As all seasoned parents know, there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done. With demanding little ones, household chores, meal preparation and more often than not, the pressures of a career to juggle it can be tricky for anyone to divide time between being a devoted parent and providing for the family.
In a world in which we are routinely encouraged to follow our career aspirations and reach the peak of our careers, many parents can feel pressured to abandon or re-evaluate their lofty career plans and settle for mediocrity. But, as hard as it is to believe, with the right help you can further your career and still be an attentive and loving parent too! We’ve rustled up a few helpful tips and techniques to help any pressured parents out there balance the tricky relationship between work and family.
ORGANISE IN ADVANCE
Everyone knows mornings are stressful. So a great way to combat morning fatigue is to organise as much as you can for your little one the night before; pre-pack their lunches, make sure their school bags are fully packed, lay out their clothes, have a definitive plan of breakfast etc. By taking a little bit of time out before you go to bed you save yourself a lot of extraneous stress the next morning, and allow yourself a little bit of time to socialise and spend time with your kids! This technique similarly applies to evening chores; work out in advance with your partner a schedule for cooking, shopping, other chores and divide them up evenly or on rotation. With everything planned out, you’ll feel a lot less flustered and much more prepared. A stress free mum means happier kids!
REACH OUT TO YOUR EMPLOYER
Reaching out to your employer about your potential issues with childcare can seem like the hardest thing in the world; with the fear of potentially endangering your career and a steady source of income. But it’s easy to forget that more often than not, your employers will be struggling to balance the same issues at home with their families themselves. If possible, it can be helpful to request an informal chat with your HR representative to talk through any potential issues you may be having. Every employer is different of course, but try and be as open as possible and often compromises can be reached; reassigning sick days, or if possible working from home only a few hours a week to maximise your time with your children, should the need arise.
SHARING CHORE TIME
Often, when parents return home from work, they can be so overwhelmed by the seemingly never ending mountain of chores; cleaning, cooking, washing dishes etc. that finding time to simply chat to your child can fall by the wayside. One method of ensuring a healthy balance is to share the household responsibilities with your children; thereby ensuring you can both find time for a chat and to socialise as parent and child, whilst still making progress around the house. To make the prospect more appealing to your little ones; more tedious chores can be converted into games with the right injection of creativity. It’s all about finding little moments in which to spend time with your children, and making chore time ‘chat time’ can be one time saving method of doing this.
NO-ONE IS PERFECT
Something important to consider when under such a considerable pressure is the idea that it’s ok for you not to be perfect. Obviously we as parents all strive to be the best we possibly can be, juggling limited resources and , and it can often be dispiriting to see and hear about supposedly faultless celebrity parents offering unrealistic parenting advice and hear from other mothers about the ease and success with which they manage the work/parenting relationship. But by allowing ourselves to be exposed to this media onslaught we unwittingly create unrealistic and unachievable standards on which to base our parenting standards and career outlook, which inevitably lead only to failure and ultimately a feeling of dissatisfaction.
And finally, the most important thing that can get lost in the mix whilst juggling a myriad of responsibilities and striving to be the perfect parent and provider is finding time for yourself. Whilst it may sound selfish, but without proper periods of relaxation and self comfort to replenish your energy levels and wash away potential stress, you can never hope to be fully effective in either of your roles; a cranky parent is never a productive parent.
Try to devote at least 2 hours a day to looking after and indulging yourself, either in a good book, a soothing soak in the bath or whatever hobby takes your fancy! Just take time to enjoy being you and your work and home life will improve markedly as a result!
I hope our parenting pointers help you reassess the balance you currently hold between parenting and your career. It may seem a difficult task but with the right combination of hard work and forward planning you can enjoy many happy, work free evenings with your family for many years to come.