Single Working mother...NEED ADVICE

Updated on July 17, 2008
S.C. asks from Denton, TX
41 answers

I'm a 27 year old single mother to a wonderful 6 year old daughter. I have just finished up college and starting a new career. I may have an opportunity for an exciting job that is a little over an hour away from my family and my daughters father. That part isn't hard to deal with, but this "exciting" job would require a lot of traveling and I could get a call in the middle of the night and have to leave at a moments notice. That's the problem. What would I do with my daughter? I've thought about a Nanny service, but really is that "healthy" for my daughter to have to be with some one she doesn't know for 2 or more weeks. The job is a really wonderful opportunity but for me, but maybe not so much for me AND my daughter. However I would like to hear from other moms single or not, I'm sure I'm not the only single mom that would have a job that requires them to travel?? Any suggestions to make this work or advice would be appreciated. How do other single moms handle this situation???

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So What Happened?

I want to thank everyone for their input, and some really great advice. A few questions came up in the posting, one about my daughter’s father. He is very involved and we have remained very close friends after our divorce. But he would live to far away to help if I took that job!

Today I went for another job interview, this job was still a really great opportunity and much less traveling and closer to her father and friends. I'm praying that I will get that job. They told me I was in the top 3, but "there are some really great other candidates too" So it doesn't sound as promising. BUT I'm praying and praying that I will be lead in the right direction. Things for me and my daughter have been difficult for awhile I want her to be happy so badly, but if I don't get this job that I interviewed with today then I will have to take the other one because I have to make ends meet and I desperately need Health insurance for myself (she’s covered under her dads). The more I read the responses and the more I thought about things today I realize that I know where I want to be, after my interview this afternoon I knew I wanted to be there at that job where I can still be successful and be a mom. But I will have to cross my fingers and pray. I believe everything happens for a reason! I just need me and my daughter to catch that break! Thank you again everyone you all were thoughtful and made a lot of sense.

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T.S.

answers from Amarillo on

The job isn't an option for you. There are plenty of good jobs out there,that don't require "on call" situations and travel, don't get hung up on this one. No job is as important as the child you created. You will never get these years back with her, spend them wisely.

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M.D.

answers from Dallas on

Some people have a "living in" nanny. For someone it could be a perfect offer, they live with you for free, if you have extra room, while continue to do what they have to do for their living. Some people work from home. For some it could be great escape from their houses. I would play with that thought.Good Luck!

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S.M.

answers from Dallas on

You could get involved with one particular nanny service and ahead of time have her get to know 2-3 nannies that have open schedules. Have them sit with her here and there for short times so they can get to know her. This way when the time comes and you get called you have a few options of people she already knows.

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L.P.

answers from Dallas on

For me personally, my kids come first, so I do not take jobs that require travel or large amounts of overtime. Your child didn't asked to be brought into this world to be left with someone else all the time. I grew up with a single mom and was left with someone all the time because my mom had to work and I have few memories of doing anything with her. To me, her job was more important that me. If your ex is involved and willing to work with you on it, I would consider it. Best of luck and may God bless you and help you with your decision.

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K.H.

answers from Abilene on

Hi S.,

You've already received lots of great advice, but I thought I'd mention one more thing: Have you ever thought of working from home?? I'm a 27 year old WAHM and I absolutely LOVE being at home with my 3 children... I wouldn't trade it for the world! I'm not a single mom, so I realize it would be an entirely different situation for you than it is for me; I do know a lot of single moms who work from home with the same company that I do and have done extremely well.

If you're interested, please check out http://www.workathomeunited.com/homemaker for more details.

May the Lord lead and guide you in finding the job that best suites you and your precious little girl!

Blessings,
K. Howard
http://www.homemakerscottage.com

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K.S.

answers from Dallas on

Sounds like the timing of the job is off. I would only take the job if you are desperate for income and no other options are available. I have a 6 year old too...I think your daughter needs you, more than the job does. I wish you well in whatever you choose!

