Being a single parent to a child while at the same time having to manage the responsibilities of maintaining the household and all the expenses is not an easy job.
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More often, it results in an unhealthy and stressful lifestyle, not only for the parent but for the child as well.
Most women are forced into becoming a single mother by their situations, and even though few women become single mothers by choice, it is undoubtedly a challenging balance to tackle.
One research implicated that a significant proportion of working women are experiencing difficulty in balancing work and family due to excessive work pressure, too little time for themselves, and the need to fulfill others’ expectations of them.
The responsibilities that you divide with a partner all suddenly fall into your lap. All of a sudden, you have to be a father and a mother to your children.
You have to take care of their welfare and keep an eye on their healthy growth along with handling all the expenses for which you have to find a job that will help you sustain this hectic lifestyle!
It really is a tightrope to walk for many single mothers around the globe.
A lot also depends on how many children you have as well as how old they are. For every person, it’s a different story all around, and no one can give you ‘the one magic solution,’ which will help you contain the challenges of work-life balance for moms.
Hence, it becomes essential that you can adapt yourself to the changes around you and find a solution that works best for the challenges of single mothers.
You will have to make a lot of sacrifices on the way, but for the sake of your child, you will be able to make them.
The solution for life as a single mother remains in maintaining a healthy balance between – personal health, household, and childcare, & your work.
So it becomes all the more essential to organize yourself and get your priorities straight.
Here are some single mom tips that would help you in finding the balance between work and home.
1. Find a suitable job
Having to work to support your child is a sure eventuality. Since all the expenses of the household fall on you, it’s a responsibility that cannot be deferred even if you want to stay with your child.
Now, as a single mother finding a suitable job which will let you spend quality time with your child as well as provide a sufficient income to maintain the household and the personal expenses is a near impossible thing.
In the end, you will be the one who will have to adapt and make yourself suitable for the lifestyle you find yourselves in.
Please don’t misinterpret me! You can totally find a work you love and, at the same time, spend time with your kids, but as I mentioned, you will have to walk on a delicate tightrope.
Often you will have to sacrifice on your family due to your workload or vice versa in case of a family issue.
The type of job you have will also drastically affect the way you spend your time with your children.
Having an office job means 9 to 5 work, but it also results in a separation between work and home; so, if you are smart, you can give time to your kid without worrying about your work.
However, it will not be worth anything if you are not able to balance your work with your responsibility as a mother.
Every kind of work has its own perks. But it can help a lot if you talk with your manager or whoever you are working under, and make them understand your position.
Most people are prone to helping others, and you can assure them that your work will not be affected if you are allowed more lenient office timings. Trust me. There is no harm in asking.
2. Make room for personal time
As a single mother, It is also essential that you don’t forget to give yourself some private time.
In juggling between work, home, and child, you can forget to look after your own well-being.
Often the workload does not allow you to have some “me” time, but what you need to understand is your mental and physical health are just as important.
Ignoring one’s own need can result in a build-up of stress and dissatisfaction, which slowly but surely starts affecting your daily lifestyle, which will then adversely affect your relationship with your child and the quality of your work.
If you can organize your lifestyle enough to give some free time, then you are already doing pretty well for yourself.
You don’t have to spend every free minute from your work with your kids. You need to find ways to relieve yourself from all the stress that you build over a week.
Finding a hobby or some other activity can go a long way in lightening your spirit. But you still need to go out of the house sometime.
You need to free yourself of the burden, which immediately falls on your head as soon as you enter the house.
Go outside, socialize, grab a couple of drinks with your friends, go on a date, hook up with someone anything which makes you happy.
Indulging yourself like this will freshen up your otherwise hectic schedule. You can even hire a babysitter to look after the kids so that you are not worrying about them the entire time.
Or you can even ask your neighbors or friends to look after them. This also brings me to my next point.
3. Ask for help
There is no shame in asking for help. You are not a superhuman who has to take every responsibility on herself.
It is not a weakness to ask for help, nor will your pride make your child happier. Taking too much weight on oneself will, in the long run, adversely affect you and your child.
Also, consider what you will do if you were to get sick? You are not a robot. You are a person who deserves to be happy.
People around you are usually genial and always ready to help.
Your friends and family will be all happier for the trust you show in them, and they will be assured that you are doing fine as well. What often results from asking help is the “single mother’s guilt.”
You may feel you are failing in supporting your child and hence have to ask for help, that you are not doing enough for your kid and that you are being selfish.
You will feel guilty about not being a good parent to your child. But trust me, this guilt will not help either you or your kid. Feeling that guilt is normal, but you have to be realistic as well.
Appreciate yourself, for what you do well, and appreciate your shortcoming. Sometimes prioritizing yourself or your work over your children is completely fine, and in the end, you are doing this for them.
4. Spend quality time with kids
Now the first and foremost are your children. In spite of the nature of your work, it is paramount that you spend quality time with your kids.
By the quality time, I don’t mean that you work on your laptop or mobile while giving half an ear to what your kid is saying or doing, but giving your full attention and love to them spending a part of your time doing activities with them.
Take them to lunch, listen to what is going on in their school and what new they have learned, go to there dance competition or soccer matches.
Of course, as a single mother, you cannot do all of this even if you wish to, so prioritize what makes your child happier.
You also have to mind how you act around them; children do learn by the example of their parents.
So, spend what time you can with them while having fun and loving them. And smile!
Let your kids know you are happy with them around and don’t make them feel like a burden.
Even though children don’t understand it, they can feel it, so do your best to forget your worries around them.
Flexibility in how you deal with your kids also goes on to help a lot. You have to remember that they are not robots, nor will they follow the routine you have made.
They are prone to misbehave and break the rules, so you will just have to find your own way to deal with these tantrums.
It can be challenging to maintain an unruly child (and kids are unruly as a rule) who demands your constant attention, but always take care to not take your stress out on your child, that is not the best option to choose at all.
What’s important in the end is that you keep loving them and letting them know that they are loved.
As a single mother, you will have to make a lot of sacrifices and compensate for a lot of shortcomings.
It is a task that takes a lot of heart to tackle. But remember that you are not alone. There are always others around to help you, and beyond that, you have to accept your failures and keep moving ahead.
As a working single mother, there will never be a strict separation between your work life and your home.
They are bound to overlap at one point or another, but you have to make your own balance between the two, and it is up to you how you make the best of it.
In the end, no one knows or loves your child more than you do.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.