Juggling a career while being a good parent is incredibly difficult. When you’ve got the pressures of work on top of the difficulties of raising a family, stress can become a regular part of your life. Finding ways to strike a more efficient work/life balance is crucial. The key is to prioritize, so that career, family, and socializing are all given set structures. One of the problems that career-focused parents have is that as they advance in their career, they end up spending less time than ever at home. That means taking real steps to make sure that you still get that valuable bonding time with your little ones (and your spouse of course), without taking away from your chances of promotion or career advancement. Here are some great ways to make improvements to your work/life balance so that your employer and your family are always getting the best of you.
Get Involved in Activities
Always be aware of what your children are doing with their lives. If they have homework, a new game, or just want to play in the yard for a while, engage with them. It doesn’t matter if it’s two minutes or half an hour. Have fun and encourage them, even if that new game just seems silly. If it’s important to your kids, then it’s important to you too.
If you’re working late at the office, then you might miss the occasional meal. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if it happens too often, then it can become an issue. Mealtimes are a great excuse to spend time together and catch up. If you keep missing meals, try and restructure so that you can share breakfast. This has the added benefit of giving you a positive boost first thing in the morning.
The Traveling Parent
If your career takes you out of state or even out of the country on a regular basis, then you will obviously miss your kids as much as they miss you. Of course, technology is a great way to stay in touch, and you should use it. However, you should also look at more traditional ways to stay in touch. Sending a postcard from your latest destination can be an excellent way of letting your family know that you’re thinking about them. The best thing about postcards is that they can become amazing mementoes, and are far more likely to be remembered than that Skype call.
Your career will no doubt progress faster if you have the right training and levels of education. If you’re working longer hours than your colleagues simply because they have more formal education than you, it might be time to consider getting that education yourself. Don’t think that just because you’re working full time and raising a family that you don’t have time to study for a degree. Online education is bigger and better than ever, and parents can get many benefits from studying on the internet. That’s because with online accredited MBA programs you can study at your own pace and in your own time. That means that you get total control over your degree management, making it simpler to juggle your career growth and family time.
The Chore Challenge
Kids do not like getting chores. However, those chores serve some vital functions in their development. Make sure that they do the dishes on occasion, or that they tidy up the living room or garden. That means that they learn not only that work does have to be done, but they learn the concept of social contribution. This is a vital component of raising more rounded adults. Even something simple like taking out the garbage can teach them the importance of independence, and has the added bonus of giving you some free time to do something else (or put your feet up).
Practical Time Management
There are a lot of logistics involved with raising a family, and they can become very difficult to pay attention to when you’re also working hard on your career. From finding the best babysitters to booking in pediatrician’s appointments, there’s no end to the small tasks that can have you tearing your hair out. Make sure that you are using your time productively. Those household tasks can be done on the way to work, especially if you have a good commute. You can also try sitting down with your calendar and you’re always growing To-Do lists. Highlight those tasks and obligations that you could have skipped or delegated to someone else. Then do the same for next week. This could show you that you’ve been trying to do too much and that you need to look for new solutions.
Finding the Right Measurements
One of the biggest challenges of being a parent and having a career is always feeling that you aren’t doing enough. When you’re worrying that you aren’t there enough for your family, or that you’re not focused enough on your job, then you will get stressed and anxious. That will have a detrimental effect on both your children and your career. That’s why you should:
- Stop gauging your own parenting skills with those of other moms
- Talk to your children and let them be a compass to your time management
- Let children take part in all family decision-making
- Don’t settle for situations that don’t match your goals
- Work with your partner to ensure that your children are getting the attention they need
- Learn to say no to your children and your boss if their demands are unreasonable
It’s important to remember that daily life is stressful for everyone, but that being a parent and managing a career means your stresses are massively increased. Don’t panic when you get things wrong. Nobody is perfect and you will make the wrong call sometimes. Learn from your mistakes, and make sure that your goals are always in mind when it comes to your future and your decisions.