As a single parent being a stay at home mom just isn’t an option for most of us. You have to have a way to provide for your children, because let’s face it, child support just doesn’t cover everything. Supporting children on your own can be overwhelming. Having to work means having to find quality child care for your children, which can be pricey. Many young mothers find themselves trapped because all of the money they make goes straight to daycare. It’s a vicious cycle that is hard to get out of without a strong support system to help you. When I got divorced I found myself in this very predicament. I only had an Associate’s Degree and was still trying to go back to school to finish my Bachelor’s. If I were to go back to work nearly everything I made would go straight to daycare. I would never be able to fully support Logan on my own that way so I had to learn to accept the help of my family during that time so that I could get through school.
One of the most important things when you are learning to balance work (or school) and family is to let go of the guilt. You have to learn to compartmentalize or you will drive yourself crazy. When you are at work, focus on work. When you get home you can do all of those things that you wish you could have done with the kids during the day. Focus on the benefits of you working. Maybe you can put some savings away for their education, maybe you can go on that big trip you’ve always wanted to take them on. Ideally of course you would be with your children, but when you’re single you don’t always have the option, so make the best of what you’ve got.
Another thing that can help ease the stress of the hectic morning schedule is to get things ready the night before. Give the kids a bath, set out their clothes, pack lunches and backpacks, and have everything ready by the door. This keeps the mornings calm so you don’t have to rush out the door.
Don’t forget to make a little time for yourself too. You may feel like between work and the kids there isn’t any time to focus on yourself, but it is really doing a favor for your kids. You can’t be the best mom you can be if you are cranky and stressed because of work. Take just a few minutes a day to relax and unwind.
Finding balance can be tough, but it can be done. Remember how strong you are and don’t focus on the negatives. Believe it or not there are some benefits that come from you working too. You just have to find them.