Single, working mothers are some of the strongest people in the world. The ability to make money, provide safety for your children, and do it all with little help is truly an amazing sight to behold. The problem is that it can be a bit too much to handle at times and assistance may be required.
Luckily, you are not the first single, working mother and you won’t be the last, and those who have come before you have devised great ideas and tips that can help you mitigate the stress you have with all of these components on your plate. Let’s talk about some great tips that can get you on the right track, including working out flexible schedules, making a budget so you know what you can afford, a few places you can go for help, and more.
1. Make a Budget
As a single parent with only one income, there may be times when money is tighter than you may like, and there is nothing to be ashamed of in that regard. If you struggle to make ends meet, then a budget could provide some clarity. Account for all of the income you have each month and then take a long moment to consider all of the money that you spend and which bills you can erase. For instance, do you find yourself going out for coffee and buying your lunch at restaurants a lot? If so, maybe you can make coffee at home and pack a lunch each day and see how much that saves you.
If you need the motivation to create a budget, consider setting a financial goal that you would like to reach in the future. That could be having a certain dollar amount saved up by summer or putting enough in the bank for a semester at school or a vacation with the kids. By managing your money, you may see that you have more to spare than you thought.
2. Ask for a Flexible Schedule
To be a successful working mother, a work-life balance is essential. Mornings can be especially exhausting as you feed the kids, get them ready for school, and also try to perform your job all at once. The stress from doing too much can be unrelenting, so ask your employer if you can work a flexible schedule. Since they know you will get your work done, request to work a later shift each day. Go to management with a proposed schedule and you have a better chance of getting the approval.
If you are not the outgoing type then it may be daunting to speak to management, but understand that flexible schedules are becoming more of a norm these days. There are many inspiring stories of single mothers approaching schools and working out an agreement where they can learn from home or use their own equipment and get the degree they deserve. Go to the powers that be and make your case and you never know what you can do.
3. Try a Job As a Freelancer
If your current job doesn’t offer the flexibility you need, then you can also try a freelance career. Think about what you are good at and start building a business. A freelancer can be a writer, an online tutor, translator, accountant, coder, or many other options. This freelance job will allow you to work on your own time and potentially avoid the need to drive to work so you can stay home with the kids.
At first, it may be tough to find clients, but over time, you can make good money freelancing by accepting as many jobs as you can when you get started and taking the time to build relationships and show off your work so they come back to you time and time again. Once you are comfortable, you can ask those clients for referrals and your business can continue to grow from there.
4. Remember Self-Care
When you do so much at a time, it can really take a toll on your mental well-being, but you need to do what you can to keep your health in check. The trick is to fit in some “you-time” whenever you get a chance. That could be when the children are napping or between the time when the kids go to school and you go to work.
Mix in activities that provide exercise and a clear mind like taking a short walk or practicing yoga. If you can’t get out of the house then just do activities that you enjoy, whether it is reading your favorite book or magazine or trying a new recipe. Then, of course, you can do activities with the youngsters that keep you fit, such as taking hikes or enjoying a swim.
5. Get Help When You Can
Remember that you are not alone. If you ever need help managing the kids, work, and school, then you have a network of like-minded people who can help. Don’t be afraid to go to family or search online for a single mom’s group in your town. Often, people in these groups can step in and help babysit one night or run an errand if you don’t have time.
If you are running low on options, there are also government programs that you can look into for the help you need. Research grants for single mothers or get assistance with groceries through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The life of a single, working mother is not always an easy one, but the reward of making it through and raising great kids is without comparison. If you find yourself struggling, try the tips above and you will get through the rough patches easier than you think.