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Modern Challenges: Single Working Parents
Contributed by kforce's
Maria Franco, Feature Author

Today's Workplace
Working single parents are now the norm. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 50 percent of all single parents with children under the age of six work outside the home. In addition, a recent study showed that more than half of all new mothers remained in the job market after the birth of their babies. In short, there are now more children with working single mothers than ever before.

Our Generation in Transition
The structure of the workplace does not yet reflect the composition of the work force, however. Work schedules and requirements are generally not geared toward the needs of the working mother of young children. While managing work and family has always been the challenge of a lifetime, it is particularly the challenge of our lifetime. Ours is the generation caught in the transition. Our mothers never had the career opportunities we do, and our daughters will hopefully live and work in a different world.

Make Creative Arrangements
To successfully manage work and family in these years of transition, our task is twofold:

  • First, we must do what we can to make our jobs accommodate our family responsibilities. For example, each of us can help create job arrangements, such as flextime and job sharing, that have the potential to make women's lives more balanced and productive. Although it may seem next to impossible to change the way most businesses are run, in fact, we can all envision how our jobs could be restructured to reflect our ideal schedules and levels of work commitment.
  • Secondly, we need to reevaluate our own family roles and dynamics to create the support systems that will make the balancing act work, even if the ideal job eludes us. We need to enlist the active support of our families, friends and significant others in household management and childcare.
All parents — men and women — have found ways of coordinating their work and family responsibilities. Talk it over with friends and coworkers. Pooling knowledge and resources is one of the best strategies for learning how to manage work and family, achieve success and maintain sanity.

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