Smiling women carrying a sleeping baby on a sling

Navigating the Lack of Child Care While Pursuing Career or Education Goals: 8 Tips for Single Moms

Being a single parent comes with its unique set of challenges, and these challenges can be amplified when you lack the necessary childminding support. Achieving economic stability is both essential and empowering for single mothers, but it isn’t easy when child care is expensive and it’s relatively impossible to care for your children AND work or attend school.  


In an inspiring interview, Ya Wen, a participant in the YWCA Employment Navigator program, shared her journey: "Being able to spend time with my children does make me feel great, but I know from the bottom of my heart that I would be feeling even more awesome if I had my own financial independence." 

In this blog post, we will offer tips on how to overcome the lack of childminding support and work towards your career and education goals. 


Prioritize Your Goals (Short-term and Long-term) 

The first step in navigating this challenge is to clearly define your career and education goals. Understanding your objectives will help you create a plan and stay motivated. Consider both short-term and long-term goals and break them down into manageable steps. Having a roadmap will make it easier to allocate your time and resources effectively. 

Ya Wen shared her experience: "I am currently working on my resume and have attended a few employment-related workshops. I will continuously attend more as needed. I am preparing myself for success by reaching out to resources, connecting with people, and gaining the necessary knowledge to update myself within six months as my goal." 


Seek Flexible Education and Career Options 

When you're a single parent, flexibility is key. Look for education and career options that allow you to balance your responsibilities as a parent. Online courses, part-time programs, or remote work opportunities are excellent choices. Many universities and employers now offer flexible arrangements, making it easier for single parents to pursue their goals. 


Be Upfront About Your Needs 

Don't be afraid to ask for the flexibility you need. Being upfront about your life and needs might help you find opportunities and support that truly align with your life goals. Discuss potential accommodations with your employer, professors, or educational institutions. Open communication can lead to tailored solutions that make balancing your responsibilities more manageable. 

YA WEN emphasized the importance of working on your communication skills and how this can support your journey: "The Employment Navigator program has been impacting me in a way that I am willing to communicate more about my needs. It has provided me with time to process what has happened to me, both mentally and physically. It is necessary to process those feelings and be open about it." 


Create a Support Network 

Even without formal childminding support, you can build a support network of friends, family, or trusted neighbours who can occasionally help with childcare. Don't hesitate to reach out and ask for assistance when you need it. Support can come in various forms, such as watching your child for a few hours, helping with school pick-ups, or providing emotional support during challenging times. 


Establish a Consistent Routine (As Much as You Can!) 

Parenting is full of surprises, and flexibility is a skill that parents learn to master from day one of their firstborn. However, a well-structured daily routine can help you manage your time effectively. Create a schedule that includes dedicated study or work hours and stick to it as closely as possible. Children thrive on routines, which can also provide stability and predictability for both you and them. 


Utilize Online Resources 

The internet is a treasure trove of resources that can support your education and career goals. You can find free educational courses, informative blogs, webinars, and forums where you can connect with others facing similar challenges. Consider using online resources to enhance your knowledge and skills. 


Explore Financial Aid and Scholarships 

Financial concerns can be a significant barrier for single parents pursuing higher education. Research scholarships, grants, and financial aid opportunities specifically tailored to single parents. Additionally, explore programs that offer tuition reimbursement through your employer if you are already working. If you're unsure where to start, our YWCA Employment Navigator team can assist you in finding scholarships and navigating the application process. They can also help you determine your eligibility and assist with government financial support applications. 


Take 10 Minutes for Goal Setting 

Single parenthood often feels like a whirlwind but dedicating just 10 minutes at the end of your day to write your main goal for the next day can provide clarity and help you stay organized as you work towards your objectives. These short-term goals will eventually contribute to the achievement of your long-term goals. 


Navigating the lack of childminding support as a single parent while pursuing your career and education goals is undoubtedly challenging, but it's not impossible. With determination, flexibility, organization, and building a supportive network, you can overcome these obstacles and create a better future for yourself and your child.  


The Employment Navigator program is funded in part by Scotiabank, Vancity and RBC.

Need support to plan your next steps?  

Visit our YWCA Employment Navigator page and learn how the program can help you with your pre-employment, scholarship or career goals.