I am a single mom of 2 kids (16 and 11). I work 2 jobs (12 hours total x 5 days/wk). And this isn’t a choice, it is a necessity. My full-time job is my career of being an Occupational Therapist, and my second job is being a caregiver to an elderly woman in her home for 4 hours every day, after working my regular job. I am just burnt out, but can’t afford to not do it. I wake up at 4 am and am on the go until well after 7 pm. My 11 year old is struggling with school work and life in general. (ADHD un medicated—whole other story with that). My question is…how do you all balance work and life? I cant NOT work all of these hours because they pay the bills. However, I feel like an absent parent.
Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. How do you balance work and being am other?
Is the other parent not contributing? Obviously something has to give as this isn’t a good long term solution. Could you maybe find a roommate to split bills if you have an extra room? Find a work from home part time job? OnlyFans? There are tons of options ever since covid started, I’ve been looking at jobs recently too and so many are online now(work from home). Could start selling things on apps. Start a side hustle, like cleaning houses, that can be done around the schedule you choose. I just looked up how much Occupational Therapists make, how are you struggling so bad? Are you living in a really expensive place? Maybe look into moving somewhere cheaper, even moving from a big city to a nearby smaller town can really lower costs. Also please get your 11 year old the meds they need, my mother didn’t and it’s so hard to get someone to listen when you’re an adult and they see you went your childhood without medication.
Your kids are old enough to be able to do housework. Have the 16yo do the floors, laundry and dishes. Have the 11yo do the wiping of counters, windows and bathroom cleaning. Mom does the cooking and the garbage. That way you have time to sit and talk with your kids for a couple hours. Go shopping with them. Take them to movies. Go for walks. You can’t do it all on your own. Ask friends or family for help you need to. Your kids need you more than they need the stuff you buy them.
As exhausting as it might be, try to have late family dinners. Where you can ask them about their day and talk to them. And maybe on the weekend take them out or even just try to do something together. Movie night, game night, etc. being present matters.
It might sound silly but maybe have a communication book where if you’re not available right then and there your children can write in what they need you for and you can then address it physically.
My only suggestion is try to cut corners where you can and try to save on some of your bills and maybe you could cut some of your hours working. I know you said that it’s a necessity that you work as much as you do. And you’re much younger then me. But just one thing I’ve learned is I’ve gotten older. It’s time truly flies by. And you’ll be in your 50s in no time. So try to enjoy your life.So you can try to spend enjoyable time with your kids while they’re still at home. And if you’re working all the time understandably you’re going to be worn out. And even talk to your kids about cutting some corners and tell them why. Tell them that you want to spend more time with them and you’re literally exhausted.At 16 and 11 they’re old enough to start understanding things like that. I hope you have some friends and some family that you can lean on. It sounds to me like you’re doing a great job. Anyone would be worn out. So keep your head up and I have faith you’ll figure something out
Maybe you should look at your spending habits, and learn to do without a few things … are you also getting child support…if not you should. also , you can draw social security for your handicapped son, just a few options for you to consider.
Unfortunately it’s not possible to be able to “do it all” by yourself you cant work, house keep, mind the kids by yourself the same way thay a dual parent home does the sooner you can understand that the happier you’ll be, your kids dont want the the mom theu just want you. making dinner with them can become such a good way to spend time together and if that’s not an option schedule in advance a “date day” with them and itll give yall something to look forward to
I had to get a therapist for “work/life balance” bcuz I was struggling so bad. I talk to her once a week (by phone) and it really helps.
I understand it being a necessity but maybe look at something that is better suited to your life.
I used to work 10 and 12 hour days with four kids. While I am married, my husband was an OTR trucker so I was on my own Monday to Friday. I did all the household stuff, along with everything kid related. However, it just didn’t work. I needed the money but I also needed to not die and I felt like I was going to die. So I quit.
I found a job that pays the same with hours that fit my life.
I don’t work as many hours but I am still just as busy. I work, homeschool four kids, they each play sports, and I am a full-time law student. It is hard but one day it will pay off.
With all of that said, cut corners where necessary to make life easier. My kids handle the household chores now. I just do laundry. We cook quick meals most days, unless it’s a day I don’t have a lot of school work then we will cook a full meal.
Take a deep breath, and a long bath. You still need time to yourself.
Ask your kids for help. They’re both old enough to help around the house. Sit down with them and figure out a weekly dinner menu. They can get started on it, and you can finish cooking it together when you get home. That way you can all sit down and enjoy dinner together. The more you evenly distribute the household tasks, the more you’ll be able to enjoy each other’s company.
We were always involved in church and sports…great help.ask a friend especially if they’re boys.
First of all I understand I am also a single mother of 2 with more than 1 job. Even if I’m just working 40 hours a week it is hard to get it all done. I take short cuts. Frozen meals and meals delivered, spend 15 min with each child a night etc. Curious if you could find another job instead of your 4 hour job. Either pack in a 12/16 on sundays so you are home during the week or find a work from home job for your second job. (I often stay up late and work 8-midnight after my kids are in bed) There is a really great group “WFH clubhouse” on Facebook that has some flexible job options as far as hours. Search for flexible in the group.
Cut yourself some slack and ask for help. Find another solution to the problem. I am an ER nurse now working FT from home doing chart review. You probably could find something similar with your experience and education and I make just as much money. Quality and Safety within a hospital system or look at insurance companies. It’ll be okay
Talk to your kids about what they need more from you or if they feel they need more from you. While this is a total valid feeling you’re working to provide for them the life they have. Make sure they know that…talk with you kids and ask them in they’re feeling you’re not present or what you could do more for them… express to them how you’re feeling and that you want them to know you love them and are doing the things you do to provide. They will get it.