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C.K.

answers from Dallas on

S.,

I have the utmost respect for you finishing school to establish your career while raising your daughter on your own. I, too, am a single full time working mom of 2 girls (6 and 10). My previous career was in banking and I was virtually a "road warrier"...about 75% travel, which was fine before I had kids. After the girls were born I left the bank and took a couple of part time jobs and then ran my own biz for 2 years. When my husband and I separated for the second time I knew I had to go back to work full time. I looked into going back to the bank and they said they'd love to have me back but I would have to travel again. I knew that wouldn't work being a single mom. Like you, I thought about hiring a nanny and really prayed about it. I ended up decided that it would not be fair for my kids to lose their daddy and their mommy. I just thought that would be too traumatic for them to not see either of their parents very much.

This is a tough decision but it's one that you have to make yourself. Consider all the pros and cons. I did what I did because I felt that sometimes we have to sacrifice for our kids. I ended up finding another great opportunity with a lot of flexibility.

Good luck to you.

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L.S.

answers from Tyler on

Hey -
I'm a single mom to two kids. I don't have any family anywhere around and I find it hard to find reliable care. I can't even imagine what I would do if I were called out in the middle of the night. Thankfully, most of my travel is pre-arranged and I make arrangements for my parents to keep my kids (my parents live 100's of miles away).

I have thought often of what it would be like if I had more help and how I could manage it. I have thought about a live in roommate (college student) or another single mother. But, the reality is, I want the house to myself. I don't want to be getting angry because the house isn't as clean as I would like it or the other person has a lot of company over - or god forbid, her kids aren't well behaved. The one thing that I have considered, but haven't done any invesigations for is an au pair (which no one else has mentioned). However, I don't know what the rules are for an au pair - I'm not sure if they even place them in homes with single parents. But, I do think you have to provide them with a means of transportation.

The reality is, alternate care costs alot. I make a really good salary, but after paying the mortgage and bills and daycare and putting money away for retirement and college funds, there just isn't much left for child care.

Personally, I think you will have a really hard time finding last minute care for your child and you may lose the job because you can't actually DO it. You need to think long and hard about the logistics of it.

-L.

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L.W.

answers from Dallas on

remember your child comes first. employment comes second. good luck.

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A.B.

answers from Lubbock on

If your job can pay you well enough to afford a nanny I say go ahead and take the job. My friend has a nanny for her twins and its the best thing, of course she and her husband make about $300,000/year so they definitely can afford it. If this is a great job opportunity for you and your daughter take it. I am in a similar situation..I have an almost 2 year old and have a bachelor's degree and am thinking about going to RN school and I know that is a profession where you have to work unconventional hours. So I am trying to figure out if that is a good fit for me. Good luck with your decision! Your lucky that your bio is involved, my DD bio signed over his rights when I was pregnant with her in March 2006 and it was finalized after she was born in July 2006.

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S.W.

answers from Dallas on

TAKE THE JOB!
If you are single you owe it to the future of your child to provide for her as much as you can. I dont think I could leave my child for 2 weeks with a nanny though. Negotiate with your job that your nanny and child come with you on your trips. If they want you badly enough, and extra plane ticket wont be that much more expense. If you have to take a bit of a reduction in salary to accomodate this - do it if you have potential growth in the company. I have the name of several nanny agencies that specialize in live in nanny's. They run about 350 per week will watch your child, clean your house, cook, ect. I think that might be the best option because if she is living with you she would be able to travel more easily. Live ins typically do not have children or husbands of their own that they have to get home to. A live in is cheaper than a live out because you are providing room and board. THEN if you have to go out of town for 2 weeks, the nanny and child go with you
feel free to email me [email protected]____.com

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E.C.

answers from Dallas on

Whatever your new job is, it sounds SO EXCITING!!

And you seem to think it is pretty cool too!!

Your daughter is 6 - I think you can sit down with her and have an age appropriate conversation with her - not only about why her mom might be gone, but WHY it is so important to you as well.

The key will be not to spoil her when you are home, but to include her while you are gone. Make sure you have cards or letters pre-addressed and written. Ask the nanny to put a a simple note from you in with her lunch, or by her toothbrush every morning. Whatever you can do to make sure she knows you are thinking about her, and how much you love her. Then, when you return home, get back on your schedule with her, but make sure she looks forward to that schedule and make it special.

You can always try the job for a predetermined amount of time, and stop doing it if need be.

