As a single working mother, you have a lot of balls to keep in the air. In addition to being a mother, you are also a cook, taxi driver, cleaner, personal planner, washerwoman, social worker, personal shopper, concierge, babysitter, homework tutor, lice mother, waitress, gardener, psychologist, clothing repairer, mediator, party planner, facility service, swimming mother, bicycle repairman like those with automotive jobs, and in addition, you (often) also have a paid job with your employer.
It seems almost an impossible job to combine raising children alone with a busy job and not lose yourself in the process. As a single working mother of two teenagers, I know all about this.
Woman with balls!
Usually, you keep the balls all in the air but if there is a setback it can still happen that the balls come down one by one. Often it is very small setbacks that cause this: a broken car, a sick child, a vacation from your regular babysitter, and so on.
If you do not pay attention to the balls that come down one by one, you run the risk of going down completely. It is then difficult to get back up and get all the balls back into the air. Ultimately, this can even lead to long-term loss of work, which in turn is at the expense of your children. And that, of course, is not the intention of the woman with balls.
Over the years I have learned to keep all the balls up as a single working mother, even when things are not going well. I would like to share with you several useful tips and tricks:
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1. You’re not perfect and don’t have to be
If you set the bar too high in both your work and at home, you run the risk of running yourself past. Your bathroom does not have to look like it comes straight from the showroom and your children can also go to school with a combination that curses with each other, but which according to them is very beautiful. By worrying less about the little things, your life becomes just a little easier and more fun. And this ensures that you can also function better in your work.
2. Do work that energizes you
You spend a lot of hours of the week away from home for work. If your work costs you a lot of energy, this is at the expense of your family. Therefore, do work that you like and that gives you energy. See for yourself what that means for you. Is that the content of the work, your colleagues, or perhaps the perspective that the work offers you? You take this energy home with you. This makes your work a source of energy for you and your children.
3. A deal is a deal
As a single mother, you may be just a little less flexible for your employer. But that does not mean that you do not do your job well or do less work than your colleagues. By making clear agreements with your employer and your colleagues when it comes to your working hours, you do not compromise your private time with your children. It is about the content and quality of your work, not about the number of hours that you are extra present.
4. Social environment
A daycare center or childminder is a very good solution for daycare or after-school care. However, if your child is ill, he is unfortunately not welcome there. Therefore, make sure that you also have a social network in hand for when your child is ill or if you have to work overtime in the evening.
5. Think out of the box and be creative
To come up with creative solutions for the things you encounter, as a single mother you are forced to think out of the box. If you come home from work at 18.00, it is understandable that you no longer feel like cooking. See if you can cook “ahead” on the weekend and make sure you have the groceries for the whole week at home.
If you have time off and your children are away for a weekend, you tend to pick up all your overdue work in the house. Not bad at all, but make sure you also take time to relax and come to yourself. The way you do this is entirely up to you, but make sure you can keep your balls in the air on busy days.
Of course, these tips do not only apply to single mothers but all parents. Because it remains a challenge to keep the balls in the air during this time. And should several balls (threaten to) fall with you? Then ask for help from your employer. Together you will probably find a solution.