Finding the Balance Between Parenting and Working
Parenting alone is a tough job, especially if you're doing it solo. Add the stress of regularly working to earn enough money and put food on the table and the struggle to squeeze in some me-time because you're also only human, and you'll probably be left frustrated and on the brink of losing it. It leaves a certain feeling that there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. With such pressure, though, parents tend to develop unique problem-solving skills and strategies to make raising the kids, running a household, and being good employees work.
Here are a few that most parents can learn from to help alleviate the weight of navigating work and family:
Create a structure and stay organized
If you think that there isn't enough time in a day, well then, to get the most done in such short-lived time, use shortcuts and plan strategically. Achieving a balance between work and family doesn't necessarily mean you have to split your time evenly. It means you identify tasks and responsibilities ahead of time, evaluate their priority levels and what and when these things need to be done, and set up a schedule accordingly to cater to the needs of yourself, your family, and your work. It is inevitable for your family to require more attention or energy on some days and your career on others, so the key is to plan ahead.
In this digital age, make it a habit to unplug and take a step back from your work to establish a solid boundary regarding your hours of availability and hours dedicated to your family. If you've successfully set up a schedule, which you should regularly adjust depending on your current priorities and your children's school activities, stick to it. Children tend to be sensitive and may feel neglected or unimportant when you choose work all the time. Disregarding the family’s agreed calendar may also lead the kids to copy you and ignore any schedule, so be a good example watch them follow suit.
Communicate with your employer
Being a parent and an employee can be stressful, but that doesn’t mean you can’t handle it. The key to balancing life and work is flexibility, not just with your family but in your work life. So you can either consider a part-time job rather than a full-time one to have more time for your family — although it may make your budget a little tighter — or communicate with your manager or employer. If they also have little ones at home, they know the struggle and it may be possible for you to negotiate some benefits or a more flexible and family-friendly work arrangement that will let you be present in the important parts of your children’s childhood.
Give yourself a break
Perhaps the most crucial thing that most parents tend to neglect is to give themselves a break. Again, you’re also human and you need some time to unwind, so don’t beat yourself up too much. Mistakes happen, missed deadlines are sometimes unavoidable, your energy is limited. It’s okay to criticize yourself to be better the next time, but instead of going through all that self-blaming process, maybe you can go straight to the learning part, where you take note of what worked and what didn’t. Be patient, not just with your career and your family but with yourself.
Have some me-time
Finally, take an actual break. I get it; you’re busy, and you can’t just let go of your work because you’re doing it for your family. However, if you want to keep caring for your kids and, at the same time, earn money for them, you’ll have to care of yourself too. Pushing yourself to the point of burnout will do no good, but if you take care of yourself, you will be more able to take care of those you love and improve the quality of your work.