Helpful Tips for Working Divorced Single Parents
In the 1950s, the nuclear family consisted of mom and dad, their children, Dick and Jane, and their pets. Few families today bear any resemblance to those of seventy years ago.
Today, nearly 24 million kids live in a family with only one parent, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Some parents choose to remain single rather than marry, and others are divorced and have custody of their children. Adoption by a single parent is increasingly common for those who have not found their partner.
The research and philanthropy group breaks down the numbers further – among single-family households, about 15 million live in a mother-only home. In contrast, three to four million kids live in a father-only house.
White, Asian, and Pacific Islander kids are among the least likely demographic to live in a single-parent home, while Black and American Indian kids are more likely to fit this demographic. Latino families represent about 40% of kids living in single-parent families.
Regardless of the race or gender of their parent, most of these kids live in a household where the single parent must work to avoid joining the ranks of the 30% of single-parent families who live in poverty.
Making Single Parenting Work
Being a single mom or dad means you have responsibility for your children all day and night. In order to work, childcare will become a necessity. Some parents opt for daycare outside the home, while others, who can afford it, may choose a stay-at-home nanny for their children.
Single parents may qualify for grants for low-cost housing and food allowances or to return to school. Make sure you explore programs that may be available in your area.
Another option is working for a company that offers on-site daycare for employees. Single parents may:
- Find a Parent-Friendly Company – This type of company prioritizes parenting, and the rewards extend to the parent and child and the company by producing a happier worker. For many, this is ideal because you can check in with your youngster during the day.
- Organize – Not everything will get done, so list your priorities. Maybe a clean home isn’t as crucial as preparing wholesome food for your children. Realize you can’t do everything and take care of your own health at the same time. Being organized makes you feel more in control and prepared for the day ahead.
- Delivered Groceries – If you are organized enough to know what you want to feed your family in the upcoming week, a grocery delivery service saves time shopping. You can even take advantage of items on sale by shopping online—one more item to cross off your to-do list daily.
- Moms/ Dads Group – You are not alone in this journey, and you can safely assume other single parents are trying to be the best parents they can be. Find these folks through online groups or by asking your neighbors. Maybe there are other single parents with kids in the same afterschool team whom you can rely on to carpool. In exchange, you will take their children to the same event another day.
There is a great sense of relief when you can call on a neighbor to step in if you are late or stuck in traffic.
Family and friends should round out the support group as you juggle the responsibilities of life. You can bet on it that children will get sick and need to be picked up while you are at work. Make sure there are others whom you can count on for support.
You may also rely on your older children or neighborhood teenagers to help you with chores. They will appreciate making some money and will grow from the responsibility.
Finally, to be successful as a single parent, establishing and sticking to boundaries will serve as a guide when the requirements of home and work clash.
Your Florida Family Lawyer
Pensacola-based Crystal Collins Spencer, Attorney at Law, is experienced in all phases of divorce, settlements, and negotiating the most favorable financial outcome for your new life as a single parent. She practices in the Florida Gulf Coast from Pensacola to Sandestin, and Fort Walton Beach, and is available for a conversation about your future at (850) 795-4910.
Annie E. Casey Foundation