How Do Single Parents Do It?!

How in the hell do single parents do it?

My hat goes off to everyone weathering the parent storms alone.

I have an amazing wife who shares the parenting load with me, and there are still times where I feel completely overwhelmed. I cannot imagine flying solo as a dad. On a particularly challenging day, one of the most comforting feelings is simply knowing that help is on the way. There have definitely been a few times where The Mrs. walks in the house and I simply say, “Tag” and walk out the door. Single parents don’t have that option though, and because of that, you have my utmost respect and admiration.

When parenting challenges try to get the best of me, I draw inspiration from the superwomen and supermen out there who are navigating the choppy parenting waters alone. By simply imagining what it would be like to be a single parent, I can often end any whining or complaining I might be doing internally.

I recently came across a blogger named Patty who writes at workingmotherlife.com. She is a single mom and a full-time nurse! I encourage you to check out her site, but I wanted to share one post in particular about how she tries to balance her family and work. Take it away, Patty!

THE CHALLENGE OF BALANCING YOUR CAREER AND FAMILY

When it comes to balancing career and family, I am no stranger to it. I have been, probably, one of the worst when it comes to this until I truly sat down and put my priorities in line and created a routine that works for me. See, I am a single mother of a beautiful daughter and I work full-time as a nurse. As you can imagine, my life can be quite hectic, especially when I must pull double shifts and work over night. I try to cherish as much time as I can with my daughter, but it has proven to be difficult many times. Below, I will go over some ways that you can make a balance between your career and family.

THE PROBLEM? FACE IT HEAD ON

The problem is that finding a balance between career and family is a challenge. I learned this the hard way, but I have worked hard to overcome it. The challenge for me was being able to put in a full work week of 12-hour days and then come home and pick up all the mom duties. Since I am a single mom, I do not have anyone there to clean up, cook, or make sure everything is in order. This falls on me, and it leaves me tired and frustrated some days.

In addition, I usually brought my work home with me after seeing so many emergencies come through the hospital door. It can wear on you. Trauma patients are the worst, especially when there is nothing you can do to save them.

However, I overcame it all and with the following tips. You should be able to better get your life into perspective and put what matters most, first.

TIPS FOR BALANCING YOUR CAREER AND FAMILY

1. DON’T START YOUR DAY FRAZZLED

One of the best ways to balance your career and family is to avoid becoming frazzled and frustrated the morning before work. You should take a moment to pack lunches, pack backpacks, and prepare things the night BEFORE, this way, you and your children can have a good day.

You will find that it is easier to rearrange your schedule to accommodate your needs then trying to rush around the morning of. I found that if I wanted to avoid being frustrated in the morning, I needed to bathe my daughter, pull out her outfit, and pack her lunch the night before. This saved me about 20 to 30 minutes in the morning.

2. KNOW YOUR PRIORITIES

I mentioned this briefly above and it is so true. You need to know your priorities and then make a calendar that details out what you have planned. For example, a calendar that discusses when bills are due, who does what chores, and what is for dinner can help add 30 minutes to your schedule. Knowing what you must do will limit how much thinking on the fly you must do and you can spend more time focused on the ones you love.

3. KNOW WHEN TO SAY NO

I make this point more than once on my blog, but do not be afraid to say no. While you may not want to say no, you should. Sometimes there is just too much on your plate and you need a break. If you continue to take on extra shifts at work and cover other people’s tasks, you will never have time for yourself and you will be left without time to spend with your family. If you know you have a family activity planned and you are asked to work late, say no.

4. SAY HI DURING THE DAY

You do not have to wait to talk to your loved ones and you can balance your career and life by checking in a couple of times a day. For example, what I did was when my daughter came home from school, we would face chat for a couple of minutes.

MY THOUGHTS

Your career comes second to your family, but do not feel guilty about having to go to work because, after all, you work hard to ensure that your family has a good life. Take some time and think about ways that you can balance your career and family effectively.