Parenting is an exhausting job, and for single parents it can be incredibly difficult. Though it's important to take care of your kids, it's also essential that you don't stress or burn out. The only way that you are going to be happy, healthy and energetic enough to take care of your family is by taking care of yourself. Find ways to carve out some precious me time as often as you can.

Swap play dates

Make friends with other moms and swap play dates or babysitting duties to give each other a much-needed break. You can't be everything to everybody all the time. By teaming up with other moms, you can find a little time for yourself to get a pedicure or a massage — or even just take an afternoon nap.

Take advantage of nap time

Speaking of naps, if your kids are still of napping age, you need to take advantage of it — and not by using nap time to do the laundry. Chores can wait. While your kids are napping, read a book, take a bubble bath or just veg out on the couch watching bad TV shows.

Get up 15 minutes earlier

Ugh! Getting up earlier sounds exhausting, but 15 to 30 minutes can do wonders. In that time, you can meditate, exercise, paint your toenails, read celebrity gossip or just relax with a cup of tea.

Put in on your calendar

You are a perfectionist. You never skip an appointment or miss a deadline. So put yourself on your calendar. Mark your "me time" on your calendar every day (or at least every week). Treat it like all your appointments — don't cancel unless it's an emergency.

Get a little help

Hiring a full-time nanny will cost you a bundle, but having a mother's helper a couple afternoons a week won't. Give yourself a break to recharge your batteries by getting a little help with your kids or your household chores. You'll find that part-time help will be worth every penny for your sanity.

More about me time

Why "me time" is such a big deal
Give yourself a time out
5 Books that will take you on a mini-vacation

Topics: single parenting