4 Tips for Being a Successful Single Parent and Nurse
No matter what your profession is, being a working single parent can be difficult. Often, the long, demanding hours of a nursing career can affect a single parent’s home life. Finding a healthy work-life balance isn’t as easy, but it can be achieved with some planning and thought.
To help you navigate the world of single parenthood as a nurse, we’ve gathered a few tips for being a successful single parent AND nurse.
1. Keep in mind that it takes a village to raise a child.
Even a two parent family needs help raising a child. It isn’t bad to accept help from others – in fact, we think you’re foolish if you don’t establish a support system. It truly does take a village to raise a child, so establish a village of your closest friends and family and rely on them when necessary. We’re sure they won’t mind.
Sue from Nurse Together says, When I first found myself raising my teens alone, I had no support system. I had to make one. How did I do this? While I did not have family living in the same area, I did have friends who were willing to help me. We helped each other with babysitting, when we or our children were ill, and with day-to-day emergencies and contingencies.”1
2. Don’t forget to spend quality time with your kids.
In a busy working parent lifestyle, sometimes we forget to make room for family bonding. It’s important that your kids know you have time to hang out with them.
Sue suggests “Plan a ‘board game night’ or a night out at least once a week after your nursing shift. […] Don’t let anything—work, grocery shopping, laundry, etc.—interfere with the quality time you’ve planned with your kids. They will look forward to it. This is not just for your kids, but for yourself, too.”1
3. Choose specialties within nursing that are compatible with your schedule.
Some niches within nursing are more time consuming and demanding than others. While we’re not saying you can’t have one of these careers as a single-parent, it may be easier to avoid these demanding niches.
Ameritech College of Healthcare says one of these demanding careers to avoid is emergency nursing. “The long hours and inherent unpredictability of emergency-room nursing make it less compatible with the needs of single parents than other nursing fields. If five critically-ill car accident victims come in 10 minutes before your shift ends and all hands are needed on deck, you can’t duck out because your kids need to be picked up from soccer practice. Single parents know that they need flexibility in their schedule, and the emergency room is not a place where flexibility reigns.”2
4. Make sure your children understand you are working so hard for them.
Sometimes it’s hard to see your kids upset because mom or dad are always at work. It’s important that you talk to your children and let them know that you are working so hard for them.
“No matter what age your children are, you can explain why you work and why you are working so hard. But do not make “deals” with the kids. Rather, help them understand that you are working for them. This means you may not be there as often as other moms and dads, but that you are always there in spirit. They will understand and appreciate you for it,” Sue says.1
While being a working single parent can be hard, it’s not impossible. You can have the best of both worlds when you put in the effort.
What do you to have a healthy work-life balance? Tell us in the comments below!