Your family many times ends up taking a back seat to your career. This is especially true for single moms who need to work to pay the bills. So how can you balance your time, your attention and your devotion between your children who need you and the career you need to take care of your children? It is a vicious cycle which can overwhelm you if you aren’t careful.
Being a single mom is a multi-tasking disaster waiting to happen as it is, but when you add a career into the mix poor mom may find herself dropping some of the many tasks she juggles from day to day.
In order to keep up with both work and home demands it is important to be organized and to have a plan. Better yet, a plan-NER! That’s right, as a single mom and career woman your day planner should be your best friend. Make note of everything from day care schedules to after school activities and don’t keep these items on a separate calendar from your work items. By having everything together in one place you can simply flip to a date and know what needs to be done whether you are driving the carpool or you need to attend a meeting after regular work hours. This will enable you to be on top of each and every thing you will face each day.
Knowing what you are doing is the first step to balancing your family and career. The next step is to create a system. Routine is a single mom with a career’s sanity saver. Morning routines with the kids, afternoon routines with day care, routines all day at work and bedtime routines help to keep everyone on task and on schedule. This saves you from having to panic when someone isn’t doing what they should be, because between the normal routine and your planner you are prepared for quick emergencies like forgotten lunchboxes or spilled cereal and the need to change clothes on the way out the door.
At times you may feel like there is too much to be done and not enough you to do it all. That is normal and is a part of being a single mom. You are responsible for everything in your career and your home life, how you handle it will make a huge difference in how satisfied and content you are with your life as well as how your children learn to handle stress and responsibility.
When you hear the word “networking” today, you think of something related to computers like a series of computers linked together in an office or like the social networking so many of us do on the internet in places like Twitter and Facebook. But networking was around long before computers took over our lives. Remember the old saying, “it’s not what you know but who you know?” That was and is networking.
Networking is developing contacts so that both parties receive some kind of benefit from the relationship. This can happen at business meetings, conventions, the doctor’s office or the grocery store. Depending on the type of contacts you are looking for, whether it is for a job or new customers for a job you already have, any chance meeting can be an opportunity to network.
Carry your business card with you at all times. If you carry a brief case, keep a current copy of your resume on hand. Carry any flyers or brochures in your briefcase. If you are attending a meeting, wear a name badge that easily identifies you. Most importantly, have your pitch prepared. If you’re drumming up new business, you’ll need a pitch for potential customers. You can use this in a business setting or while talking to the other moms waiting to pick up their kids from soccer practice but you can’t use it if you don’t have it prepared.
Set a Goal
When you attend an event, know ahead of time what you want to achieve. If you are attending a job fair, determine ahead of time how many recruiters or specific types of employers you want to make contact with. Outline how many potential new customers you want to find at the open house. Having a goal keeps you focused and on track.
Establish Yourself as Helpful
People gravitate to positive, friendly and helpful people. If you are generous with your time, your words and information, people will see you as helpful and more importantly, they will remember you. At an event, act as a hostess, making sure people’s needs are met. You can accomplish this by bringing others together, the key to networking. Even if they can’t give you a job right now or aren’t interested in your product line, they will remember you because you put them in touch with someone who could help them. People don’t like someone they see as a taker or user. Establish your good intentions and helpful ways and it will go a long way in forming the kinds of relationships that can prove supportive.