Working single parents never have it easy. If they’re also going through a divorce on top of raising kids and maintaining a career, their life is indeed a roller-coaster ride, full of twists, ups and downs, and sometimes, a plunge.
Thankfully, there are experienced family lawyers helping single parents keep a level head during a divorce. But as for the rest of their responsibilities, how can single moms balance them while also taking care of themselves?
Prioritize Your Family
Your career may be your escape, the one good thing amid the turmoil you’re facing, but still, the family has to be put first. If your kids are still at a tender age where they can’t fully understand divorce, they’ll need you more than ever.
Children tend to blame themselves when their parents fight and separate. They may also assume that it’s their fault if their other parent fails to show up on their visiting schedule. Hence, make it clear that your child hasn’t made a mistake, and that the other parent’s absence isn’t because they love them less. Psychologists advise constant reassurance to ensure that your kid’s self-esteem won’t plummet. Tell your kid that adults make mistakes, too, and it’s not because they don’t love their kids as much anymore.
Be honest with your child when their parent has done wrong. This validates their emotions and lets them vent out healthily.
If your ex-spouse often fails to show up, try proposing an alternate arrangement whenever your child is supposed to see them. It would be preferable if it’s not a workday for you so that you can dedicate all your time to your kid when their dad is a no-show. Moving forward, consider changing your ex’s visitation schedule, because the current one may just not be working for them.
Most importantly, allow your kid to voice out their frustrations and other negative feelings. It may be hard to deal with a distressed child when you’re also juggling a pile of responsibilities at work, but once you get home, it’s advised to have all your attention on your kid.
Thriving in Your Career
If you’re an employee of a company, find out how your employer accommodates single parents. You can ask your single parent colleagues if they’re satisfied with the company’s policies toward working parents, or get insight from official review websites.
Relay your situation to your manager as well, so that they’d understand why you had to turn down some opportunities that may interfere with your parenting duties.
Talking to your manager may also let you discover perks for single moms that you might not be aware of yet, such as allowances for flexible work schedules, and a reduced-rate childcare benefit.
If balancing your time between parenting and working will be a struggle, ask HR for help. They may offer a temporary part-time position, or work-from-home days, whichever fits you and your child’s needs more.
Merging your home and work calendars will be tremendously helpful, too. It will ensure that you won’t be failing to attend to prior commitments, such as your child’s awarding ceremony or recital.
If you’re an entrepreneur, don’t hesitate to delegate your tasks. Have a competent team ready to fill in for you when you can’t show up for work, or give your 100%. Delegating is also recommended if you’re a manager or supervisor of another company.
Balancing work and parenting may take a while to get easier, and occasional dilemmas may be inevitable. The key is to set expectations and boundaries so that you’d clearly know your limits and priorities. Focus on being a good parent and worker, even amidst circumstances that aren’t in your favor. Remember to go easy on yourself, because perfection isn’t realistic.