Raising kids is hard work, no matter what your family situation may be. But for single mothers, parenting on your own presents unique challenges—not the least of which is finding the balance between career aspirations and quality family time. The financial stability and sense of purpose that come with having a career is essential to women, especially those raising kids on their own. However, with such a challenging balancing act to manage, it can be difficult to know where to begin.
If you’re a single mother looking to start or return to a career while still keeping your family front and center, here are a few tips to help navigate the dynamic.
Create a Schedule
The key to managing a career and parenting is to have a plan in place. Whether that comes in the form of a traditional job with hours set in stone or a more flexible freelance setup, having a schedule is a vital part of the equation. Without an established timetable, it can be difficult to sort out how to dedicate the appropriate amount of parenting time, as well as be there when your children need you the most.
Drawing up weekly plans for both work and family affairs can provide the necessary clarity to keep each part of your life humming along. When making a schedule, don’t forget to pencil in some much-needed leisure time for yourself too. Ink a few activity dates into the ever-evolving schedule, you deserve it!
Get to Know Your Support Network
Having a support network can be key to keeping your household running smoothly. Single mothers often rely on extended family, friends, neighbors, and even coworkers to lend an extra helping hand when life gets hectic. Getting organized within your network can help to keep energy levels high while still providing the support necessary to have a livable schedule.
No matter the distance, a good support system should include an equal mix of short-term emergency solutions and long-term arrangements that you can rely on. As your children and career both progress, your network may change, but with a bit of organization, you can always stay up to date on what and who you can call upon.
No matter how you try, single parenting will bring about challenges and chaos along the way—especially when you’re managing a career during the best of times. Taking on two of life’s most pressing challenges can be daunting, so don’t be afraid to take the pressure off yourself when necessary. If that means having an extra cup of coffee to fight the afternoon fatigue or even pushing a few of your requirements to next week to make room for family matters, then do it.
On the flip side, try not to be too rigid with yourself. Setting goals for yourself is essential, but being realistic about your ambitions is key. If you find yourself struggling to check off items on your list, it may be time to step back and take stock of the situation at hand, both in your parenting and professional lives.
With the right organizational strategies and mental acuity, you can make a successful career while still keeping family life in check. Steering your path forward while raising kids on your own can be tricky, and there will no doubt be days that feel unmanageable. But with some up front planning and creative solutions, it’s entirely possible to shine daily both at work and at home.