25 Apr Job tips for single parents
There’s no doubt being a single parent is one of the toughest jobs you can have. With more than 14 million single parents in the U.S., 80.6 percent of whom are mothers, being a single parent is fairly common.
Being a parent is one of the most exciting and meaningful journeys you can have in life, but for single parents, finding ways to balance providing for your children and finding time to do everything else in life is tricky. The demands of being a parent, yet alone a single parent, can seem endless.
Although it’s easy to be overwhelmed, keep the following in mind to try to find balance and keep your sanity during your hectic, but beautiful, journey as a working single parent:
1. Find jobs with work hours you can handle
When you’re a single parent, your working hours are a big deal. You may find some hours or shifts just won’t work with your schedule. Try to confirm the working hours for each position as soon as possible when you apply for a job so you can arrange your childcare accordingly, or at least determine whether you can take the job.
You’ll also need to take into consideration how long your commute will be and how it will impact your childcare arrangements. Keep a look out for employers with benefits such as child care vouchers. Finding positions with flexible working arrangements are often great finds for single parents who need occasional time off to pick sick kids up from work.
2. It’s okay to be honest about your situation in an interview
Your employer isn’t allowed to ask if you have children during an interview, but sometimes being honest about your needs as a single parent gives both you and your potential employer the ability to honestly assess if the job is doable for you.
Admitting you’re a single parent to a potential employer parent can be uncomfortable, since you don’t want your employee to dismiss overlook you for a position because of your parental responsibilities, but being upfront about your childcare responsibilities can save you and your employer time determining if the job is the right fit for you.
3. Always have a back-up plan
Crises don’t care about your job needs. When you’re facing a deadline at work, life has a way of creating barriers, whether your car breaks down, your babysitter unexpectedly cancels or you catch the the latest virus going around your child’s class.
Minor disasters happen, so instead of freaking out, prepare ahead of time so you have have a list of people you can call on handy. Keep it somewhere visible and consider giving a copy of this list to your family, friends and child caregivers to avoid an emergency.
4. Find your social niche
Between all of your obligations, it’s easy to feel isolated from your friends, family, neighbors and other members of your community as a single parent. It can be lonely, and make your life as a single parent that much more difficult when you need a helping hand. Even though you’re most likely pressed for time, it’s important for you to make room in your busy schedule to meet others and join any parent group organizations or places of worship your schedule allows. There are a variety of programs that connect single parent families. For instance, Parents for Partners, has chapters in most states and provides education, social activities and companionship.
5. Asking for help is okay
Relying on yourself for all the needs of your family all the time simply isn’t realistic. Asking for help can be embarrassing, but remember you’re doing it for the well-being of your child, not out of weakness. And, of course, don’t be afraid to accept assistance from friends and family members.
Having to juggle your work obligations with your family life is a challenge, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Being a single parent can make finding a job that fits with your childcare needs more difficult, but with extra preparation, a little help from those close to you and carefully searching for a position that works with your children’s needs, you can find a job that provides your family.