This Is What You Need As a Single Parent Working From Home
Being a single parent is no joke. Being a single parent working from home with kids is the toughest job. It’s an understatement that you are juggling two jobs. On good days, you manage to do it all and get your minimum required 6 hours of sleep. On bad days, you are late on virtually everything that you wanted to do with a kid who refuses to go to bed.
You are often working through sickness while taking care of your sick kids. At the same time, you alternate between working for a few hours, cleaning for a few hours, and sleeping for a few hours while you are sick. You often forget what day it is until the rent is due at the end of the month. Day and night gets blurred because you feel like you are working all the time.
I often read productivity articles and think that “You must be joking.” I did all that when I was working. All of that works when you don’t have too much on your plate. When you have too much on your plate constantly as a single parent working from home, then you are simply living in war.
You are fighting with yourself to be your best self, to give your best self to everyone.
Do I love being a single parent? 80% of the time I love the life that I have. It’s the other 20% of the time when I feel down. One look at my kid who does something incredible during that 20% of the time makes me feel better.
Often, during that 20 % of the percent of time, I wish I had more money, more childcare, more time, a nice house, more friends and family. But, ultimately, what lifts me is none of these things.
Beverage of your choice
This is about control. You can’t control most parts of your day. However, that water bottle, what you have in one of your hands while juggling tasks with the other, that is controllable. For me, this beverage of choice is coffee. I long replaced my fruit infused water for plain old fashioned water. Any concoction that takes more than 1 minute to make is not worth my time. Frequently, I’m downing 3 cups of coffee just to have enough of a “lift” to persevere the sleep deprivation.
Without adult interaction for most of the day, it can be easy to overthink all your problems. With your child interrupting your set schedule to get your work done most days, you are constantly feeling “not enough”. You are always rushing to get things done.
The luxury of “letting my writing sit” is something that I have never been able to accomplish. Would I love to hand in work early one of these days? Yes, of course. When I was working I was deemed that “conscientious coworker”. Now, I’m just a flustered mom trying to pay bills. When you are in war, you must have a winning mindset. Otherwise, all is lost before it begins. If my mindset slips, I just push all my work aside and sleep. Proper sleep is really what pays the bills.
I lucked out in that department. Because of the skills that I had from my previous career, the abundance of life experiences, and the resources I have at my disposal (internet, stable housing, car, etc..), I’m able to start at jobs that had growth potential. These jobs allow me to break my cycle of poverty and help me keep my optimistic mindset. Without the jobs that will eventually pay a sustainable level of income, I’d probably lose myself in the process.
Nurture & Understanding
One of the issues with being a single parent working from home is that you are often misunderstood by others. They question your choice of staying at home. They question your choice of being a single parent. They also question your choice as a parent. Somehow, our society doesn’t like when one person decides something. It must be decided by a family — implying multiple people.
Nurturing and understanding are far and few in between. When I receive that from strangers, employers, and friends, I’m immensely grateful. As a single parent working from home, kindness, non-judgment is what I need on most days. If I don’t receive this externally, I am often giving this to myself. I forgive myself quickly for missed deadlines, work that’s not up to par or dishes that are not done.
As a single parent working from home, time is not on my side. Often, the difficulty in my war on all fronts is the lack of time. As I am trying to squeeze another hour into my workday by waking up early, I’m aware that I am performing magic tricks at the expense of my health. Every day, I don’t pray for material goods, I pray for more time. I want to spend more time on my projects. I want to spend more time with my son. I also want to spend more time working. Most of all, I want to spend more time taking care of myself.
Are you a single parent working from home?
Do you ever feel like you need miracles just to make it through your day?
I hear you. I may not be able to give you miracles.
But, I can give you some of my time, some understanding, and a cup of coffee to help you get you through your day.
Hang in there.
It’s only a matter of time before you will be seen, heard, and appreciated.
What are you waiting for?
About the Author
Jun Wu is a Content Writer for Technology, AI, Data Science, Psychology, and Parenting. She has a background in programming and statistics. On her spare time, she writes poetry and blogs on her website.