Survival tips for single working parents

July 29, 2014

in Lifestyle

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Becoming a parent may be the most important responsibility an adult ever faces, and that responsibility is even greater for single parents. Balancing work and home life as a single parent can seem like an endless juggling act. But with a strong support system and some guidance, single parents can handle the challenge.

The daily responsibilities of a single parent do not differ from those of a married couple, but single parents tasked with playing the roles of both mom and dad may understandably feel overwhelmed. Here are some challenges and coping mechanisms.

* Establish boundaries. Work and home life are both full-time responsibilities for single parents, and the line between work and family life often blurs for single parents wondering whether to put in more hours at the office or leave to tend to a family matter. Thanks to the financial strain of being a single parent, it’s easy to put work before family. While single parents do their best to provide financially for their families, such efforts should not come at the expense of being there for their kids and providing them with emotional support. Find a balance that works for you and do your best to stick to your boundaries. Work time and family time should be clearly distinguished.

* Pick your battles. You probably will not be able to micromanage every detail of your home and professional life, so recognize which things in life are worth fighting for and which things (kids’ hairstyles or clothing choices) may just be a phase. Let trivial matters slide, as there may be more important affairs that demand your attention.

* Find your support system. Many single parents juggle their responsibilities without much help from outside their households, but many also have a network of friends or family members on whom they can call if they need reinforcements. Figure out which person or people you can rely on to have your back should you need a few hours of alone time or someone to pick up a sick child while you are in the middle of a business meeting. Single parents often feel a kinship with other single parents, who may be willing to pool their resources to help one another when necessary.

* Explore other assistance. Single parents may be eligible to enroll in certain assistance programs to make their lives a little more manageable. For example, single parents may qualify for grants to return to school or low-cost housing and supplemental food allowances to ease some of the financial burden of raising a family on their own. Explore programs that may be available to you.

* Pay attention to your needs. Single parents should not overlook the importance of taking care of themselves. Though kids might be your top priority, that does not mean you should forgo routine health screenings or overlook the importance of getting your rest. When the juggling act gets especially difficult and stressful, create some time to relax and pamper yourself, which can have a profound impact on your mental and physical well-being.

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Lindsey Renuard is a blogger, YouTube beauty expert, and the Managing Editor of the Skiatook Journal.

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