Balancing Work and Kids
How do you balance working 40+ hours a week while raising a family and maintaining all of your other responsibilities and relationships outside your 9-5?
This is the age old question among millions of parents across the U.S. that feels more like an unsolvable riddle.
Some days the stars align and it seems as though you have it all together. Other days you find yourself scrambling to get everyone out the door, only to find one of your kids is sick, you're missing work deadlines, and forgetting that your other child has a field trip that day. When parents struggle to juggle home life with their career responsibilities, both can suffer.
Here are some tried, tested, and mother approved tips to help you balance your career with your family life:
Accept that true balance doesn't exist.
Working mothers often feel as though they are being pulled in 100 different directions at once. Alas, there's only one of you and only 24 hours in a day to get things done! Finally accepting that there can't be a true balance of time spent equally between work, family, friends, and yourself can be liberating. The task at hand is to not try and divide up time equally, but to compromise. You promised little Susie that you would use your vacation day to attend her field trip, but that may mean you have to work late the day before to get things done. There has to be some give and take.
Without some sort of organizational system, trying to make time for all of your responsibilities can make your days chaotic from the start. Mornings can be the most hectic part of the day and it's important to start your day off right. Without a schedule, it can be a mad house. To alleviate this, prepare the night before. Setting out clothes and packing lunches the night before will lessen the stress of trying to rush to get out the door before the school bus comes. Keep a calendar in your house for all members to see. This will help everyone remember the dates and times of soccer practice, days off of school, and dentist appointments.
It takes a village.
Remember the old adage, "it takes a village to raise a child." Don't be afraid to ask for help! Whether you need help around the house, picking up the kids from after school activities, assistance in the office, or just someone to talk to in order to keep your sanity. There is no shame in asking for help so you don't get burned out. It's amazing how many people are willing to step in and lend a helping hand if you simply ask.
Quality over quantity.
There are going to be some days when work is going to demand more of your attention - whether that means having to work overtime or taking work home with you. You may feel guilty that you are spending more time on your work than with your children, but there are several ways you can maximize time with your children. When you get home from work, put down your phone and keep the television off so you can start spending time together without all the distractions. If you're cooking dinner or doing chores around the house, involve your children. This can be a great bonding experience, it helps maximize your time spent with your kids, as a bonus you're checking off items on your to-do list. Of course you are also going to need time to yourself. Try to schedule time to veg out in front of the TV, do work you had to take home, or other "me time" activities after the kids go to bed.
Ultimately, the goal is for you and your family to be happy. Remembering these tips can help you find the right kind of balance for success in your career and family life.
Remember, if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!