Parenting is one of the most fulfilling aspects of life, but it can be particularly difficult to be the best parent possible when you are faced with overwhelming financial challenges. This is made even more difficult when you are a single mother. After all, when a majority of households are “two income”, being a single mother puts you at a disadvantage.
How are you supposed to work at least one full time job, if not a full time plus some part time hours, and still be the very best mother you can? If you see your child for just a few hours each day, how can you be sure that your child (or children) is becoming the sort of people you had hoped?
Fortunately, you don’t have to carry one and a half jobs, or even a full time job, when you use all of the different financial programs available. In this article, we are going to consider the different organizations, grants, and resources that will allow you to be the parent you want to be, but also maintain a stable home life and even experience a lot of professional growth too.
For instance, you may need to consider filling your cupboards with healthy food, but you might also wonder how to get yourself into a better working situation. At times, a single mother may feel overwhelmed by such simple things as cleaning the house and spending time with their kids. So, furthering your education or getting on top of bills may not seem possible, but these things can be done when you tap into options for financial help.
How is that possible? While you may need to be available to your child or children on a full time basis during the early years of their lives, it is likely that there will come a time when you will be free to go out and find the kind of job you would like to do. That, however, might mean getting training or education, and how is that possible on a single mother’s income? There are organizations and grants especially designed for single mothers to pursue their goals.
So, let’s start looking at all of the single mother financial help available – from the very basics like food and housing to the school assistance as well.
Organizations to Help Single Mothers
To begin with, you should know that almost every community has a list of organizations that are designed to help just about everyone. These include:
Local non-profit groups – As one group says, “Local non-profit agencies are equipped to assist single mothers with rent, utility bills, daycare assistance, food, clothing and other necessities.”(WAHM). These non-profits will include city/town, county, and state agencies. Start your search with the Department of Human Services in your state or the Department of Social Services for your town, and they will often direct you to other opportunities for single mother financial help.
Food banks – Food banks are found in many places and in many formats. Some are part of a church or religious organization’s activities; some are part of a town or city’s programming. These are invaluable and will usually be a great resource for guaranteed amounts of food each week.
Religious organizations – Not only do these organizations run food banks as explained above, but many of them will provide single mother’s with other types of financially based assistance. From food and gas cards to rent and utility assistance, these are organizations that usually help without any pressure to become an active member of their particular religious organization or community.
Federal organizations – Single mother financial help is always available from the federal government, and is most often received as TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) as well as LIHEAP (Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program).
In addition to these organizations, there are also options for single mom financial help through grants as well. Many of these are geared towards helping a mother to further her education.
With roughly 38% of single mothers living at or below the poverty level (SPAOA), it may seem like the impossible dream to further your education. However, organizations such as Raise the Nation, and many others make many types of school assistance and grants available.
Struggling Single Mothers
The best part of many types of school assistance and other single mom financial help is that very little of it must be “repaid” or returned. Grants are awarded for specific reasons and do not need to be repaid, most financial support is given upon the single mom meeting specific criteria, and most charitable gifts do not need to be refunded by the recipient. This means that struggling single mothers have a lot of options.
If your struggles are not financial but simply with parenting on your own you can turn to a long list of online and “real world” resources. Search online at websites like Parents.com and see what sort of help is out there.
Financial Assistance and Aid
So, if you are a single mom with a need for financial assistance or aid, take heart that there are many resources. You will have to do a bit of research to find out which opportunities are available in your area, but know that there are many wherever you might live.
SPAOA. Single Parents Association of America News. SPAOA.org. 2014. http://www.spaoa.org/featured/?id=0
WAHM. 5 Resources for Financial Assistance for Single Mothers. WAHM.com. 2014. http://www.wahm.com/articles/5-resources-for-financial-assistance-for-single-mothers.html