Being a foster parent is a very rewarding experience, but it’s important to be ready for the challenges if you’ve decided that it’s something you want to do. One of the main challenges for many foster parents is balancing their career with their parenting responsibilities. Many foster parents are also working parents and balancing the demands of both is not always an easy task. Successfully balancing work and foster parenting can be done, however, with the right planning and some effort.
Communicate with Your Employer
Can you work while being a foster parent? The answer is yes, but you may need to iron some things out with your employer first. Some employers are very flexible while others are not, so you’ll need to talk to your boss before you start fostering and come up with a plan for work that will allow you to prioritize looking after your foster child. This might include switching to flextime, working from home more often, or even reducing your hours to work part-time. Don’t forget that many foster care agencies provide generous financial support packages to help you with the demands of being a foster parent, so working less may be possible.
Create a Support System
Like any working parent, you will benefit from having a strong support system of people that you can rely on around you. This could include family members, friends, colleagues, or support groups made up of other foster parents. Having somebody that you can count on to be there for you when needed will provide you with peace of mind. For example, knowing that you have trusted relatives who can look after your child in a work emergency can make balancing fostering and working easier.
Organize Your Time
Staying organized is key to successfully balancing your career and your dedication to a foster child. Spend some time to come up with a schedule and stick to it. This will help you manage your time more effectively and help you stay on track with all the things you need to do. Along with this, having a schedule can also make it easier to put a consistent routine in place, which can be very beneficial for a foster child. Be sure to schedule time for work, your child, and yourself.
Take Advantage of Respite Care
Respite care is available to foster parents who need to take some time away from the process. Caring for a foster child can be a full-on, intensive job and it’s only normal that you may want to have a break for a couple of days from time to time. With respite care, you can rely on another suitable foster family to take in your foster child for a couple of days and take over their care, so you can recharge your batteries. This time away can be beneficial for both you and your foster child, who will benefit from spending time with other people in a different environment.
You can become a foster parent if you have a career – many foster parents work in a range of jobs. However, it’s important to put strategies in place to ensure you can balance both responsibilities.