Here are some interesting statistics about single parenthood in the U.S.:
Today, over 16 million single parents in the country are raising kids below 18 years of age.
Every one in five kids (21 percent) lives with a solo mother, while 4 percent live with a solo dad in 2017.
77 percent of employed single mothers who have kids younger than 18 work full time.
While it is already tedious for married couples to achieve a work-life balance, how much more would it be for a single parent to juggle child care and career? Apart from that, solo parents experience more financial pressure of managing a household.
Essentially, being a single parent means all decision-making is left to you. You have no partner to turn to when you are faced with tough choices. Between career and taking care of children, many single parents agree that somehow raising kids alone has significantly affected their job and overall career.
Nonetheless, here are some helpful tips for single parents as they face these unique challenges in life.
1. Find Your Support Network
Having a support network can take some burden off in raising children on your own. This support network could be anyone — family members, extended relatives, friends, and even other parents you meet along the way. Do not hesitate to connect with others while navigating the world of parenting.
With your support network, you have other adults with whom you can vent to and relax with. Otherwise, you might be leaning on your kids for support — which is something you should never do.
Also, these support networks of adults can serve as secondary role models for your children. They could help widen your children’s perspectives or teach them skills you could not do independently.
2. Manage Your Finances
Money is a huge stressor for most people. More so if you are a single-income household raising children.
Though it is often said that money is not that important so long as you can give enough attention to your kids, having enough helps reduce anxiety in the family since you can provide a good lifestyle.
It is never too late to take a hard look at your existing debts and create specific, achievable goals to pay them off. Learn how to budget and take time to educate yourself about long-term investment options such as retirement and college funds.
No matter how small the steps you take to organize your finances, eventually, you will see the result and realize that it is all worth it.
Eliminate your debts slowly and steadily with whatever payments you can afford. Increase your savings gradually. As your financial situation improves, the less you and your kids would feel stressed out.
3. Set a Routine
With a structured daily routine, not only do you help yourself stay balanced in juggling career and family life, but it is extremely useful for your children.
Having a scheduled meal time, family time, homework time, and bedtime keeps everyone organized and less stressed. You and your kids already know what to expect on a given day. And even though not every time is schedules followed, it is good to have a guide to keep everyone on track.
4. Seek Employment From Family-Friendly Companies
Not all companies have the same attitude and policies when it comes to employees with children.
When looking for a potential employer, search online for lists of family-friendly companies. Look for signs that the company accommodates employees with kids during interviews, such as their employee benefits package.
You may also consider asking a fellow parent what their take is on the company’s policies towards working parents.
On the other hand, if you are currently an employed single parent, it is worth a shot to open up with your manager about your current situation.
Though it might be difficult, particularly if you are a private person, sharing your circumstances helps your manager understand why you have to turn down opportunities or why sometimes you have to miss work due to child-related reasons.
Also, your manager would be more sympathetic towards you if he/she knows you are a single parent.
Final Word: Never Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Despite doing the best you can to balance work and family life, there would come a time that you would have to ask for help.
Do not hesitate to ask for help from the support network you have built — your family, friends, and other parents. Whether it be babysitting for a few hours or childcare while you are off to work, you can always reciprocate the act with other parents from your social circle.
Though it is tough raising kids on your own, you can always surpass any feat with a positive attitude.