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15 Things You May Not Know About Single Moms

15 Things You May Not Know About Single Moms

When people enter into discussions about single mothers, it unfortunately often carries negative connotations. The single mother is often looked upon by society as a weathered woman who has volunteered to undertake the extremely difficult task of raising children on her own. Though each case is different, it is often a false portrayal of a woman who, despite her circumstances, is doing an amazing job raising a child, or children, single handedly with little to no help.

What most single mothers would tell you is that they are indeed not the dregs of society that most, including the media, may make them out to be, but they are simply women doing the best they can with what they have. They wish to be respected and understood, but are misinterpreted or looked down upon.

So in order to bridge the gap of understanding, here’s a list of the things you may not know about single moms. Perhaps you’ve wondered, too scared to ask in case you offend, or perhaps you are a single mom who wishes to share with others what you wish they knew. Either way, we’re laying it all out for single mothers, everywhere.

1. She is afraid of failing

Like all parents, single mothers work hard to ensure the safety and well-being of their children and themselves. They want to provide a happy home. However, unlike coupled parents, single mothers have the arduous task of shouldering that burden on their own. There’s no one to share the responsibility with if anything goes wrong. So, in order to lessen the stress, she must practice the art of letting go. This means she has to come to terms with not worrying about the things she can’t change, and simply concentrating on the things she can; using her energy wisely so as not to burn out.

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2. She really hates having to juggle

It’s not fun, it’s exhausting, and it means she’s reminded of all the things she must see to. Watching a single mother juggling pick ups, meetings, parent-teacher conferences, bus schedules, and drop-offs makes you realize just how freakishly superhuman she can be. But, as impressive as it may look, she finds no joy in keeping busy just for the sake of looking busy, and would prefer to remove herself from anything that causes any unnecessary stress or drama. This makes her an impressive strategic manager who handles her time and tasks wisely and approaches everything with a little savoir-faire.

3. She feels guilty… constantly

Not being able to see friends or family as often as she wishes, or having to rush off from work the moment the clock strikes 5pm to make it in time for pick-up, fills her with inexplicable guilt. She’s probably aware that people know and understand her situation, but that does nothing to lessen the guilt. She’s used to being on top of things, so when things just don’t go according to plan, or she has to let someone down, she feels the brunt of that more than anything. Yet still, she gives it her all and offers to be there next time. Whether or not she is able to is another matter, but she won’t give up trying!

4. She needs to be private

She would love to share what her oldest told her the other day, or what she found in her daughter’s room, with someone, anyone, but she can’t. As a single parent, she is the only one her kids can confide in and trust regarding certain private matters, or things of a sensitive nature that they wish never to leave the home. She values that trust more than anything. So instead she holds it close to her, even promising to take it with her to her grave.

5. She would appreciate more help

A firm offer of help when she truly needs it is always welcome, but she is aware that many view a single parent’s request for help as a sign that something may be wrong. She doesn’t like to feel incompetent, but unfortunately, the world depicts single moms this way. She would rather do it on her own than be made to feel as though she isn’t doing a good job. Sadly, because of this, she is less likely to ask for help. But letting her know you are there, if ever she needs you, allows her to make the decision. By giving her the opportunity to come to you, it feels like friendly assistance rather than a rescue mission.

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6. She is aware of the stigma

Sadly, she is more than aware of how society views and treats single moms. She is also aware of how the world views children of single parent mothers. However, this does not stop the single mother from being a wonderful parent who is more than capable of raising equally wonderful, happy, and intelligent children. In fact, she works doubly hard to fight the stereotypes and refuses to be pulled down by them.

7. She never really sleeps

Whether it’s that loud bang in the night or the phone ringing at 2am, the single mom is already on it! She is eerily alert, even while sleeping. Being awoken abruptly from sleep, she’s like a meerkat-ninja, with her head held high watching, listening and at the ready for any signs of danger. She’ll jump from her bed and go investigate, seemingly unafraid and at the ready. Once all is well, she will check on her young before heading back to bed. Even daytime naps may be shallow, as she’s keeping one ear poised just in case the school calls. But she’s become a master at short power naps and awakes firing on all cylinders.

