For a parent who wants or needs to earn, self-employment can seem like the perfect solution, especially for single parents. Choosing your own hours or working from your own home means you can be flexible and fit the job around your family. But it does come with a host of problems.

Taking on Too Much

Whether you are starting your own business or just working from home in a role already established, it can be all too easy to take on too much work. More time working means less time with your family and striking that work-life balance is even harder when your office is the family kitchen.

  • Set your hours and stick to them by working out when you can work uninterrupted such as when the kids are at school, napping or have gone to bed in the evening.
  • Share the chores around. Older children are more than capable of helping out with washing the dishes or putting the clean clothes away. Younger ones enjoy brushing the floor or helping to pack away toys so enlist their help and make household jobs family time.
  • Don’t try to cook, clean, taxi the kids around and work at the same time. Treat it like any other job and ensure your family and working life doesn’t merge.


Longer hours and less time off are common complaints from self-employed parents and this can have a negative impact on health. Start-up businesses need lots of time and effort to make them work and the stresses can easily take over. Poor health can mean no income so make looking after yourself is an important consideration.

  • Take steps to relax, plan breaks into your working day and stick to them.
  • Schedule quality family time and leave work behind, don’t check e-mails when you are ‘clocked out’ or it will feel like you are always at work.
  • Take holidays from working, it can be tempting to work 52 weeks a year when it’s your own business but you deserve that time off with your family.

Financial Burden

Self-employed parents face similar stresses to employed ones, and have the added worry of being responsible for their own earnings. When the hours worked doesn’t guarantee a certain amount of income it can only add to the worry.

  • Look into insurance to cover time off for ill health.
  • Budget well, factor in days out and treats for the family as well as saving for Christmas or holidays. Don’t be tempted to use family money for the business.
  • Be realistic about your earning potential and the hours you can do. It’s better to expect less and go on to earn more than to set your earning requirements so high you are working a sixty hour week.

Working parents who choose self-employment have so many benefits to their family life. With careful planning and focussing on the positives, self –employment can be rewarding and a real blessing to your family.

Photo Credit: Kārlis Dambrāns

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