Life can get hectic when you become a parent. If you’re working and looking after kids, it can sometimes be difficult to find a healthy balance. Working parents often feel as though there are never enough hours in the day.
In this guide, we’ll share some top tips to help you balance work with parenting.
Tips for balancing Parenting and Work
Take control of your schedule
The first step to finding a balance between work, parenting and living life is to take control of your schedule. It’s beneficial to manage your time when it’s precious and in short supply. Set yourself limits in terms of how many hours you work and be realistic about what you can achieve. Parents have superhuman qualities, but nobody can be in two places at once.
Try to establish a routine, which gives you the capacity to work and spend time with your kids without making huge sacrifices. If you work from 9 am until 5 pm, for example, don’t check emails or make work calls when you get home. Enjoy your evening with your kids and give yourself time to rest and recharge your batteries before you head to work the next morning.
Many of us have difficulty saying no. We accept invitations and we do overtime or work longer hours than planned because we don’t want to let people down. There’s nothing wrong with working hard and wanting your kids to have the best, but if you’re exhausted or you’ve got too much on, saying no can be a big help. You don’t have to go to every after-school club or networking event. Manage your workload and your downtime.
Make use of technology and online resources
Technology and online resources have incredible, far-ranging benefits for busy parents. You can use technology to do everything from ordering groceries online to eliminate time-consuming trips to the store to helping your kids to learn at home through online lesson plans. You can also use tech to free up time so that you can devote more time to helping your kids with their homework, playing with them and enjoying quality time together.
If you’re not already using scheduling apps, online platforms for learning and programs that help you streamline work tasks, now is the time to explore the possibilities and options open to you.
One of the main benefits of technology for parents is the opportunity to embrace more flexible working arrangements. For some people, it’s not possible to work from home or travel around, but for many, flexible working offers a solution to manage both work and parenting.
If you have an office-based job, for example, you could ask your boss about spending more time at home or hybrid work. If you run a business, you can meet with colleagues, employees and clients virtually to reduce time away from home. Many companies have adapted during the pandemic and for lots of employees, working from home is the new norm.
Ask for help
Even the most organized parents can struggle to juggle looking after kids with their jobs. When you’re a parent, you never really know what the day ahead will bring. You may find that you’re in a meeting when the school calls to tell you that your child is sick, for example, or you may need to take time off to take them to an appointment. There are times when it’s not possible to do everything yourself, especially if you’re a single parent or your partner is tied up with work or they are away.
Asking for help can help to prevent stress and provide relief. There’s no shame in reaching out and asking for a favor from friends and family members. The smallest things like asking your mom to babysit for an hour while you make a call to a client, or asking your sister to do the school run for you, can be a huge help.
If you find yourself facing a constant struggle, it’s important to take a step back, identify problems and try to find solutions. Talk to your boss or liaise with your employees if you own a business. Delegate where possible if you are an employer. If you are an employee, talk to your employer. Ask about flexible work arrangements or see if you can adjust, reduce or consolidate your hours. If you need to drop your kids at nursery or school, you could negotiate a later start time, for example, or work from home some mornings. You could also see if there are other parents in the neighborhood who would like to share lifts.
Another option for busy parents is to consider hiring a nanny, a childminder or an au pair. If you are exploring this avenue, take your time to find the right person. Use reputable agencies and websites, ask family members, other parents and friends for recommendations, and use interviews to get to know people.
Establish your priorities
One of the primary challenges of bringing children up and working simultaneously is trying to get to the end of seemingly never-ending to-do lists. If a lack of time is a problem for you, establish your priorities. This will help you to organize your time and decide how best to spend it.
Focus on the top priorities and consider other items on the list as non-essential. If being there to put your child to bed every night is the most important thing to you, don’t accept overtime every time it’s offered to you or feel that you have to say yes to an event that won’t finish until late. If you have clear boundaries, this can help you to balance all areas of your life.
Life as a parent can be tough. If you feel like you’re always chasing your tail, this can contribute to exhaustion and burnout. If you’re tired all the time, you don’t have any time to yourself, or you’re prone to stress, this will impact your performance at work and your mood at home.
Parents devote a huge amount of time and energy to making their children happy and ensuring that they are healthy. It’s crucial to understand that you also need to look after yourself. Simple things like making time for regular exercise, eating well and getting enough sleep can make a massive difference to your health and well-being. Go for a walk, a jog or a bike ride every evening, sign up for exercise classes or do a workout at home. Spend time outdoors and enjoy the fresh air.
Give yourself time to relax and unwind once the kids are in bed. Adopt a sleep routine. This will help you to improve sleep quality and it should also ensure that you get the sleep you need. If you go to bed and get up at the same time every day, you’ll start to feel tired as your bedtime approaches and you’ll feel fresh and alert when your alarm goes off.
Many people feel guilty about spending time away from their kids, but having time to catch up with friends and family or enjoy half an hour on your own is important. It’s perfectly natural to want to take a break after a long day or to want to have the freedom to explore your interests from time to time.
Balancing work and parenting can be tough. Most parents find it hard to juggle long hours with raising kids. If you feel like you’re swimming against the tide, or you’re leaning too far one way, there are ways to tip the scale. Manage your schedule, establish priorities, ask for help and take advantage of technology and online resources. Make time for yourself, look after your body and mind and understand that everybody has limits.