What’s a day like for a single-parent CNA?
If you take a moment to guess, you'd probably imagine someone hurriedly multitasking to finish parental duties before dashing out the door to get to work on time.
You’d see this person packing a bag for their toddler's daycare, stuffing food in a lunch box for their school-aged child while at the same time repeating reminders for them to remember. This person’s breakfast consists of one big bite of burnt toast and a banana that they eat on their way to work.
A single parent starts a day with something as hectic as this. Looking like a typical Hollywood movie-like scenario? Yes, because it’s so true.
Is life as a single parent hard?
If you are to rate it from 1 to 5, from hard to hardest, any of these numbers will do it justice. But if there’s one thing that it is not, it is never easy.
A solo mom or dad does not get to share their parenting responsibilities with a partner and this is such a heavy burden to bear alone. And while they deal with family matters for most of the day, they still have to allocate 8 hours or so working as a nursing assistant.
Indeed, the CNA-single parent combination is tough. It’s not for the faint of heart and spirit.
Toughing it out as a solo parent
If you are a nursing assistant who is single-handedly raising their kids, wearing different hats in a day, these tips are for you:
1. If you have options, choose a family-friendly work setup.
Is there a way for you to take on flexible hours? Can you find a workplace close to home to reduce commute or travel time? Would home health care suit your situation better? If any of these arrangements is possible, grab that chance to have adequate and quality family time.
2. Ensure that work and home problems don't cross each other’s borders.
Leave your concerns at work and don't take them home with you because you still need your energy when you arrive home. Likewise, your family troubles must not keep you from caring for your patients safely. Patient care always requires your undivided attention.
3. On the other hand, use the lessons you've learned as a CNA in raising your children.
You can practice infection control at home, for example. This is very helpful because having healthy children is the key to less stressful parenting. Also, you can use your training as an attentive nursing assistant to keep track of your children's activities and concerns.
4. Don’t beat yourself up with guilt.
Are there things you cannot give your child? Did you feel bad because you went to the gym instead of watching TV with your kids?
Yep, sometimes life is cruel and the feeling of disappointing your loved ones is nasty. But you know what? You don’t have to pull yourself down so much on this one.
No one is perfect, let alone a solo parent at that. If an area of your parent-child relationship is hazy, consider it as just a life lesson for you and your child to learn. This doesn’t mean though that you’d stop trying. It only means that you'd forgive yourself for failing once and that you'd try to make it up for them again.
5. Having less social life than others is ok as long as you have some time to yourself.
You may have been turning down after-work get-togethers for as long as you can remember. You are worn with guilt every time you hang out with friends.
If you are feeling that you’ve been left out, that’s fine! You have gained new buddies anyway - your children! You are also not making your circle of friends smaller! Good thing there's a ton of ways, such as chats and video calls, to stay connected with your friends.
Don't forget to have some 'me' time as well. If you need to get a babysitter for this one, then, by all means, do so. Remember to put your phone down and pamper yourself once in awhile guilt-free. Do your best to eat a proper diet and to get enough rest because you have children, patients, and yourself to take care of.
6. Take advantage of available help.
While it is normal to feel that no one can better raise your children than you, some people can take care of them for a few hours just as well.
It probably won't hurt to accept your neighbor's offer to babysit while you go grocery shopping. Make use of daycare centers, too. They take care of your little ones while you work.
7. Develop strong communication skills.
Having a listening ear that understands more than just merely hearing is the foundation of a good parent-child relationship. Nothing feels more frustrating for a child than when parent ignores what they are saying, or doesn’t acknowledge their feelings.
If something is bothering you about your child, discuss it with them. Encourage them to be open about their thoughts and feelings as well.
Being a single-parent CNA is not an ordinary feat. It takes a lot of courage, energy, and a positive attitude to be successful in both family life and career. What an extraordinary life they have!
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