Balancing full-time work with daily home duties is a challenge for most single mothers today. Imagine adding higher education into the equation. Many single mothers struggle when it comes to balancing their time between work, home, and school. I am a single mother of three children ages 12, 10, and 3. As a single mother, I have finished two Master’s Degrees and I am currently working on a Doctorate. Balancing work, school, and home was a struggle in the beginning; however, over time I learned how to manage by daily schedule. There are several things single mothers can do to help alleviate some of those struggles.
Develop good time management skills. Prior to the beginning of your work week, write down a weekly to-do list. It is important that you write down everything that has to be done during that week. Once you complete the full list, break the list down by the day. Rank the items on the list by placing the most important item at the top of your list. In your list, create time for the unexpected. We cannot predict the type of day we will have, especially if we have small children. For example, I am a full time college instructor. I teach courses on-line and face-to-face. I am also a full-time doctoral learner. I have to prepare lesson plans, grade work, and complete my own school work. On my to-do list, I place my items in categories and establish deadlines for each of the items. I rank the items based on their importance and sort the items by the day. My busiest day of the week is Sunday.
Establish a set time for study. We all know that children require attention and it is extremely difficult to study while the children are awake. If you are a morning person, set aside at least two hours before you have to wake your children up for school. If you are a night person, set those two hours aside after your children go to bed. I am a morning person; therefore, my day normally begins at 5:00 a.m.
Set aside some “me time”. “Me time” is time for yourself; you have to have it! Find something that you enjoy doing and make it a priority to enjoy yourself at least once a week. My “me time” consists of dancing. Every Friday or Saturday night, I make it a priority to go dancing. I find when I dance, it takes my mind off of my daily trials and tribulations. As a matter of fact, dancing is on my to-do list!
Embrace your support systems. We all have support systems: friends, family, significant others, you name it. Don’t be afraid to ask for a little assistance. My grandmother was a key player when it came to my education. When I worked on my Master’s Degree, my grandmother watched my children so I could complete my studies. She was a life saver.
Find a way to incorporate some of these things into your life. We are single mothers with goals and ambitions and we will find a way to accomplish the goals we set for ourselves.