Good luck, congratulations, and HAVE FUN!

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A.M.

answers from Dallas on

Sounds like you already know what is "right" for your daughter, but it's hard to let go of an opportunity for yourself. If you stay strong and your priorities in order, like you do now, more opportunities will come.

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A.Z.

answers from Dallas on

Recently, I encountered a similar issue. I have two daughters, ages 7 & 5. I was presented with a position that was very time demanding, an on-call position, travel, etc. Although I am not a single mother, the thought of spending so much time away was ultimately why I turned down the offer.

My husband was also offered a job in another state which would have moved us away from both sides of our family. Our household income would have nearly doubled - hard to turn down, right???

I grew up with a single mother who worked, and travelled, all of the time. There are pluses and minues to each situation. After growing up in that situation, I knew once I had children I wouldn't want them to feel so alone and disconnected. As a result I do nearly everything with my girls and find that I don't take the time that everyone needs to recoup/rejuvinate themselves and ultimately wipe myself out to where now I have had some health issues.

Review your priorities; only you know what works for you and your family. We always find that making a pluses and minuses chart always helps us to make a decision on something that isn't so black and white.

GOOD LUCK.

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A.R.

answers from Albuquerque on

When I finished college at age 30, I was totally thrilled, but over the years I have turned down jobs that don't fit my family life. In this strange economy, jobs come and go. And there is always another one around the corner. Since you just finished school, there will be several jobs available, and not all of them will require travel. But for now, you have a more important job with your daughter. If it were my decision to make, I would pass on the job and find something that fits better. I know my boys will always know I made it to every football game they played even if I had to leave the office early to get there, but odds are they won't remember how hard I worked to make a good career for myself.

J.L.

answers from Dallas on

I am a single mom of 4 going to college. I work as a housecleaner to make ends meet for the time being. I cannot afford daycare to keep a conventional type job at the moment. I know how hard it is to make these types of decisions. What I can offer you is what I know of one my friends. She is a single mom of 1. She has had a nanny since her child was an infant (now 5). I am friends with the nanny as well. This lady works long hours, like 12 a day, and has to travel occasionally. I know from the nanny's point of view that the child was unhappy that she never got to see her mom. Most places they go, including school, everyone thinks the nanny is the mother because they have never seen the mom and child together. I think it is a sad situation, but on the other hand, the mom makes great money. So I guess that's the trade off, money vs. time with your child. Nobody can make this decision for you and it's a tough decision to make. Money sure makes life more fun and keeps the bills paid easier, but is the time lost worth it. That is the question for which only you can answer.
I will pray that God leads you to the right place for you and your family.

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E.B.

answers from Dallas on

S., your daughter will only be 6 years old for a while. Please enjoy this time and know this job is not right, at least for now. I know it's hard to let something so great pass by, but trust me when I say she will grow faster than you can possibly imagine and you don't want to have any regrets with her. Good luck in finding the perfect job for you and your family for right now.

Best,
E.

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J.L.

answers from Dallas on

Not trying to sound harsh but it sounds like you need to choose between the job or your daughter. She needs stability in her life and at a moments notice you might be gone for up to 2 weeks and your notice coming in the middle of the night?!?!? I am currently separated w/ 2 little kids (6 and 3) and I also volunteer for my local fire department... we get toned out for a call in the middle of the night and I have to miss the calls and stay home since there is no one there to stay with my kids, even though they are sleeping. Please try to remember... jobs come and go but your child will be little only once. Keep her best interest in mind! Maby have her live with her Dad full time as you persue your career? Stability is the key!!!

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D.W.

answers from Dallas on

HI S.,
The personality that comes through your post is that you are a go getter in life. I think no matter where you live, or the job you have, you will be successful. Just consider her age, those daily interactions you have that are teachable moments and balance it with what good overall for your family. A couple questions for you that might help you make this decision.
1. You said this job opporunity is exciting & wonderful...what makes it those things. If you are away from your daughter during these early years, that's not so great through her eyes.

2. ARe you currently able to support your daughter and do the extra things (dance, sports, etc) with her in your current job/career/city? Remember, to kids, the most important thing to them is time with their parents. Not a big house or fancy clothes.

