Challenges faced by single working moms

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Parenting is not easy and for single parent it is more of a challenge. Children of single parents are in no way inferior to children having both the parents. Life of a worlink mother who is single is quite challenging. However, there are lot of working mothers who are managing their children and homes successfully.

Single motherhood comes with a unique set of emotional challenges that can, at times, feel overwhelming and are best understood by women who share them. Countless other moms grapple with exactly the same issues – from self-doubt and anxiety over money to the stress of making decisions alone – and they've come up with some creative solutions that may work for you too.

Raising a family is difficult enough. But it's even more difficult for single parents struggling to make ends meet. They don't need more obstacles. They need more opportunities. There are various dilemmas which single working mothers may face while raising their children single headedly. Sometimes it seems all too much for one person to handle, so then you need to make the time for yourself.

For eg., if you spend every waking minute either at work in the office or at work in the home, you will feel stale and fatigued.  In that case, you can organise some baby sitting and get out, even for short spells, to do something you enjoy, be it a short walk or a visit to the library.  If you can, put your children to bed slightly earlier. You will get some time in the evenings.

You may, for the moment, be your own sounding board. Talk to your friends. Discuss with them your apprehensions and problems. Use other mothers as your sounding board. Sometimes your friends can be the best family you have. Rest assured that this period of your life will not last forever.

ONE THIRD of families in the USA today, are headed up by a single parent (both male and female representatives). Personal circumstance, divorce, abandonment, even death, leaves the main custodial, remaining parent having to cope with all the care-giving, nurturing, role-modeling, challenges, rewards, obstacles and joys meant for a partnership of TWO!

It can be overwhelming and wonderful, nightmarish and extremely tough – all at once. Here are just some of the major, initial challenges most single parents face :

  • Coping with loss (of a partner, lover, friend and fellow-parent)
  • Assuming additional roles and responsibilities (being everything to everyone)
  • Enabling and Adjusting to the new role and circumstances
  • Dealing and coping with own emotions and changed condition
  • Battling societal prejudice and stigma of single-parent homes and care-giving
  • Adequate care and fostering the needs of the children
  • Maintaining self-confidence and low self-esteem
  • Balancing effective parenting with career (work/home) life

Juggling kids' schedules and work demands is challenging enough when you're the only parent in the house, your job is that much harder. Despite the challenges, single parents are often some of the most committed employees because they aren't just the major breadwinners in the house, but the only breadwinners.

Employers and HR can help facilitate parenting logistics. By helping make single parents' lives calmer and easier, they can become more productive workers. Few things that would benefit your single parent employees as they manage the chaos of work and home better:

  • Offering a place to bring a child who is too sick with a cold to go to school and yet too young to stay home alone would relieve one of the biggest challenges for working single parents. Having backup care services as an employee benefit  gives employees peace of mind and lets them get on with work. 
  • Companies and HR need to start with training their managers on handling workplace issues, If managers have some understanding of the issues single parent employees face, they will be able to have an open conversation with employees when something comes up.
  • Offering more work-life programs is beneficial. Having those programs or classes during a lunch hour and not after work (when child care can be a problem) is even better. Make sure your work-life programs address these needs. Ask your single parent employees about the stressors they face and then develop programs to help.
  • Helping single parents find support in creative ways to get that extra help and not overlook that single and married parents share the same challenges. A parenting co-op through colleagues, where parents trade hours for hours, offers a reliable solution for all parents. The idea can even extend to rides for employees who live in the same area.
  • Workplace flexibility that offers the chance to work from home or to have an alternative schedule (maybe four 10-hour days, for example) helps single parents juggle all their commitments. If employees find the workplace unfriendly to their needs, they'll likely look somewhere else for a job.

Single mothers are probably the strongest people in the world, not only because they raise children on their own, but also because they have to find a way to single-handedly provide for the family. They have to find happiness for themselves and their children as well.

Just because you have the responsibility of raising your children on your own, does not mean that you should let it bog you down. In order to make life easier and more comfortable for yourself and your children, all you have to do is find the best way to deal with challenges, make quick (but not impulsive) decisions and act on them. For a single mother, just like any mother, the top priority is raising her kids well.

Few strategies that can help you right away as a single parent on this road/path/journey ahead:

  • Learn to speak directly WITH your children NOT at them
  • Loving, consistent discipline with tough rules that matter and are the same day-to-day, providing security in uncertainty are essential – communicate and execute them well in all that you do and attempt.
  • Clear communication and firm decision-making will lead the way for and in your new family unit.
  • Multi-tasking and managing many different things, roles and responsibilities all by yourself and sometimes all at once too! WORK SMART.
  • Being a committed parent EVERY MOMENT, taking all responsibility for attention and care of their children.
  • YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GO/TRY IT ALONE! Use and call on support and reaching out to others will keep you sane.

Children need the love and support of their mothers more if they do not have a father figure in their lives. Single motherhood is demanding but every problem has a solution, and with these pointers, surely you will make a happy single mother with a lot of joys to look forward to.


About Ritika Srivastava

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