A single mom’s summer looks a lot different than other moms’ summers, doesn’t it? Married moms talk about enjoying the downtime, traveling, spending as much time in the pool as possible, and sleeping in, but for single moms, summer can be a time of added stress.
Sure, plenty of other moms still work over the summer. Not everyone is home with the kids. But when you’re the only parent in the house, the change in schedule and lack of structure is really tough to manage. The solution and help for single moms might just lie in this 1 word. But I’m going to warn you—you might not like it.
If you’re like me, you just rolled your eyes and thought,
I have asked for help.
I don’t have anyone to ask.
I’m afraid to ask.
Also, if you’re like me, none of that is actually true. The truth is that I don’t want to impose or receive special treatment. Or, I’m embarrassed to have to ask and admit that I need help. If there’s anything single moms are accustomed to, it’s doing difficult things. Sometimes, asking for help is a very difficult thing, or we can’t figure out who or where to ask. This summer, consider these asks.
Ask for financial help.
Some camps offer financial aid. Not sure which ones? Ask. This might require a phone call. In fact, you might actually get a better result if you can talk to someone on the phone. I know a woman who couldn’t afford a camp that cost $250, so she called and asked if scholarships were available. When they asked if she could handle 50 percent, she said, “Not really. I have about $100.” They accepted.
Of course, not every camp can do this. But if you really do need a hand, especially if it’s somewhere people already know you, like church, school, or the Y where you’re a member, it’s worth a shot.
Ask a friend for childcare.
One big issue with summer care for kids is that even when you do enroll them in camp, the schedule often doesn’t jibe with a parent’s work schedule. It’s time to ask another parent or a friend with a schedule that’s different from yours to handle the before and after camp hours.
Maybe another mom can do pre-camp and you can do post. Or try getting five families involved and everyone takes one day a week. There are lots of ways to work the schedule so you won’t be late for work every day.
Ask your boss.
I am guilty of presuming I know what another person is going to say. I’ve done this in my professional life more times than I can count. I’m sure I’ve missed out on opportunities because of it.
Say you find the perfect childcare option, but then realize you’d have to get to work an hour later or leave an hour earlier. Don’t rule it out until you’ve actually had a real conversation (not an imaginary one in your head). Yes, your boss might say it won’t work. But if you’re a valued employee, he or she might be able to find a way. You don’t know unless you ask.
Ask a college student.
When I was on break as a college student, I needed three basic things: Home-cooked meals, friends, and money. With Facebook, it’s simple to pop on and ask if there are any college kids who would be willing to nanny for the summer. An elementary education major might jump at the opportunity and you’d be able to use Facebook friends as references.
Ask yourself if your kids are ready to stay home alone.
It’s scary to think about leaving our kids home alone, but there comes a point when we have to put on our big girl pants and say, “It’s time.” iMOM has some great resources like home alone rules and questions to help you figure out if your child is ready.
Letting your child stay home alone for short amounts of time is a great way for them to learn responsibility and it shows them you trust them. If you are still unsure, check out these monitoring apps that can help you keep tabs on their online activity.
What do you do to make summer more doable as a single mom?