The Single Parent As Ringmaster

If ever there was anyone who comes close to being able to actually juggle elephants, it would have to be the single parent. They are quite simply amazing in their ability to maintain their job, take care of a family and sometimes even squeeze out a few moments for themselves.

At a recent training program I met another one of these incredible ringmasters who was struggling with their "wide open" circus. In our discussion after the program we talked about a number of strategies to attempt to help them run their circus a little more smoothly. They included:

Work Ring

  • Leverage every resource to make your job more manageable. Whether technology, work schedule or people. Be willing to ask if additional resources are available if you feel like you are drowning.

Relationship Ring

  • Carve out a dedicated block of time to spend with a child or children each week. Even if it's only 30 minutes. Guard it with your life. Make it something they (and you) look forward to, and turn off the mobile phone or Blackberry. Don't overlook the morning hours. A quality sit-down breakfast may nurture more than the body.

Self Ring

  • Recognize you desperately need that "me" time to rejuvenate your own energy. By taking a moment or two for yourself, you will actually be making yourself a better parent and employee.

Most importantly, don't be afraid to engage the other performers in your circus to assist you.