You may feel you’re being absent and they may not feel that way. If you don’t already try to make sure to have dinner together and really ask them how they’re doing also give yourself time to express how you’re doing…so y’all have a time of togetherness where you’re expressing to each other real care about each other’s day while asking what could be done to help each other. Express to them what they could do to help you too .
You’ve got this…y’all are a team and they’re getting old enough to understand it is a team effort and they’re part of that team and have to have responsibilities and understanding for you too mama
I do the same hours with one job. My kids are 13 and 18. My 13 year old does most of the household chores to earn an allowance. The 18 year old works full time so she helps with some small bills (streaming services, wifi, things she wants in the house that I don’t deem a need). We try and plan things on the weekend. Even if it’s a quick drive to the beach or poking around thrift stores for time together.
One day at a time, and know that this too, shall pass. I know it’s difficult (I did the same,) but you’re kids are learning what a strong mom looks like by watching you
I work 50+ hrs a week and my husband works even more hours…so we have a planner. So my 14 year old knows the schedule and was he needs to be doing for that specific day…and then we try and do 1 family activity a month!!!
Would you consider changing settings? I am an OT as well and I know some settings pay more. Also per diem early intervention pays $80 an hour
The kids are old enough to help around the house, give them some of the household chores to do
If u can plan a family day once a month it will help…ik it’s hard…but it’s worth it
Make what lil time you have with them quality time make time for one on one with each of them n remember to breath your doing the best you can
Could the 16 year old get a job? My 16 year old granddaughter has been working for a year.
What about child support
Low income housing helps. Section 8 or hud
You are doing exactly what needs for your family. I have similar issues and my life is about the same. I feel bad but my kids are old enough to fend until I get home. It’s hard but they know you do all you can. I’m sorry it’s so hard. Just remember the storms don’t last forever.
- Rebudget. If you can cut back on something, do it.
- Talk to your children. What do they need from you?
Then, together, you work on a plan to make it happen.
Maybe cut back the cable, or internet package? Recheck insurance prices to find a lower price. Unplug things to save on power. Shop smarter for groceries. There’s ways to get a break but they require planning & discipline.
Give yourself grace. It’s not easy doing it alone. Unfortunately it’s not possible to get everything done all the time.
Aren’t you getting child support? Years from now you’ll regret all the lost time with your children because you chose to work instead of spending a day or an hour with them. If you’re not getting child support you better be looking into it someone else needs to be pulling their weight as well.
See if you can bring them to the second job once a week.
Check your expenses. Many aren’t needed and maybe a tighter budget is needed. It’s sad when a professional occupational therapist has to work a second job
Also look into new sites to work for, location and demand raise pay rates. Check availability for like the VA or something different. Many larger hospitals and medical groups pay MUCH better.
If you are renting, consider downsizing or moving to an area a little more affordable. If you are locked in a mortgage look into lowering the payment in some way. Weigh the pros and cons.
So your kids have WiFi and cell phones and cable TV? Do they have the newest phones and gaming things they pay for? A basic phone with basic service is more affordable than unlimited and a phone payment. They can use WiFi at home for other stuff. If you feel unlimited phones are needed, then cut the WiFi and cable… things like that. You can put many services on vacation to see if that helps so you can see if that works for you without cancelling a plan. 16 can work too. That may help them afford their own luxuries and save for a vehicle as well.
It’s never easy and either you work for the lifestyle you currently have and make Every Saturday evening family time… go do something cheap and fun, just spend time. Can they text you during the day?
Why on earth do you wake at 4am to get the day going? I’m sure that’s hard as heck! Can you let someone work with the elderly lady three days a week and you do just four?? Will one evening off kill the bank?
Or maybe do door dash on the side and take the kids. Y’all can get an iced coffee or something on the go and catch up while you work. Video chats might help too!
I had three kids, limited resources, left a husband and ran across country …. I took every moment to snuggle with my spawn. Eldest is now 23, middle one is 17, youngest is almost 15. I made the time. It’s hard… truly it is and some may never know what it feels like to think you are failing them. Money isn’t everything. Time is. Even two hours of an evening with some cheap pizza will mean the world to them becuase they know you don’t have a lot of time.
My current days consist of doing a side hustle, working in a business, caring for family members (one just passed, the other is on the spectrum) and my kids, helping my grandmother and also my step father, work on cars, do all the shopping for two homes, the third my mom goes with me and I help her, a dog, and I have a disability due to emergency surgery resulting in an ostomy so I have stoma care and appliance care as well. My kids wanna snuggle up to watch something together on a tablet or phone ??? I’m doing it! We color and chat and discuss things we watch. They might be older but still take time to come chill with me. They are so helpful and want to go help me do my side hustle it’s extra time with them!
If your extra four hours a day isn’t making you $25+ an hour… not worth it.
its weird how… stay at home mums dont get paid but if u had a neighbour and u both had kids … u could get paid to work looking after each other kids… as long as they werent u own.
Get that baby medicated as someone with adhd that was denied medicine it was awful.
I’m a single mom of 2 and I get it! It’s exhausting. Have your kids help you out. Cancel cable if you have it. Cancel Netflix. Hulu . Any of it.
Look into resources for income supplement options and then use some of that free time to do more school to get a (one) higher paying job . That’s what I did . Or just make those two days you have off really really count. I’m sorry for your struggle and I admire your hustle. I know it isn’t easy
Do what you have to do to support your family my parents both worked a fair bit where. I was that age to support us and at the time it Was sad not seeing them a lot but as you get older you understand why it was done and thank them later in life for there sacrifice
There are so many great comments! My first thought, can you cut corners anywhere? I’m sure you’ve done this, but review your budget. There may be some things you could cut out for groceries.