Parenting: it’s the hardest job of all, yet it doesn’t include a paycheck. And as a single mom, you’re likely facing even more energy-sapping challenges. Whatever the reason for your newly single parent status, adjusting can be difficult. You’re responsible for balancing the emotional and financial needs of your family — while loving and teaching your kids and moving forward in your career and personal life. Don’t be distressed. You’re not the only one, and we are here to help. In an effort to start a new routine, follow these money-saving and career building tips:
Make a Road Map for Your New Life
On top of a new house and schedule to new responsibilities, trials and experiences, some newly single moms may find themselves entering the workforce at an expected time in their lives. In these cases, whether you were a full-time, stay-at-home mom or only worked part-time from home, job searching and working 40 office hours a week can seem daunting. For single moms, the internet is a good place to look for work, even if you don’t have a degree or haven’t worked in your field for a while. Now that, children are involved it’ll take serious planning and praying to make the transition smooth. If you’re co-parenting with an ex-spouse, communication and organization is key.
Consider Your Options
Do you need to go back to school in order to manage your new role as a single parent? Or do you just need a refresher on entering the work force? If you’ve been out of the field for a while, consider what position or employer would best suit your needs. According to Forbes.com, because of hours and pay, sales positions, education, public relations, real estate and healthcare are among the best jobs for single parents. If you were already working full-time, talk to your employer about your situation and discuss flexibility and expectations.
Seek and Accept Support
No one expects you to do everything on your own. Build a network of family and friends who can help with childcare, carpooling and around the house. While it may be a relative or neighbor who handles home repairs, it could be the parents of your children’s friends who help with babysitting and rides. And don’t just rely on them just for favors — as parents, everyone needs a community of support. Plan fun activities with these people and make time for emotional pick-me-ups.
Form or Join a Childcare Co-Op
To save money on babysitting and to meet and make friends with local families, form or join a childcare co-op. You can earn a specific number of points in exchange for each hour spent babysitting, which can be redeemed later when you need another member to babysit for you. This way you won’t spend time or money interviewing babysitters or paying teens to watch your kids. Instead, your children will make friends, and you can help other parents while they’re helping you.
Control Spending, Have Fun
As a single parent, money can be an issue. Even if, you’re handling the everyday bills, you may feel overwhelmed with the prospect of paying for college or other future events in your children’s lives. Though money may be tight, still plan to have fun together. Agree to give up certain activities so you can save together for others. Teach your children the importance of budgeting, and don’t make it sound negative. If children associate budgeting with negative feelings and memories, they won’t have a positive experience in the future when they make and manage their own money. PracticalMoneySkills.com is a great resource for tips on budgeting, saving and dealing with debt.
Robin is a freelance writer and editor in Ohio.