Single Parent Secrets:
10 ways to lighten the load!
Holding down a steady job or furthering your education, while also juggling the demands of parenting and running a household is challenging for any family! But for single parents in particular, this balancing act can see your resources (and your health) stretched to capacity.
Who else has had to run out of work early because one of your children decided it would be fun to glue their hand to their face in art class at school? Or missed that assignment due date because there was a case of gastro running rampant through your household? Rachael, who has two children and a full time job, knows all too well about the challenges of being a single parent.
“I used to get extremely stressed and anxious by my to-do list almost every day,” she says. “When you work a full time job outside of the house and then continue to work when you get home it’s hard to find the time to take a breath.”
Unfortunately, our social systems have not adapted to the modern reality of working parents. School hours, school assemblies, and the pressure to volunteer at school events, don’t align to the standard 9 – 5 job.
While it is great to see many workplaces becoming more flexible, the struggle is still very real! So we spoke to some single parents to share their advice on the lesser-known ways to manage when work, study and parenting are intertwined and the responsibilities seem endless.
Online shopping is nothing new, however sometimes delivery can be expensive!
Click and Collect is a feature that is free to use. Here’s how it works: You do your grocery shopping online, park out front of your local supermarket (they have designated click and collect parking) and they will bring your shopping out to you and pack it into your car.
“What I love about this is that I don’t have to unbuckle my baby from his car seat and bring him into the shops,” working mum of one, Sam said. “I schedule the collection time for after I finish work and collect my son from daycare. I pull up to the shops on our way home, and within minutes the shopping is done!”
free kids meals
For father of two, Mike, taking his children out for a meal is a nice way to get out of the house and catch up with friends.
Mike’s trick is to find restaurants and bistros that have ‘kids eat free’ nights.
“There are plenty of family-friendly pubs and restaurants that do it. You just have to keep an eye out for those in your local area,” he said.
Facebook marketplace is a gold mine for goods that are technically second hand, but really as good as new. That also includes local freebies or buy, swap or sell groups.
Celia is expecting her first child next month and quickly realised how expensive it was going to be to buy brand new items for her baby.
“I couldn’t believe how expensive some items were considering they are likely to be used for such a short amount of time,” she commented. “So I started searching on Facebook marketplace and found a baby capsule that was hardly used and less than half the price.”
Children grow out of clothes so quickly that you might discover some items have never been used, often with tags still on.
Just need someone to visit your home to lend a helping hand? Or even just someone to talk to about the stresses of everyday life?
In-home support is available with our trained volunteer support workers, providing you with practical and emotional support to help manage any pressures you may be facing. Our In-Home Support workers can help around the house, take care of children while you get some sleep, and generally just lighten the load. We all know, it takes a village to raise children!
Many GPs and health practitioners offer telehealth appointments now. Rather than having to take time off work and sit in a waiting room, you can have your doctor call you.
This is best for minor health issues, general health advice, and renewing prescriptions, and it will save you a trip or two to the clinic!
supported play groups
Our Supported Playgroups help parents who may be feeling isolated form stronger connections to their community.
A trained facilitator and a team of volunteers provide a developmentally appropriate play program for babies and preschoolers, as well as the emotional support and social connection for caregivers
Research shows that children of single-parent families become more adept at taking on responsibilities and being independent.
“What I’ve learned, is you don’t need to do it all yourself,” single mum Sarah shared. “When my son was five, he was responsible for unpacking the dishwasher and he loved it! He was so proud to contribute and it was also genuinely helpful.”
As long as tasks are age-appropriate, it is beneficial for children if they are given the opportunity to add value to the home dynamic. It could be as simple as assigning your 3-year-old to pick up their toys after dinner, or your 10-year-old to take out the rubbish every morning.
You might also like to create a chore chart to display on your fridge. This not only keeps the house in check but also teaches children critical life lessons of responsibility and accountability.
family day care
If regular childcare hours don’t quite fit your needs, Family Day Care could be a helpful solution.
Our registered family day care educators can give your children a home away from home, and can also do the pick-up and drop-off from kinder or school.
Family day care is a great way to ensure your children are well-cared for while you can focus on work or study. With greater flexibility in their operating hours, weekend care options, and vacation care, Family Day Care educators can be a highly convenient alternative to traditional childcare.
most importantly... reach out!
Being a single parent, while also trying to study or work can be overwhelming at times, but there are people out there who can help. There are many organisations like Bestchance that can assist and empower you to reach your full potential.
If you’re not quite sure where to go to from here or need a little extra help, get in touch with us!
other handy services and resources
- Parent Line: Parent Line is a phone support service for parents and carers of children from birth to 18 years old. Phone 13 22 89.
- Council of Single Mothers and Their Children Victoria: The CMSC offers essential assistance and support for single mothers, including advocacy, information and referrals. Phone (03) 9654 0622 or 1300 552 511 outside metro Melbourne.
- Mensline Australia: Support and information for single fathers. Phone: 1300 78 99 78
- Relationships Australia: Relationship support services for individuals, families and communities. Phone 1300 364 277.