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Single Mom Wonders if It's So Bad When Your Work and Parent Life All Blurs Together

Every mother, single or not, needs healthy limits

by Rachel S.  |  3831 views  |  4 comments  |        Rate this now! 

My life often feels like one busy intersection. I'm a single mom who runs her own writing and editing business from a little nook off the kitchen.

Sometimes, my work even extends to other corners of my home -- like last night, as I scrambled to finish a deadline. When I told my daughter it was bedtime, she said, "Mommy, can I please sleep with you tonight?" Mae climbed into my bed, and I read her a story (yes, I was the perfect image of poor work-parent boundaries). Then I turned my laptop away from her eyes so she could sleep.

Every mother, single or not, needs healthy limits. But what if everything blurs together, like in my home? Is it really so bad?

When it comes to your kids, if they're old enough, they go to school from 8 a.m. until pick-up time. But it's not like you can turn them off when you need to make a work call in the evening. For a single parent like me, there's no one to whom I can say, "Honey, will you play with Mae for a bit?" so I can focus on work.

One moment, I'm answering work emails, and the next I'm picking up dirty socks. In between returning a client call, I get up to bake potatoes for dinner. Boundaries, shmoundaries!

Single mom Glamour blogger -- Chrissy at Storked -- recently mentioned this dilemma as "I managed to edit something by slipping JD into his jump-a-roo thing and sliding it over to my desk. That's not to say he didn't babble the entire time, or demand I pick him up six minutes later by resorting to puppy eyes and raised arms." 

If you work from home, do you have a "don't interrupt Mommy" rule -- unless it's an emergency?

If you're a single mom like me, what do you do when you need to make a very important call and need silence?

I confess to using the TV as a treat in this instance. The day I interviewed the founder of JDate, I heard this loud bang, followed by a scream, and "I need ice!!" Fortunately, he had kids of his own -- and he sympathized.

I asked one Work It Mom member, Mandy Nelson of Dandysound, how she does it: "I do have a legit office (recording studio) but I keep the laptop in the dining room so I'm always in touch," Mandy says. "I guess that almost qualifies as kitchen nook."

This married mom confesses to "always doing everything at the same time since the kids are still really little." (They're 2 and 3, "underfoot and constantly around.") 

About the Author

Rachel Sarah is the author of "Single Mom Seeking: Play Dates, Blind Dates, and Other Dispatches from the Dating World" and the single-mom columnist at Lifetime TV. She blogs at

Read more by Rachel S.

4 comments so far...

  • I too am a single mom, who does her tobest to tackle freelance writing, and a few other online ventures, starting an edible fruit arrangement business, from my home, quality time with my son. Some times I wonder how I even know my own name it gets so bad. But that is how I work. I thrive in caios. I work all day at my computer unless Evan and I are out walking. We get lots of play time in, and interact pften through out the day!!! I try to do the simple things(emails and stuff) while he's buzzing around the house, and save real writing for when he's sleeping !! I do most of my work at night!!! You're not alone in the sensery overload darlin',lol !!!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Half Pint O Honey on 13th August 2008

  • I'm also a single mom but I don't have the luxery (sometimes) to work at home. But I understand about life being one big blur. I struggle everyday for a little bit of me time and when I have it I feel guilty. Its a tough life. And I have it easier than a lot others. But when everything is blurred together just think that you have the luxery of being at home with ones who love you. Even if you want to smack them upside the head sometimes.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by MamaLia on 9th June 2008

  • For me, sheer necessity dictates that there must be blurred boundaries between work and home. I'd love to put away the blackberry or tune off the phone, but I have to remind myself that they're tools that will help my son get everything he needs. Provocative post, thank you!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Kristin Darguzas on 28th May 2008

  • You raise a great question here! I guess it depends on what line of work you are in. However, I feel like the blurred family-work line has become so normal for many of us now. That's just the only way to make things all hang together without going insane! :)

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Diane on 27th May 2008