Saturday, February 23, 2013

Single parents and work/school

I had a hard time coming up with a title for this one.  I know I am technically not a single parent, but at the same time I am.  Even tho I am married, I face a lot of the same struggles as single parents.  I cover one of them in this post.  I will discuss others in the future.

As a *single mom* I have had a hard time balancing work/school and family.  For the first few years of my son’s life we had a babysitter, but after I finished college those resources dried up.  For a while he was going to his grandparents (my in-laws) every weekend.  I loved that because he got to see his grandparents and I got to go to work.  After about a year and a half of this game, my son decided it was no longer a good idea and refused to go with his grandparents.  I forced him to go a few times but finaly decided I couldn’t stand to watch him freak out every Friday night.  He has been in school since September so I have about 2 hours without him every day.  I am looking forward to full days starting in the fall!

The few hours I do get to myself are usually spent cleaning the house.  As the weather warms up I hope to spend that time, at least some of it, at work.  I am lucky enough to have a job where I get to make my own hours and I can bring my son along if I have to.  It also helps that he is easily entertained and I can leave him pretty well unattended while I am working.  Today, for instance, was like most Saturdays.  I had to drive an hour south to work with a pair of mustangs I am training.  My son has to tag along almost every time, so I make sure to bring the portable dvd player and a few movies for him.  On most Saturdays he stays occupied the entire 2 hours I am working, but every so often he gets bored and come to “help me out” as I finish.  I love that he has an interest in horses but it is hard to work and keep an eye on him at the same time.  At home we have tons of things to keep him busy, but on the road it is a completely different story.  Hopefully soon we will have our own barn and I can spend a lot more time working from home, but until then he will have to continue traveling with me.

So for all you single parents, and those of us *single parents*, I have a few tips for balancing work/school and family. 
-          Use every resource at your disposal.  These could include neighbors, family, daycare centers, and play groups. 
-          Look for jobs with flexible hours.  Even better, try to find a job where you can work from home or make your own hours.  Direct Sales companies are fantastic if you want to work and still be with your kids as often as possible.
-          Look for schools that work around your schedule.  Online classes can be very helpful!
-          Keep a *bag of tricks* packed for the kids at all times.  Things I always put in my bag include snacks, books, paper, crayons, and a few quiet toys.
-          If someone offers to babysit, say yes!  Last weekend my son went to a sledding party while I was at work.  He had a blast and I didn’t have to worry about him when I was worrying about the horses.

If anyone has any other suggestions, feel free to ass them in the comments! 

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