Being a single parent is common nowadays, but that doesn’t make it easy. Without a partner present to rely on regularly, it puts the single parent in a predicament. With countless obligations and unforeseen issues, there is always something to do, day in and day out. Getting a break is a blessing, but those come fairly infrequently.
If you are a single parent like I am, let’s talk. With all the struggles, there are plenty of positive elements to embrace. After all, your children are the center of your universe, and you’d do anything for them, no matter what it takes. The love you have is immeasurable, so you go through the grind to give them a good life. It’s exhausting, but endlessly rewarding.
As a working single parent, you have to find a balance that’s doable and won’t drain you completely. Your hours may be crazy, and your “me time” is a few minutes at best. But if you can come to a place of peace by lessening the pressure you’ve put upon yourself; you’ll find that it is possible to do it all, perhaps with time to spare.
Here are three tips to handle the challenges of work and family commitments. Once you get into the groove and can take charge, you’ll be less stressed and more successful, at work, in parenting, and simply as a person.
You need structure to stay on track. With too many balls in the air, you’re bound to drop at least one of them. Go high-tech with apps that can keep your schedule in order or do things the old-fashioned way by writing down your appointments and such on a calendar.
Do this as far ahead of time as possible, so you don’t double book or miss out on important activities and events. Your daughter’s soccer game is right up there with your staff meeting, so if you know what’s what, you can make it to both. Not to mention, you’ll feel less frazzled when everything is in order, so you won’t have to rely on your memory when your mind is already on a million things.
Ask for Help
There’s no shame in asking a co-worker, family member, or friend for a helping hand. “It takes a village…,” so take the opportunity to ask someone for a reasonable favor when you’re particularly pressured.
If your sister or mother can pick up the kids from school so you can finish a work project, it could allow you to focus on the task at hand, uninterrupted. Perhaps you can ask your assistant or a co-worker to send that recap email to the boss. You don’t have to be hands-on at all times if you have a solid team you trust.
If your kids’ other parent is in their life, be sure they’re doing their part when it comes to custody arrangements and so forth. If you’re on friendly terms, be available for one another for last-minute cooperation when you’re in a bind.
Give Yourself A Break
No one expects you to be perfect. You’ll slip up sometimes, and that’s OK. As a single parent, you have a lot on your plate. As much as you want to shine in every aspect of your life, there will be less-than stellar moments and even full-on failures.
Forgive yourself when you mess up or make mistakes. Learn from your errors and do it better next time. Not only is this important for your own well being, but it’s a valuable lesson for your children.