3. Is this job to make you feel better about yourself, prove a point to someone or does it dramtically improve the quality of life for your daughter? If she will have better schools, access to positive people or a different culture, that might be worth the sacrifice of being away from her.

Good luck.

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M.

answers from Dallas on

Good luck with whatever you decide!

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J.D.

answers from Dallas on

I would work with your daughters father and see if he can help out on those unexpected travel dates.

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R.B.

answers from Dallas on

You've already read many of your responses, so you may not even see this one, but here goes. I agree in part with many of the responses that your 6-yr old needs you so much at this age, even if you have to travel. However, realistically, it sounds like you are leaning toward a career that involves some travel. If the part time nanny service is not affordable, what about finding a roommate who will watch your dtr when you are away as part of the rent (could be a local teacher, college student, another single mom, a retired single woman). That would require a thorough search process, including a background check, a thorough interview process (list of questions made up in advance) and a search for a good location and living accommodations suitable for roommate privacy as well as privacy for yourselves. It might work to have some friend or family member help with the process if you are already working or busy trying to find a job. That is, you could advertise in a newspaper, local parenting magazines, etc., (or on Mamasource) and the friend/family member could screen the responders for you and save you a little time, with you only interviewing the most likely contenders (from a list of attributes, personalities, experiential backgrounds, etc., that you have made up as to what you are looking for and can be compatible with in terms of personality, work schedule, living habits, etc.). They could do the same for the apartment/house hunting process. I was going to offer to do the same for my daughter who is in a similar situation as you describe (she is a flight attendant) but before I could discuss it with her, she opted to send her 11-yr old son to live with one of his other grandmothers. I am sad that he (again) won't be living with his mother, but that is her decision to make. Another idea, if you travel only once in a while for a day or so, might be to find a very responsible high school student whose parents live nearby and would allow her to spend the night at your house. As I said, all of this is very labor-intensive, but would be worth it if you could find a way to have your career and live with your dtr as well. My grandson does so much better in school and in getting along with other kids/people when he is living with his mother instead of grandparents, who are really great people and do the best they can for him, but he feels the loss when his mom is gone constantly and it affected his school performance and his behavior. After one school suspension he told his mother he felt like a "freak" because he didn't live with his parents like other kids. She did a good job talking with him about their situation and showing him that many of the kids he liked also lived with their grandparents. I wish you every success with your new career and commend you for persevering to get your degree as a single mom. Now, I hope you can persevere as well in finding the right job/living combination for you and your dtr to live together. I'm sending you positive energy that the "perfect" career for you and your situation emerges.

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D.S.

answers from Dallas on

My feeling- you need to do what will work out best for YOU. If this is a dream job- and it works- than all is well- if not- you can alwasy quit if it interefers with your daughters happiness- but you will never know until you try. On the other hand- family is truly important- Too bad the dad cant move closer to you and be the "nanny' when you need the help- that would be the best solution. If it enhances your future and her financial stability- you need to do what is best. Then again- you know her tempermant and what she can handle- Having a nanny once in a while cant be so horrible-
Just think tho- Dallas area - 1 hr travel can be 2 hrs
-
good luck
www.partyangelsus.com
D. Sansone

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J.H.

answers from Dallas on

How involved is the dad?
Could you stay where you are now and have the families support to do this job?
The wonderful thing about a job, it that if one doesnt work out there will always be another one that might work out better. Thats why some companies do a trial basis.
I would pray about it and talk it over with your family and even the dad if he is apart of the daughters life. Find out how you could make this work even if it is only for a couple of weeks to see if this is what you really want to do.
GOOD LUCK

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J.C.

answers from Dallas on

Hi. I will start by saying I am not a single mom. Personally, I think that if it is not best for you AND your daughter you should keep looking. My mom was a single mom and her job required her traveling on occassion. I remember hating it when she left. I hope all works out for you!

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A.B.

answers from Dallas on

Just make sure to think about what your top priorities are, in the big picture, and what is most important. I am sure it is a tough decision but sometimes tough decisions are made a little bit easier if we step outside our personal feelings and look at things with an eternal perspective, which it sounds like you are trying to do.
Best Wishes,
A.

