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Doing the Work of Two: Raising Kids and Working a Job

Even though you may feel like you're constantly choosing work over being with your kids, remember that you're giving them a positive image of hard work, independence and commitment. Moreover, staying in the work force now will help secure employment after the kids have left home.
A mom rubs her forehead in frustration as her kids fight in the background.

When you're a single mom, you're playing a dual role. You are responsible for being the mom and the dad in your child's life. This means that in addition to being the at-home parent, you're also the breadwinner. Because you're the one earning the paycheck, chances are you have to leave your kids to work your job. This is where things get difficult, especially if you have very young children or work odd hours.

To put things in perspective, just about every mom in the world, regardless of whether they are stay-at-home moms or working moms, have a measure of "mom guilt." It's your heart's desire to do what's best for your kids and sometimes that means choosing one "best" over another. Working doesn't make you any less of a wonderful, loving mother. Staying positive about your situation is important. Here are some things to think about:

Your Kids are Seeing You Set an Example of Hard Work

If you struggle with guilt over leaving your children so you can work a job, don't allow yourself to complain about it, especially in front of them. Always put a positive spin on the fact that you work. Instill in your kids the value of working hard, letting your example reinforce that principle. Try to avoid feeling guilty, instead allowing yourself to feel good about being able to provide for your kids. It's a sacrifice, but if you're strong enough to juggle working and being a mom, don't punish yourself. It may not be ideal, but you should celebrate your ability to do both.

Working is Preferable to Poverty

Chances are, your child support checks aren't enough to cover the bulk of your monthly expenses. That's probably the main reason why you have to work and juggle the parenting, too. However, if you didn't work, you would be dependent on other means for your support. While that may be necessary for a season, it's not ideal in the long-term because there are always expectations put on you when you're relying on others for support. Think about this: every little bit of income you earn helps you be a little more independent. Millions of Americans are out of work and are struggling to put food on the table. Even though it feels like a burden to work and parent by yourself, you're one of the lucky ones.

You're Sharpening Your Skills and Experience

You can't help that you're a single parent juggling a job and full-time parenting; however, you won't have kids at home forever. Once their kids are grown, many women decide to return to the workforce only to find that their skills and education are almost irrelevant. Although you may not be in a perfect situation balancing it all by yourself, your kids will eventually grow up and leave home. Working a job while they're young will keep you in the workplace, learning skills and gaining valuable experience that will pay off in the long run.

It's not an easy life being a single working mom. But since that's the situation you're in, you'll have to make the best of it. Remember that you're not alone and this season in your life won't last forever. In the meantime, know that the sacrifices you're making for your kids make you a great mom, not a bad one.

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