After divorce or separation, many parents remain active participants in raising their children. However, challenges can arise if you share child custody and work.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to make this adjustment a little easier.
Be realistic (and creative) with the schedule
As much as you may want to spend every day with your child, having to work can make this impossible. This can be particularly upsetting if you were previously staying at home with your child but must work after a divorce.
However, being realistic with your schedule allows you to create a parenting plan that maximizes time with your child. As this Forbes article suggests, you should honestly assess work limitations, including travel requirements, and your child’s daily routine and needs.
Once you understand the reality of your schedule, you may be able to get creative with your parenting plan and work schedule. For instance, can you arrange a work-from-home element to your workweek or an alternate work schedule on days you have your child?
Accept help from others
Consider the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” This can certainly be true when parents share custody. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Your employer may help you balance projects or make adjustments if you must leave to care for your child unexpectedly. Friends and family could help you pick up or drop off your child or babysit until you are home from work. You may also consider hiring a nanny, if appropriate.
Prioritize your child’s needs
Despite a parent’s best efforts, it can feel impossible to incorporate work and parenting schedules seamlessly at first. When challenges arise, focus on what is best for your child.
If your job does not allow you to be as present for your child as he or she needs, it could be best to have less parenting time, at least temporarily.
Understand, though, that everyone has limitations in how much they can do in a day. Just remember that your child needs your love, support and attention. Having to work does not mean you cannot provide these things or should be punished.