4 Challenges Single Parents Face During the School Year
The beginning of the school year is a sacred time for parents everywhere. It means the return of the structured day, the end of the “I'm borrrreeeeddd” whines, and free child care for six hours a day. But the back-to-school time isn't all glory. There are also early wakeups, mountains of homework, and pretending to be perky in the car line. Single parents also have to face these four specific challenges:
The Name Game
If your child is going to a new school or getting a new teacher and you have different last names, be prepared to be referred to as Mrs. Wrong Last Name for at least the first six weeks. Parent name tags will be printed with your ex's last name, and you'll also have to do the, “Hi, this is Jane Smith, Jimmy Stevens mom,” dance. Every. Single. Time you call the office.
These vultures start swooping in with emails and papers about volunteering before school even starts. Sure, we all want to help the kids, teachers, and school succeed. But we'd also like to keep our sanity. Single parents are working, taking care of their kids, and making sure the house is livable clean all by themselves. There simply isn't time for most of us to volunteer as class mom or make a 2-hour-long Pinterest-style favor for 25 kids.
You're putting all your kids' practices, games, competitions, and plays in your calendar (cause you're organized like that), and you realize that Joe's first track meet is at the same time as Jenny's ballet recital. Even worse, they're on opposite sides of town. If you have a standard two-parent household, it's just a matter of which parent's going with which kid. But if you're flying solo, it gets a little trickier. If you're lucky, you have grandparents to step in or your children have friends they can carpool with. But otherwise, someone's missing out.
I'm all for discussing my child's academic and behavioral performance. But it really sucks to have to get a babysitter to spend an hour hearing that my kid is perfectly average and could work on being quieter (Believe me, I know!) Even worse? Having multiple kids, which means multiple conferences — probably on different nights.
What challenges do you other single parents dread when the school year begins?