I’m a single mom. So, being unemployed is not an option. I have to work to provide for me and my daughter. I am thankful for a job that provides for us financially and is for the most part flexible. If I could be a stay at home mom I definitely would and am always striving toward that goal, however in the meantime I will sit at a desk for 7.5 hours. It can be exhausting working full time and being a single mom too, but I have found that the key is balance. If your life isn’t balanced you become out of sync emotionally, physically, and mentally. God didn’t make us to be stressed out and barely enjoying our family and life. It is important to take the time to balance life, work and family.
Ideas for Balancing Work and Home Life for Single Moms
There is no Balance if God Isn’t Your Main Priority
The first vital step in balancing your life is getting your priorities in order. Your first priority should always be God. If you put God on the side everything else will be out of whack. If you allow your job or even your children to come before God you are traveling down a dangerous road. Having a relationship with the Lord is first. Once you are in step with God the balancing becomes easier. Have a devoted time for prayer and worship. If you need to read the bible while on the subway, do it! If you have to wake up earlier and spend that quiet time with the Lord by all means set your alarm. Remember that God is your priority.
Be Honest with Your Employer
Most likely if you are a working mom it is because you need to work. Don’t feel guilty about it. But, put work in perspective to the rest of your life. Be honest with your boss about what you can and can’t do. If they expect you to work a lot of overtime and you have a four year old you need to pick up from daycare let them know this. Get clear on your job’s expectations and make your position clear to them also. Never sacrifice your kids for your job.
Explore Your Options
Research the flexibility that your position offers. Is there a possibility to telecommute? If there is discuss it with your boss. Don’t be afraid to ask! The number one reason women don’t get what they want is they don’t ask. Telecommuting is a great way to be home for your children while earning income. If you find yourself craving being an at home mom, explore other career opportunities that can make this a reality for you. Get creative and pray for guidance.
Leave Work at Work
Do not become a workaholic. I am not referring to just staying late or bringing work home. Mentally leave work at work. If you bring your frustrations home it is easily transferred to your home life. When you come home focus your attention on your family and if possible keep work in the office.
I can’t stress enough how important organization is to balance in your life. Take a good look at how your household is running, is it smooth or are you constantly running around like a mad woman? Sit down and think about the areas of your household that need to be organized and get to it. Here are some helpful organizational tips:
• Create a cleaning schedule. This allows you to focus on specific rooms on specific days of the week. For example, schedule a laundry day, choose a day to clean the bathroom, or to clean the family room. This schedule will keep you organized and eliminate wasted minutes.
• Develop a Chore List. Depending on the ages of your children assign age appropriate chores to everyone. Don’t take on the burden of doing everything, families should work together. Chores fosters a sense of responsibility in your children.
• Maintain a budget and keep your finances tidy. Money is a big stressor for single moms. Become savvy with your money. Create filing system for your bills and an excel sheet that you can record your payments. Deal with bills as soon as they arrive.
• Plan meals in advance. Invest in a crock pot and have dinner ready when you come home. Pick a day to plan your meals and go grocery shopping for the week ahead.
Make Family Time Mandatory
Children who have working moms do not have to be a statistic. Spend time with your kids, when you get home from work make it a point to sit around the dinner table and eat together. Take walks after dinner, read the bible together, make weekends your family time and don’t let work interfere. After God raising your children in God’s will is the most important job you have. If you need to take a sporadic day off to spend with your family do so and don’t feel bad about it.
Don’t forget to take care of you! Find some time to do the activities you enjoy. Take care of your health and work towards feeling good on the outside and inside. If you share custody or if the kids are over their dad’s house on the weekend take that time to pamper yourself.
Balancing it all isn’t easy for a single mom, and there will be times when something is neglected. Remember you aren’t perfect, and sometimes hard decisions have to be made when it comes to work and home life. Always do what is in your heart and what God is telling you to do and balance eventually becomes easier.
*First published in Moms of Faith