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L.B.

answers from Dallas on

Hello S.;
You have received a number of responses to your request, and I would like to add just one more. I am a single mom of one wonderful, terrific, talented, competent well-adjusted 18 year old who just graduated from high school. She is going off to college in just a few weeks--for which SHE got the scholarships! I have been a working mom all of her life. I started traveling a great deal for my job when she was 2. Beginning at about 7 she started getting angry with life, nothing she could verbalize, but I could tell that the little things would make her angry. When she was 9 her attitude had gotten so awful and I felt like it was my traveling that was getting in the way of me getting a handle on what was going on with her. I was traveling 18+ weeks a year. I dropped the traveling job and started teaching. Because I was not gone and because we had about 1/3rd the money, we spent most of our time together, finding fun low cost things to do--and the summers were wonderful!! After she got back into being the happy little girl she needed to be, I found another job that paid more, and got back on the promotion track. I can honestly say that it was all worth it--paying attention to my daughter's needs and my desire to raise a happy, healthy, intelligent young woman. So now here are the harsh words--your child MUST come first--before a job, before a man--before anything else. Your child is your legacy and what you imprint upon the world. My daughter has a half-brother who is not so well adjusted, and I think because neither his mother or father put him first--he just tagged along their lives. Even though he is older, I am certain that my daughter will finish college long before he will. I agree with you--the job sounds like a wonderful opportunity for you, but not so much for you and your daughter. You will miss many of the things that will be important to her--every evening and on special events--if you are out of town on her birthday how will you feel? I just wanted to put my two cents of experience in the mix of your other advice. good luck with your decision and God Bless you along your path.

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D.S.

answers from Dallas on

I too, am a sigle working mother of a 6 year old little girl. In fact, two 6 year old little girls (yes twins). Their father is not at all involved in their lives, and my nearest family member is 700 miles away. My job also requires me to travel. I am gone for 2 or 3 weeks at a time, but only once or twice a year. (I have been doing this since 2004)

You did not mention how often you would have to travel, but my kids enjoy it. Most of the time, I am able to come home on the weekends. I have a couple of friends who keep the girls for me. The girls enjoy spending the night somewhere else. Then when I come home on the weekend we go do fun stuff together instead of cleaning the house and other chores that normally get done on the weekend.

Since the kids (mine and yours) are in school, they cannot go and stay out of town during the school year. During the summer though, I bet your daughter would love to go and stay with her dad or your parents.

You need to do what is best for you. Yes, you. If it is right for you, then it will be right for you and your daughter. You may not get another opportunity like this again. You do not want to always wonder 'what if?' You need to be able to provide for yourself and your daughter, but you musn't sacrifice your own fulfillment to do so. If you are unhappy, then that is a much more negative reflection on your daughter than your occasional absence.

Look inside of yourself, and do not faulter to the pressures of what other people may say. You can still be a good mother even if you are not with your child every day.

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J.G.

answers from Dallas on

Unfortunatly there are not enuff people in this world that are trustworthy enuff to leave our kids with for long periods of time. I think your dtr would have a hard time adjusting. Your dtr is at an age where she is VERY impressionable. I would fear that too much time with another "mother-figure" would damage your relationship with your dtr.
As great as the job may be, you hit it on the head when you asked if it's whats best for you AND your dtr.
Search for another great job that keeps you closer to your family and your ex. If you are able to find a travel job that is closer you would be able to use your families help intead of a stranger because for a child that age, 2wks is a long time with someone you don't know.

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E.M.

answers from Dallas on

You did not mention your parents- is it possible for your child ot have access to parents when you have to travel,or your ex- husband's parents, if he cannot? I ask because the travel won't be the issue so much as the need for a constant person at home.

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E.H.

answers from Tyler on

Seems like you really want to give this a try.
I would recommend for you to check your local nanny services,
scrutinized the search, interviews and their personal recommendations. Hire the nanny before
you accept the job so you could be sure you can trust this
person with your child. Is there any of your personal friends that might want the job? If you were in my city I'll do it for you...so I'm thinking maybe one of your close friends that already knows your child and viceversa could accept the job and extra money.

God Bless!

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N.H.

answers from Dallas on

Sometimes it does take a village...check out your support system. This will need to be a group decision since you will need help. Kids are tough but try to keep a routine and be consistant and your daughter will ride along with you.

