It can be challenging juggling childcare as a single parent. The key is to have Plan B.
Seems children get sick when a parent has a mandatory meeting or work project. Enlist people ahead of time to be available in case of an emergency.
Several parents I know have used up all of their sick leave on ill babies and toddlers. They learned the hard way to have someone on speed dial for that eventuality.
Talk to a neighbour to see if they are able to be a last-minute fill in if your little one needs to come home from school. Possibly a friend who works from home can plug a childcare gap when you have to be on the job. You can reciprocate the favour another time.
If you have your own office it may be feasible to bring along an older child who is recovering. Pack books, art supplies and snacks. My insurance agent allows his secretary to have her son there after school every day while she does her tasks. She has her boy go into the waiting area when a client needs to speak to her.
Maybe you can make arrangements to work at home if your child has a stomach bug. Several offices permit older kids to take over the conference room during a bank holiday or short break. This helps the organizations to keep their employees on the job.
Some hospitals and companies have nurseries, like the one I attended where my mother was a nurse. Ask co-workers how they are handling their childcare needs.
If you are able to negotiate with your co-parent, perhaps you can split up school holidays. Then neither one of you has to find childcare for the entire period. Some divorced people remain on good terms with former in-laws who are happy to babysit.
They enjoy seeing the grandchildren and the single parent on a tight budget gets a break. In one case, a woman’s former mother-in-law watched her daughter and a divorced friend’s one also. The girls had great fun with that gran.
Talk to your friends and see if they are willing to share a nanny. Parents I know hired a caregiver who watches a group of children and rotates houses on a weekly basis. It is cheaper when more parents share a caregiver. I did this with my older son. One’s family can help out too. My mum did some of the school runs after my divorce.
If you and your friends are on flexible or different work schedules, consider watching each other’s kids. This also is helpful when you want a bit of time to yourself or to get errands done quickly. Check into what clubs or activities there are after school. Often, they are free or low cost.
Scouts, sports and chess are a few of them. My mother sent me to sleep over or day camp when she wanted to pick up extra shifts as a nurse. Then she had a block of time to be off from the hospital to spend with me.
When married, I ran a medical practice plus was the nurse. Soon after my divorce I changed jobs within my profession that would better suit my childcare needs. I became a school nurse with a work schedule that coincided with my sons’ one. See if you can change jobs or tweak the one you already have.
My solicitor that I hired for post-divorce issues, left the law office everyday by 4 pm to be with her young daughter. She returned e-mails or read documents when the girl was doing homework or in bed. Other people have been able to adjust their jobs to work part-time from home.
Your children’s teachers can be a resource for childcare. They are usually up-to-date on what is available in the community and may know individuals who babysit.
There are web sites who post caregivers and their credentials. It seems like only a few months ago I was juggling childcare and now I have an Empty Nest.
Wendi Schuller is a nurse, hypnotherapist and is certified in Neuro-linguistic Programing (NLP).
Her most recent book is The Global Guide to Divorce and she has over 200 published articles.
She is a guest on radio programs in the US and UK. Her website is globalguidetodivorce.com.