More than a job: Make
your career dreams a reality
Challenges: Single Working Parents Contributed
Maria Franco, Feature Author
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.