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Having a successful career while being a single parent can be very challenging.
On average, 28% of children live with just one parent – mostly their mothers. Being a single parent poses many challenges, the biggest being financial. Single parents earn less money than their married counterparts, on average, due to the fact that they are also juggling full-time parenting.
Slightly more than half of single mothers work full time, whereas 80% of married mothers are in the workforce. Though it’s incredibly challenging to both work and parent full-time, it is possible.
Among the items to keep in mind in burning both ends of the candle:
Choose a family-friendly career
Family-friendly careers are ones that are flexible, allow for time off and understand that your family is your priority. Maybe you want to work the typical Monday through Friday 9 to 5, or perhaps you want to work night shifts if family members are available to look after your children. Choose a career that fits into your life, versus trying to make your life fit into your career.
Forget the old concept that you must work now and live later. Escape the endless cycle that takes you from work to home then work again. Relieve financial tension without working a second job.
Make your time with family count
In other words, it’s quality time over quantity of time. Single parents need to juggle work, paying bills, housework, cooking and running errands, plus spending time with their kids. Set aside blocks of time to really engage with your children. They’ll remember one hour of quality time much more than if you spend five hours half-focused on them and half-focused on some other task.
Use your money wisely –
Allow yourself treats every now and then, but do your best to be frugal. Money management tips for single parents include monitoring your finances, creating and sticking to a
Form habits and routines
Try to structure your life as best as you can. Children (and adults) thrive off of routine. Make breakfast together each morning, go out for ice cream on Saturdays, or turn the television off when you eat dinner. It’s the little things like this that children will cherish and remember.
Learn to say no –
It’s OK to say no to certain obligations. As a single working parent, you can’t do it all. Your kids and your work need to be your primary focus. It’s quite alright to skip lunch with friends or a PTA meeting every now and then to rest or spend time with your family.
Best and worst jobs for single parents
According to Forbes, the best jobs for single parents include teachers, public relations managers, real estate brokers, virtual assistants, and any job in health care.
Worst jobs are any jobs that may require you to work long hours and have no flexibility. Accountants, for example, typically work more during tax season. Doctors have long hours, as do some sales jobs. Keep this in mind when figuring out your career.
Though being a working single parent isn’t easy, it’s possible.
Both you and your kids will adapt and it will become their new normal. Stay positive and encouraging, especially around your little ones. Find a support system and take each day one day at a time.