Navigating work and family can be difficult for anyone. It can be especially hard for single parents who have to do everything on their own. Solo parenting advocate Marika Lindholm is the creator of ESME.com (Empowering Solo Moms Everywhere). She shared some strategies for balancing work responsibilities with family life in the Harvard Business Review. They’re tips that all parents can use. Here are the three that we think are especially helpful.
Capitalizing on Stolen Moments – Time is a solo parents’ enemy — there aren’t enough hours in a day. Because of this, solo parents must identify where they can save time and prioritize what’s most important. They know they are not able to do it all and that something has to give, whether it’s a messy house, an extra hour of screen time for the kids, a shortened dog walk, or take-out for dinner (none of which impact their family’s well-being). Aware that time is a precious commodity, solo parents take advantage of small moments to connect with their children, fulfill their work responsibilities, and make the most out of their time by squeezing work and personal tasks into commutes, sports practices, waiting rooms, and odd hours.
Arranging Atypical Work Schedules –
Although not all solo parents have to sacrifice higher pay and upward mobility to be more available to their children, they may opt for night shifts, flex time, and part-time work. Increasingly, organizations understand that flexibility results in a more dedicated workforce, and thus today’s solo parents, more than ever, are able to create schedules around their family’s needs.
Sometimes such choices can mean creating new career paths. Working from home (a requirement for most of us during the Covid-19 pandemic) is another strategy that solo parents employ to ease the daily juggle — whether that’s a few times a week or a fully remote position.
Building Pragmatic Support Networks –
In-person and virtual networking are also critical for solo parents. The most impactful networks are a blend of close connections and people you don’t know that well: Friends and family offer meaningful bonds, while acquaintances give you access to information you might not get from your inner circle. A close-knit group of parents might know all the same babysitters and after-school programs, while those outside your circle may know about resources you wouldn’t otherwise hear about, such as a new or little-known program in a neighboring town. The same is true for Facebook and other online support groups. The more varied the network, the more diverse information you have access to.
Your community and network can also alleviate some of the stress of daily meals and errands. A once-a-week potluck not only takes the burden off dinner that night but also allows for connection and support. Food exchanges with friends solves the interminable question, “What’s for dinner?” Teaming up with another parent while shopping, running errands, or just spending time at the playground is another effective strategy. Solo mom Chaya Beyla suggests, “Asking a friend to ride around with you while you run errands provides socialization and someone to wait in the car with your sleeping toddler while you rush into the store, bank, or post office.” You can also set up clothing swaps, childcare, and carpooling in your network.
VersaTel Solutions has a team of experts that can take time-consuming tasks off your plate. Think of what you could do with the time we can save you. Let us help you get your work-life balance where you’d like it to be. Whether you need bookkeeping, administrative or HR help, we have a package that can fit your needs. Just reach out to us, and we’ll see how we can help.