Single parents have the distinct challenge of both having to hold down the fort at home, while also being the breadwinner. It doesn’t make much for work/life balance and it can definitely cause issues in a corporate setting. I once had a boss who told me that she thought workers used kids “as an excuse.” As a mother who drove an hour & a half before and after work to drive my infant child to her grandmothers everyday, I was appalled at the accusation of all parents. But, I understood that as a childless, career-driven woman, she just didn’t get it.
When dealing with bosses like this, a single parents workdays can be stressful and discouraging. Is it impossible? No, I’ve done it and still do. However, if you have the opportunity to select your career path, here are some good careers that actually gel with split parenting life.
Tops Careers for Single Parents
- Teacher: This one is obvious so let’s get it out of the way. Teachers have the ideal schedule, 3 months off, same hours as kids, same holidays off, etc. If you have a degree in education, you are already on the path to making it work. But fear not, degree holders – you have two options, depending on the level of your degree.
Those holding bachelor degrees, you can sign on as a substitute teacher for about $37K annually. For those with a doctorate degree, you can pursue becoming a professor, with an average income of about $62k annually.
- Medical transcriptionist: Medical transcriptionists are keyboard warriors – they create typed reports and other administrative documents dictated by physicians.’ The good thing about this career is that you can do it from your home, during a time that is suitable for you. The median income is $36K and you do need to get licensed, here’s how: https://www.allalliedhealthschools.com/medical-billing-coding/how-to-become-medical-transcriptionist/
- Real estate agent/ Realtor: Being a real estate agent or realtor can really work well with a single parents schedule, while still potentially raking in some big bucks. If you work with a realty company, you may still have to go in to their office during the week, but the majority of the work can be done at home. And the majority of the scheduling you can set yourself, including home visits, inspections, etc. It may be hard juggling your client and other agents schedules, but as I’ve seen with realtors I personally know, in a pinch, it’s OK to bring your child along as long as they behave.
According to realtor.com, real estate agents make an average of $45,610 per year—and the top 10% tier of agents earned a whopping $166,940 in 2015. Learn how to become an agent: https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/should-i-become-a-realtor/
- Nanny/ Daycare worker: A reliable, trustworthy nanny/sitter/ daycare worker is something parents dreams are made of. And as a working parent, childcare can be downright stressful – there have been many days where I’ve stressed about who might be able to watch my child while I begrudgingly make my way into the office. So why not combine a career with childcare? Becoming a nanny or opening a daycare in your home are great options for bringing in an income while also caring for your own children.
For an in-home daycare, there are licensing and residence requirements for each state so start there to determine if your home would be a suitable in-home daycare. Here’s a good resource to get you started: http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/education/blog/how-to-open-a-daycare/
- Direct Sales/ Product Consultant: There are countless companies out there that empower men & women to go into business for themselves, without all the extra overhead and research. These companies, known as multi-level marketing businesses or direct sales, provide all the tools necessary to get up & running with your own business – sort of a franchise if you will. Thirty-one, Young Living, Pampered Chef, Lularoe, and Mary Kay are all businesses that don’t have actual retail locations, they rely on salespeople and consultants to sell their products. It works for single parents because you can set your own schedule, build your own book of loyal clients, and earn money all the while.
However, you get what you put into it and most direct sales consultants don’t make enough money to make it a full-time career. But for those that treat it like a business, you can replace a salary. For instance, Rodan & Fields gives it’s consultants up to 20% off of their product sales. At $100+ product prices, it can add up to a pretty sweet main or secondary income. Learn more about Rodan and Fields.
All of these options are great to look into if you’re looking to start or transition your career as a single parent, but there are tons of other options that could work with your lifestyle. The main thing is not to give up, keep working towards your goals and you’ll get there.
It may be a struggle for a while – I had to travel an hour & a half before and after work to drop off/pick up my daughter from her sitter but I couldn’t afford to leave my job or find something that worked better with our schedules. I drove 3+ cumulative hours every workday but I made it work. And sure, I didn’t make much money at first so we lived paycheck to paycheck, but at the end of it all, I look back and knew I did what I could and things got better. They’ll get better for you as well.
Good luck, you’ll do great.
Lauren is Co-founder and CMO of momsplained.com. A single mom, marketing pro, and avid DIYer, she spends her days playing as much as she works and working as much as she dreams. “Omnia Feminae Aequissimae (women are equal to everything).” – Lady Hale