

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But what’s great for our time and even our budget isn’t always that great for our relationship with our kids.

I began to see I wasn’t just serving leftovers for dinner. I was serving my kids my leftovers, too. My job, my coworkers, and my clients were getting my best. By the time I got home at night I just wanted to park myself on the couch and mindlessly watch Netflix and scroll through Facebook.

One evening my kids said “Mom, sometimes it feels like your phone is more important to you than we are.” That was a much needed wake up call.

I love my kids more than life itself. But I wasn’t showing it, or showing up, in the ways they needed me. I realized how important it was for me to be present and fully engaged with my kids. Just being in the same room doesn’t count as quality time.

I needed to make some changes.

I looked for ways to simplify life so I could enjoy my life more with the people who meant the most to me. I began to menu plan and use my crock-pot more. I developed a housework schedule, which helped me with spacing out chores instead of doing them all at once and I began to look at my work differently-as temporal. Yes, my work had value and meaning, but not nearly as much as the precious lives of my children that God has entrusted me with to care for. And, yes, I put the phone down more, too.

How about you?

Do you find yourself overwhelmed and scraping the bottom of the barrel at times? What can you let go of, or restructure that will give you more meaningful time with your kids? What tips do you have for saving time so you can spend more time with your loved ones? I’d love to hear from you!


Erin BishopErin Bishop is a writer, speaker, and Founder and Executive Director of the Whatever Girls Ministry. The Whatever Girls purpose is to empower girls, support moms, and inspire dads. Erin founded Whatever Girls as a preemptive strike for her daughter and her friends who were about to go to middle school, and was designed to encourage and equip teen girls and their moms as they navigated through their teen years. In Whatever Girls group meetings, mothers and daughters grow in their faith through Bible study, topical curriculum, talking about peer pressure, and girls are given strategies to pre-decide how to handle different scenarios when faced with peer pressure. Erin and her husband, Roger, their teenage son, Luke, and corgi puppy, Krypto, live in Eastern Washington. Their grown daughter, Grace, and son in law, Ryan, live in Western Washington. For more information about Erin and Whatever Girls visit: www.thewhatevergirls.com


The Life of a Single Mom logoThe Life of a Single Mom is a national, faith-based, nonprofit that exists to see that no single mom walks alone. To date, we have worked with more than 1,500 churches & community groups to start or improve a single mom’s support group in cities throughout the U.S. and beyond. We have a large array of books, curriculum, training materials, and online instructional videos to support ministry leaders who lead single moms. Our single mom programs focus on empowering single moms to grow spiritually, emotionally, financially, and parentally through a number of projects including: Single Mom University, Single Moms Across America, the National TLSM Single Moms Conference, and a variety of programs throughout the U.S. For more information, visit www.thelifeofasinglemom.com