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M.W.

answers from Dallas on

I think you said it best yourself when you said "The job is a really wonderful opportunity for me, but maybe not so much for me AND my daughter."

Follow your mommy instincts.

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J.

answers from Dallas on

I'm a single working mother. My son is 2 1/2 years old. Before I was pregnant with him, my job had my traveling quite a bit and many times on very short notice (come in to work and see that they want you to travel in the next day or so). At first, I did it to be a team player, but after a year or so of this, I had enough. Being on the road, working long hours (~12 hr days) and going back to a hotel room took it's toll on me.

When I became pregnant with my son, I was asked when I would be able to travel again. I told them I couldn't travel, period. Your kids change so much from day to day. I don't want to miss out on my son's childhood. It means I'm not as promotable as some of my coworkers, my opportunites at my job are limited. I had a job offer from another company last year, but the job wanted me to travel (not a lot, but I don't have anyone to keep my son). I turned down that offer. I still make a pretty good living with my current employer. God has kept us and blessed us so much.

I suggest if it is possible, keep searching for other opportunities that are out there. When you're older and looking back on your life, will you be more happy about all of that traveling you did for your company or of the time you spent with your daughter while she grew up.

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S.S.

answers from Wichita Falls on

I would leave her with her dad. As in, give him custody - if you are set on this job, stability is in her best interest - and it doesn't sound like the job would provide it.

S.

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C.G.

answers from Dallas on

If her grandparents will not be avalable at a moments notice and what about her father? Use these 2 sources. That opportunity job might just be for a person without a child, so look for something that will not require you to push you beautiful responsiblity aside. You only have one chance at being a good mother. God will help you find your perfect place.

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G.L.

answers from Dallas on

hello ms S. i am a married mother of 6 and its hard to leave or be living away from my oldest kids so i can imagine the delima with a 6year old. Pray and ask God for direction and trust your instincts. One suggestion is instead of leaving her with a stranger or maybe not even having anyone if you have to leave maybe leaving her with her father would be an idea if i was in your situation and the father was a good, responsible and capable father i would trust him to keep her until you get established with knowing someone and trusting them to watch her for you safely. Keep praying and may God bless you and the decision you make

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L.C.

answers from Dallas on

I would say to consider yourself in this same job in a couple of years from now....... Hotels get lonley and traveling gets old and the excitment wears off. How will you feel about missing out on school plays, and events. How do you feel about how she will feel when all the other moms are there and you rarley are? I know what it is like to travel a lot and be gone from the kids and when the excitment finally wears off, you have a big whole in your heart and a little girl crying because you "cant make it again" Good luck to you my heart feels the tug for you of wanting to be both a great mom and a have a great career. You can do both but you do have limitations.

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K.T.

answers from Dallas on

Please know that my response is one of grace. My mom raised me and my brother all by herself and I have a TREMENDOUS amount of respect for parents who do that.
As a child of a single parent, please do not take that job. Your daughter's life is stressful enough....do not add to it by not being there for her. I realize it may be a sacrifice financially, but she needs you and not being there for her by traveling will bring about consequences that may last for a lifetime.
May God bless you as you do a very difficult job - parenting alone. I just want to hug you, because I know what you do is hard and it was hard for my mom as well. My mom is my hero.

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T.J.

answers from Dallas on

Congrats on your new career!
I'm a single Mama AND a Nanny - and if I were in your shoes I'd consider a live in. Something of a "wife" or "stay at home Mama" to you and your little girl. They'd be there for take kiddos to school and pick them up and there when you left town for a consistent care-giver.
Just an idea!
T.

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B.B.

answers from Dallas on

I think you have to always put your children first. If you have a job now that provides for you and your child, you really need to consider the negative effects the "instability" in this new career might cause. Instead, decide what makes this job so wonderful to you, and look for those qualities in a job that doesn't require so much time away from your child. Lots of mommies make the mistake of seeing the dollar sign over the face of her child. Which path will make the best life for you and your daughter in the long-run? Anything can look good momentarily, but you sure don't want to get stuck in something that will bring about long-lasting insecurity issues for your child. God Bless you!

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