Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WORK-LIFE BALANCE / JAN. 25, 2015
version 5, draft 5

How to Divide Your Time Between Work and Personal Life as a Single Parent

life work balance
istock

Balancing work and personal life can be challenging, and never more so than if you are a single parent. Maintaining a sensible divide between work and home life can feel impossible, with the varied demands of your employer and your family squeezing your precious time.

There is no simple solution to balancing your work and personal life as a working parent, but rather each individual family circumstance needs a unique approach to make things as simple possible, in a way that works for you. If you’re looking for ways to strike the right balance for you, then some of the ideas below might help.

1. Network

Building a strong network is crucial for all new, or newly single, parents. It can be pretty daunting as an idea, especially if the people in your regular social circle are not parents themselves, but getting to know other families locally can be a lifesaver. Get to parent and baby groups if you can, try to be involved in the school PTA, and even without being a regular feature at the school gates, you can quickly build relationships with other parents in your area.

Having a local network can help with simple questions, but can also allow you to plan – as far as possible – for the odd emergency. Have the contact numbers of local friends who could help you out easily available, for if things go wrong, and don’t be afraid to accept help when you need it.

2. Ask for help

At work we tend to be all so busy that we might not even notice when someone close to us needs some extra support or flexibility. Help your boss and colleagues understand your needs. If you need some short-term support, like a slight tweak to your shift pattern to allow you to settle your child in a new school, then ask – and don’t forget to say thanks when they cover for you!

Working parents often feel under pressure (not least from themselves) to ’pull their weight’ at work, sharing additional overtime or workload with other colleagues. It can be tricky to fit in overtime or changes to regular working patterns as a single parent, but be as flexible as possible, and make sure you know and demonstrate your worth in work to keep your boss and colleagues on your side for the times you need extra support. Being a working parent can bring you a whole range of unique advantages, such as greater emotional intelligence, influencing skills, and a massive head start in your organising abilities – don’t underestimate this!

3. Know your rights

In the UK, working families have certain additional rights, such as the legal entitlement to unpaid parental leave, and you should also not be discriminated against because of your family situation. Parental leave gives you the opportunity to take up to four weeks a year additional leave from work to look after your child under the age of five, up to a maximum of eighteen weeks per child, and can be a useful way to help settle your family into new arrangements, or make time to cover school holidays when childcare might be difficult to find.

If you are at all concerned by anything in the way you are being treated in work, then take professional advice form ACAS or the Citizens Advice Bureau.

4. Find the organising hacks that work for you

As a parent, you are going to be an organising guru anyway – but don’t be afraid to use whatever shortcuts you can, ensuring they balance out any additional cost. Consider using online grocery shopping, hiring a cleaner, and getting whatever home ’admin’ work you can manage done in your lunch breaks to give you more time free at home. This will help you relax more when you do – eventually – have free time.

5. Learn to switch off

Have a mental divide so that you can leave work at work, and enjoy your time at home also. You might benefit from some set routines, such as writing your ’to do’ list for the next day on the way home, listening to relaxing music on your commute, or taking up a hobby which allows you to switch off for a while. Remember – it’s not a luxury – you have to look after yourself so you are well enough to look after others.

And finally; go easy on yourself. Whatever happens, you’re not alone. Balancing work and life is difficult for every parent – more people than you might think will understand, and be willing to support you when you need it.

Get our FREE eBook!
'6 Steps to Landing Your Next Job'

LEAVE A COMMENT

0 comments

 

RELATED ARTICLES

mother and daugther
WORK-LIFE BALANCE / OCT 30, 2015

They used to say it takes an entire village to raise a child. These days it’s rare to find even two people raising children. Most of us have to do it all on our own. We...

young mother with her adorable baby girl working
WORK-LIFE BALANCE / MAY 12, 2016

Are you a single mom? How well do you think you manage your work life balance? What do you think could be improved? Check out these tips to find out ! The more time you...

work life balance
WORK-LIFE BALANCE / OCT 19, 2014

It’s a hard-knock-life. Bills need to be paid and mouths need to be fed. So that’s what work is for, right? Of course… obviously. We need the money it recompenses us with...

pencil vs camera
WORK-LIFE BALANCE / SEP 17, 2015

It can seem impossible to stop a personal crisis from negatively influencing your work life. Trying to concentrate on work will be nearly impossible. You just got the...

Woman Throwing Bucket of  Water
WORK-LIFE BALANCE / AUG 12, 2015

When your personal life is a mess, it can be extremely difficult to stay motivated to go to work each day and give one hundred percent effort. Your mind is so wrapped up...

How to Avoid Putting Work Ahead of your Personal Life
WORK-LIFE BALANCE / OCT 18, 2014

In today’s asphalt jungle, it seems people are trying to outcompete as to who is working more hours, who is more stressed out and who has a better employment position...

Get our FREE eBook!
'6 Steps to Landing Your Next Job'
G up arrow