Being a parent is greatly rewarding, especially when you get to witness your child achieving the things they set out to do. Some might even say the rewards outweigh the struggles, which is a positive statement that unfortunately doesn’t always ring true.
What we mean by this is that even if you’re a great parent to your child, you may still feel like you’re not doing enough, a mentality that is already damaging to your parental self-esteem and can already add to the struggles present in your life.
Looking for a job also becomes more difficult as a single parent since you are expected to provide for a whole other human being alone. Searching for jobs through Lensa or similar platforms allows individuals even in difficult situations to find work that is sustainable for them and their needs.
Nothing is impossible when being a single parent, though it may seem like you have less support, people still are there to help you out, such as family members, friends, and so on.
Work-life balance will be the biggest obstacle for a single parent to overcome since providing for their children is a priority, but being with them a lot is too, especially depending on the age of the kin. Taking on the same burden of responsibilities as two working adults isn’t easy but is necessary, so finding a job you can enjoy is elemental in creating a healthy family platform.
Why finding work as a single parent is so difficult
Countless factors go into making job finding difficult for single parents, and the obstacles are from both the individual side and the recruiter, or company side if you will.
Being a single parent means your schedule is booked with your kid’s responsibilities since you’re the only one who can help them fulfill them. From commuting your kid to school to attending recitals or parent-teacher conferences, all these tasks for one single person become a large task to bear.
Not just that but being a parent, in general, becomes a certain liability in the eyes of companies. The massive responsibility a parent holds for their child means their child will be a priority for them, rightfully so. What this also means for companies is that they will not be flexible regarding work hours and if something out of the ordinary happens, the parent can be gone for a while.
The reason this work philosophy is wrongfully biased though, is because single parents tend to be extremely efficient with their time, and their organizational skills are above average.
It is the responsibility of companies to provide more flexible work hours for their employees since today’s work climate is asking them to do just that. With the recent global pandemic shut down and work from home becoming so popular, it is only a matter of time until most companies finally adapt, just like job searching platforms have long ago.
Steps to getting your ideal job
Decide on the path you wish to pursue
As nice as it would be, being a parent diminishes the number of opportunities you can take on due to all the responsibilities you automatically bear. This would mean you already have to count on finding a more flexible job that you can do for deadlines rather than set times or a job where you can flexibly vary your schedule with your coworkers.
Jobs working online are ideal since you are able to be around your child more often and be present in the case of emergencies. If that is not an option for you, consider workplaces with friendly, compassionate teams, such as working reception or at a shop nearby, though there are ways to balance hard jobs, such as continuing a career while nursing.
You can also talk with others in similar positions online or in general to get a clear idea of what job you want if you haven’t got an idea yet. This advice is based upon searching into your past and reflecting on what you enjoyed in the past and what you felt wasn’t right for you. If you start noticing patterns in your work history, it is time to create a response for or against that.
You might also want to consider working part-time to be able to spend more time with your little one. With this, you can also do freelance work that would even out your monthly salary without overwhelming you with work and expectations.
Prepare a rebuttal
Recruiters and employers alike will have worries regarding your time and quality of work. Anticipate ways of addressing any of their concerns ahead of any conversations. This will not only make you seem more able but also confident in your choices which is likely to diminish concerns about your quality of work overall.
If you perceive hesitation from managers, try suggesting a trial run for the job. This allows you to prove yourself and convince them of the advantages flexible working offers you and them alike.
Consider your situation
Reflect on all the responsibilities you already have and try to formulate a calendar in which you can organize the job you are seeking. This not only can guarantee you success but also help you in figuring out what setbacks you may have in the eyes of a manager.
Choose your companies wisely
As promising as a company may seem, you must still consider benefits that go beyond work benefits, flexible hours, and pleasant colleagues. Do your research on the company you are willing to join through websites such as Lensa, where you can even find employee reviews on the company and certain foresight on what direction a specific company is headed in.
If you search for ideal jobs for working mothers, you will either be met with ethical offers that are exactly what you need or with completely unfair offers for work. Be wary of companies who do not offer you guaranteed flexibility or any benefits regarding your child, such as daycare.
Reading up on company social media pages as well as their company history will be important in helping you decide how to proceed with the recruitment process.
Remember to negotiate for your own good
As you will come to find with most managers, they aren’t adamant about giving out flexible and “uncertain” work schedules as often as they should. If you think you are being treated unfairly or will be treated unfairly, you should speak up to negotiate better terms for a certain job, especially if you are properly qualified for the position in question.
Be wary of going overboard with demands or questions. If you ask too much from a job, it will quickly seem like you lack commitment and are trying to find issues in everything. Remember to not de-validate yourself either, just be self-aware of your skills and what you can accomplish at a certain company without compromising your well-being.
A thorough look at benefits and worker rights related to single parents
As we all know, work benefits can be the outcome of a less-than-beneficial circumstance that occurs in an employee’s private life, such as bereavement. You can also get work benefits for positive events such as an announced pregnancy. Either way, life-changing events can land you benefits depending on what your workplace allows.
Emergencies related to illnesses or injuries
Emergencies such as your child falling ill or an elderly relative hurting themselves warrant you to take some time off to take care of them. With events such as these, there starts to be an emotional burden on the working individual trying to nurture and work at the same time, which is why it is legally in your rights to not be penalized by your employer as long as you have validity.
The downside to such events is that your employer isn’t legally required to pay you during your leave, though some do out of simple humanity. The amount of time you can take off is the precise amount needed to deal with any emergency. You can consult your HR or respective person before taking leaves. They must have a leave management system to track employees’ leave.
Pregnancy or childbirth
You, as an employee, are entitled to maternity leave no matter the circumstance. There are two types of maternity leave depending on how far you are in your pregnancy and when you wish to take time off. As for pay, it will depend on your employment contract.
You are entitled to parental leave as you are to maternity leave. There are different reasons you are allowed to ask for this leave, such as finding your child a new school, immediately after maternity or paternity leave, raising your child after birth, and so on. Take notice that if you’re a self-employed single parent you are legally not entitled to this form of vacancy.
Tax credits and housing benefits
If your salary is decreasing due to your leave or increase of absence, you may be entitled to tax credits, housing benefits, or child benefits from the government depending on your monthly income.
There are countless other benefits you can take on depending on these minuscule factors during your career, and it is important to remember that as a single parent it is completely okay and understandable to ask for help and use it since no one assumes your job is easy.