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Being a single parent comes with its share of difficulties. All the responsibilities of running a household that would usually be shared between two people are now on your shoulders. As you want to provide your children with everything they might need, you need a job. On the other hand, you also need to be at home to play an active role in your little ones’ lives. So, how can a single parent balance work obligations and family life? Keep on reading for some useful tips.
Try to find a family-friendly job
Seeing as how not all companies have a family-friendly attitude, your work-life balance could be suffering if your employer is not accommodating to parents. With that in mind, you want to take a look at a company’s policies toward working parents. For example, you can do some research on websites like Glassdoor or contact their employees that you might be connected with on LinkedIn. If you schedule an interview, you want to ask about the typical workday, if there are many last-minute requests, whether they allow employees to work from home, see if there is a daycare facility or a lactation room and so on. On the other hand, if you already have a job, you want to be open with your manager and explain the situation you are in. That way, they will understand when you need to work from home or turn down an opportunity. In case they cannot meet you halfway, it might be time to look for a more forthcoming job.
Learn how to manage your finances
Running a household on only one salary is not easy, which is why you need to look into various ways that will help you stay on top of your finances. For starters, you need to know where you stand financially, so keep track of all incomes and expenses. Make sure you have enough money to cover rent, utilities and food while also covering any outstanding debts you might have. That way, you will know how much money you have left. You can find many software programs online, such as Mint.com, that will make budgeting much easier. Set some budgeting goals and see how you can reach them. Would you need a second job? Could your teen pick up a part-time job so that you don’t have to give them an allowance? If you have younger kids, you need to teach them about the importance of saving money and learn how to say no to certain demands they might have.
Develop a routine for your family
As you will have many obligations to deal with on a daily basis, it’s best that you develop a family routine. No matter how old your kids are, they will also benefit from this approach. Set a time when everyone should wake up and start preparing for the day. Drop your kids off at daycare before you leave for work and make sure they know who is picking them up and when. In the evening, you can prepare everything for the next day, from snacks to clothes. Don’t forget to set a bedtime for everyone. You might have to deal with laundry, meal prep and various other chores on the weekends. While you have many things to handle, it’s vital that you don’t overlook spending quality time with your little ones. Designate a day for going out for ice cream, reading books together and playing board games.
Look for quality childcare services
While you are at work, you want to ensure your kids are well taken care of. If your work doesn’t offer a daycare facility, the best way to rest easy is to look for a quality childcare centre where trained and experienced professionals will tend to your child’s every need. Things that you want to take into account when choosing a centre include the program, policies and accreditation. For instance, as early childhood education is very important, you want a centre that allows kids to explore the world around them and encourages them to make life-long friendships. Moreover, you also want to agree with their disciplinary actions and ensure they hold all necessary licenses.
Find the right people to rely on
There will be times when you might have to work overtime or your kid has practice at an inconvenient time. In these scenarios, it’s always good to have some people you can rely on. This is something that many single parents forget. There are still people who care about you and your kids and are willing to help. So, whether it’s your parents, siblings or friends, let them step in when you are in a pinch. For example, your children can spend some quality time with their favourite aunt. What is more, maybe even some parents from your kids’ school can give them an occasional ride home or organize a sleepover every once in a while.
Have your kids help out
In addition to other people, you can also rely on your kids to a certain extent. While you don’t want to put too much pressure on them, they can take care of a few chores. From tidying up their room to feeding and walking the dog, your kids can take some obligations off your back. Depending on their age, they can also do the laundry, mow the lawn and go grocery shopping. Teenagers can even look for a job if they want to help you out with the bills.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself
Lastly, to be able to take care of everything at work and home, you have to prevent burnout. So, remember to take care of yourself. In terms of work, see whether there are some assignments that your colleagues can take on or if you are entitled to a few days off. When it comes to your household, think about sending your kids to their grandparents for a weekend while you enjoy a nice bubble bath, watch your favourite show and do nothing. You can also go for drinks with friends and even give dating a try.
Everyone knows that being a single parent is not easy so no one will hold it against you if you admit that you need some help. From relying on your friends and family and enrolling your kid in a quality kindergarten to using budgeting apps and taking time for yourself, these tips should be of great assistance.