Single parents, I salute you.
I understand where you are coming from, because I was a single mother for 10 years.
Not every person is faced with the challenge of raising children with no partner while also being the sole income provider for the household. Many of the single career parents that I have met through the years are some of the biggest inspirations for, I think, just about any person trying to find balance in their life. Of course, I’m sure at some point, they’ve experienced work or family overload and crashed, but they’ve recovered and found a balance that I think some people never achieve.
What are your priorities?
As with many single parents, their children will always be their top priority and no corner office or vacation home can compete with them. So, it’s important to set your next tier of priorities, whether it is career advancement or stability. These are the goals that are still very important, but will never trump family.
When you give a little on your priorities, it becomes easier to give a little more and then a little more, until you’ve sacrificed your priorities for a job that isn’t at all what you wanted in the first place. Whether you’re sacrificing ethics or opportunities, it’s never a good time to start.
Oh, yes – we love compromise.
How can I say this when I just said never sacrifice? Simple. Compromise is not the same as sacrifice. Sacrificing something means giving it up. Compromise means meeting someone else halfway. I think any parent has experienced bargaining with their children to meet them halfway. It’s no different in the corporate world. Being able to meet someone halfway always keeps doors open.
Repeat after me: My calendar is sacred!
If you don’t already, start keeping a schedule on your calendar. Single parents have to juggle so much in a given day that syncing with iCal or Google calendars is a necessity and, honestly, it should be for everyone. Don’t simply rely on that “steel trap” to remember every detail of your day.
Always leave room for flexibility. If you can’t “go with the flow” as a single parent, you’re likely to have a nervous breakdown very quickly. Life is good at throwing curveballs your way, whether it’s your job or work, and you have to be able to work with them.