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How to Manage the Stress of Being the Sole Income-Earning Parent

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Whether your family is living on one income by choice or chance, you’ve likely felt the stress of being the sole income-earning parent. Dual obligations to work and family can tie you up in knots, paralyze your decision-making skills, and strain relationships.

Here are some tips to ease the pressure.

Take Control of Your Finances

“Money stress is strong when you’re the only one generating income,” says Financial Samurai. “As a result, make sure you and your spouse know your exact after-tax income in order to calculate how much of the income can be spent on supporting the family while also saving for retirement, paying down debt, and saving for your child’s education.”

Knowing your budget – and sticking to it – is necessary for your peace of mind. However, you should also recognize when something’s got to give. If you just don’t have time to make a meal between quitting time and the kids’ practice, maybe take-out is worth the splurge.

Take Control of Your Personal Life

Continual stress is unhealthy, so taking care of yourself physically and mentally is key – even calling in for a re-energizing mental health day.

You’ll also stress less if you feel like you’re steering the boat. Examine your work and home schedule to prioritize your obligations and activities. Then, focus on those that are most important.

If you’re a single parent, one-income household, your most stressful situations may require more creative solutions.

“Creative problem solving requires going beyond the traditional ideas,” says Medium. “What are the different ways that family, work, and child care arrangements can be worked out? How can household chores be shared or made more efficient?” Some single parents combine households with a relative or share responsibilities, like carpooling, with neighbors and friends.

“Finding a balance between work and personal life is key to managing stress,” says Working Mother. “One strategy you can try is to delegate your work better.… Also, try talking to your boss about flexible options like teleworking or working on the weekends. “Since the pandemic, many companies have come to realize that offering flexible work schedules help them keep good staff who might otherwise have been forced to resign.

Appreciate What You Have

If you’re a single-income family by choice, be grateful. Many families don’t have the option for one parent to stay at home with the children. That doesn’t always make it easier to make ends meet, but you can find ways to be satisfied with how you spend your money.

“Pay attention to how purchases make you and your family feel,” Dr. Elizabeth Dunn, Ph.D. happiness researcher, tells Parents. For instance, a fancy dinner out may not bring as much joy as a weekly family movie night courtesy of a subscription television network. “Identifying these ‘happy spends’ and ‘sad spends’ can help you shift your spending toward purchases that reduce financial stress and bring joy to the entire family.”

Doing something fun together as a family is a way to lighten up that doesn’t have to break the bank. Have a picnic at the beach or park, fly a kite, go to a playground, dance in the rain. After all, laughter is the best stress reliever of them all.

If looking for a job is currently causing you stress, contact Pro Resources Staffing Solutions for expert placement assistance.

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