8. She is constantly thinking about the future

We’re often reminded to be in the present and to be here, now, if you are truly to enjoy life. And although the single mom is fully aware of how to do this and the benefits it brings, she’s always thinking ahead. Surprises are not the single mother’s best-friend, so a little forethought will help to keep her prepared, just in case. Yes, this can be rather draining, but she feels comfortable thinking and wondering about tomorrow; planning and making decisions about the future safe in the knowledge that if things don’t work out, at least she has some sort of a backup plan, or at the least, an idea of what to do next.

9. She wishes she could go away… alone

After all that planning, juggling, and managing, it’s no wonder she needs a break! A few hours here and there whilst the kids are at school or visiting friends are great, but they only last so long. What she really wants is a 2 week kid-free break away, alone, someone nice and sunny, with plenty of sea and sand; massages, yoga, and sleep! Yes, going away with someone is fun, but in truth, all she wants to do is sleep on the beach without having to worry about someone else. A vacation away on her own means she is able to get back to her, for a bit. Then she will return, ready to go and missing her little angels.

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10. She worries about money

Yes, this is true! However, this means she has had to become an expert at managing her finances. Whether she has it or she doesn’t, money is on constant play and rewind in her mind. She is the breadwinner, the sole provider and accountant for the household, and so she needs to be on top of every penny. The pressure is on. She is able to compartmentalize the household’s finances and has money management down to a fine art.  Whether that means getting the best bargains or coming up with creative ways to save money, she does more than her best.

11. She needs friends who are single, too

Yes, it’s great to have the love and support of other single mothers, but sometimes she would like a break from single mommy land. She needs that separation that only loving single friends can offer. After all, she is a single woman, too. Delving too much into single-mommy stuff can get rather depressing over time. The single friend gives her a chance to step out of that place once in a while, and just be a single gal, rather than a single-girl-mom. No mommy talk, no money talk, no childcare suggestions, just pure fun, and welcomed unattached chatter. Plus, talking about dating disasters is always fun!

12. She dreads punishment

There’s no denying that strong bond that single mothers have with their child; when it’s real, it’s a thing of beauty. Unfortunately, that bond has it’s fair share of up and downs! When it’s time to discipline their child, the responsibility falls solely on the single mom, and it’s rough. She hates having to do it, but knows it must be done. There’s no good cop, bad cop routine going on here, the single mom has to be both; she has to know when to lay down the law, but also how to give the comforting and reassuring hugs after. It may be confusing to onlookers, but it’s the most impressive, and rather scary, double act ever. She manages to discipline and nurture her kids at the same time, as she knows the benefits of both together are endless.

13. She is cautious about dating

Yes, she would love companionship, but she is more than aware that dating comes with its not-so-great moments. And yes, she is familiar with the assumption that she is desperate and lonely, or looking for a father for her children; this is not the case! The confident single mother is not looking for a savior or a knight in shining armour. She is not down and out, and would appreciate it if you didn’t swan in to “save her.” She is more than capable of handling her business. What she would appreciate, however, is someone on her level who is considerate of her situation. Respect her, love her, and treat her like the smart, beautiful, and intelligent woman she is; she doesn’t need to be rescued and doesn’t have time for dodgy dealings. What she needs is a genuine someone, a mature relationship, and a solid friendship based on loyalty, respect, and affection.

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14. She has to be intuitive

Having intuition is great; being able to notice those things often unsaid is an essential part of good parenting. But as a single parent, this skill can often be quite overwhelming, as she cannot afford to be complacent or disconnected. The emotional and mental well-being of her kids rests solely on her shoulders, and this thought is always at the forefront of her mind. Therefore, it’s especially important that she is conscious of those things her children aren’t telling her and is able to follow her hunches, especially where subtle changes in their behavior are concerned. From here, she is able to assess whether or not she needs to step in to help or simply to offer an encouraging hug. Always in tune, and always one step ahead.

15. She doesn’t want you to feel sorry for her

In no way should the single mom’s situation be viewed as a sorrowful case. Things happen in life, as they do to everyone, but she has dusted herself off and has amassed a superhuman strength to make life pretty awesome for her family. There’s no denying she has a lot on her plate, but there’s also no denying she’s strong and capable, and is a loving mother. So if you happen to know a first-class single mom, praise her, hug her, and let her know she’s doing a phenomenal job. And if you happen to be one, smile… you’re doing an awesome job!

Featured photo credit: Mother & Daughter/Rolands Lakis via flickr.com

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Patricia C. Osei-Oppong

Writer, Poet, Marketer

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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