Without a doubt, single parents need an accessible and reliable support system. As soon as an individual finds she will shortly be in that position, she should begin canvassing relatives and friends to inquire which ones would be available to help out in an emergency.
It would be helpful if she can offer remuneration for occasional baby-sitting services, but if money is tight, she may be able to arrange an exchange of services. For example, “If you’ll mind the kids when they’re sick, I’ll mow your lawn this summer “, or ” I’ll shovel your snow this winter”, or “I’ll pick up your groceries every weekend”. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Obviously, the first person to call on, to take the children in an emergency is the other parent. However, if that individual is working, unavailable, or unsuitable, other arrangements can be made.
A grandparent, aunt or other relative might welcome the opportunity to spend extra time with their young relative. If someone agrees to take on task whenever they’re needed, a supply of extra clothing and favourite toys for the child should be left at the caregiver’s home, to save time and fuss when the child becomes ill suddenly.
Perhaps a neighbour on the street would be willing to help out. She may prefer to come to your home, or to have you drop the child off with her. If someone agrees to help out, give them the choice of location; it’s worthwhile to have the child close to home with a familiar person. It will also save money on gas, if you don’t have to drive far for drop-off and pickup.
It won’t only be illness that causes you call upon this special caregiver. There will be days when schools and day-care centres are closed because of bad weather. There are holidays when schools are closed but you, as a nurse, doctor, bus driver or worker in another public service sector, are required to work. And what about the two-month-long summer holidays?
There may be times when the child is already at school or day-care when he becomes ill. You may need to make arrangements for someone to pick him up and care for him until you finish work. Be sure to let the school or day-care facility know that this person has your permission to take the child. They can’t release the child to a stranger, without your authority.
There will also be appointments, medical, dental or other, that can only be scheduled during daytime when you must be at work. Try not to overburden one person with all the duties associated with your child. Does your child have a godparent? This may be a responsibility they could assume.
In today’s society, there are almost certainly many single parents in every area of the country. It is helpful for everyone, parents and children, when they can link up for mutual benefit and support. The organization “Parents Without Partners” has chapters in most urban centers. They organize social functions, meetings and activities for single parent families. Single parents can often link up to solve mutual baby-sitting problems.
Undeniably, single parents require a reliable support system, but with optimism, resourcefulness and a spirit of cooperation, they can manage very well. By solving problems satisfactorily, as they occur, these moms and dads can become roll models of strength and independence which will inspire their children for many years to come.