How to Balance Work as A Single Parent
For single parents, it is especially difficult to find a good balance between work life and family life at home. In many cases, single parents must fill the roles of both parents by working and keeping up with the home. Trying to deal with the unexpected twists that life adds at home can be overwhelming without some good habits to balance family and work.
Balance a Schedule
For single parents, finding balance in a daily home and work schedule requires great organization. It helps to balance each category individually. For example, balance family commitments first. Next, balance social commitments. Balance any other tasks or obligations. While doing this, keep work hours in mind. Finding the right family and work balance may mean giving up some non-essential activities. Most single parents choose to give up their own social activities in favor of family time. For individual well-being, it is helpful for single parents to maintain at least one hobby or social activity away from the family and home. Be sure to enter schedule details in an app that merges work and family or home calendars.
Create Clear Boundaries
Experts encourage single parents to start setting boundaries by changing their mindset. For example, it is better to focus only on work tasks at work. At home, focus only on work that relates to the home and family issues or family activities. Do not think about work issues during family time, and do not dwell on family problems at work. This can be difficult and takes time to achieve. However, it can help limit stress and promote balance.
Communicate with Managers
In many cases, single parents must leave work early, have certain days off or be able to go home on short notice. For example, a parent may need to go pick up a sick child from school and take the kid home. It is important to let managers know about these issues to ensure that they provide enough flexibility to balance family obligations. Although many people try to keep their family lives hidden from their bosses, this is one exception that may be beneficial. Some single parents find out that their company has extra family benefits for them. For example, there may be reduced-rate childcare costs or flexible scheduling options. Single parents may also be able to work some days at home.
Make Expectations Clear
This idea ties in with the previous point. However, it is mostly applicable for new jobs and promotions. Single parents must ensure that new employers or supervisors understand their limitations and expectations. For example, if maintaining balance means no overnight stays away from home for a parent, that individual should communicate that limitation to the employer. Promotions and new jobs come with obligations, and it is important for single parents to ensure that those do not interfere with their established balance between work and family.
This is one of the most critical habits for single parents to develop. It is natural for single parents to want to work alone or handle everything by themselves. This can lead to burnout at home and can create stress for other family members. Accept help at home or with the kids from other family members, friends or a partner. This will help create a healthier habit of accepting help at work. For example, single parents who supervise others in their jobs may be less likely to delegate tasks. They may inadvertently overwork themselves when they do not accept help at home or with their family obligations. When single parents accept help at home, this creates a better balance and can lighten the load at work.
Be a Hard Worker
In many jobs, single parents are scrutinized. This scrutiny makes it easier for employers to focus on times when single parents have family problems at home, go home early or miss deadlines. As single parents strive for balance, employers may fail to notice that the balance is as good as it can be when something goes wrong. This constant endeavor to find balance means that single parents must conscientiously try to be hard workers every day. Find a routine to balance work tasks efficiently.
By developing these habits, single parents may find other creative ways to balance work duties and family obligations at home. Single parents who find and maintain that balance are more likely to see their kids happier at home.